by Elton Gomes
After settling for a 1-1 draw against England in the opening match of the Women’s Hockey World Cup, the Indian hockey team were looking to bounce back against Ireland. However, the Irish proved strong for the Indian Eves, and India suffered a 1-0 defeat at the hands of the Irish. The Irish continue their fairy-tale run at the competition after making it two wins out of two matches. World number 16 Ireland defeated USA 3-1 in their opening game, and will be ecstatic after the win over India saw them though to the quarterfinals.
Ireland make history as they reach World Cup quarter-finals https://t.co/fDsbdIVAKO
— Irish Times Sport (@IrishTimesSport) July 26, 2018
Anna O’Flanagan’s goal was enough to see the Irish become the first team to qualify for the quarters in this year’s tournament. The Irish team did not get off to a strong start, with India bursting out of the blocks and captain Rani Rampal dictating play.
India earned a penalty corner inside the opening four minutes of the match. The push was good and Gurjit Kaur took a strong drag flick. But the effort was blocked and Ireland did well to bring the ball back into possession. India had the upper hand in the eight minute again when Udita received the ball in a dangerous area after receiving a long pass from the back. However, the Irish defence again stood firm and cleared the ball away to safety.
Thereafter, Ireland began to dominate possession and earned their first penalty corner in the 12th minute after Katie Mullan’s shot is stopped with a stick check. The push on the penalty is good and the shot is deflected high into the net by Anna O’Flanagan. Ireland took the lead, while India rued their missed chances, though three quarters were still left on the clock.
Sunita Lakra got a green card in the 18th minute, and India was down to 10 players for the next two minutes. Ireland received a penalty corner, but nothing came of it. Having a narrow 1-0 lead, the Irish began to gain some momentum as they rolled the ball around confidently. The score remained unchanged at the end of half time.
The third quarter saw the Indian Eves struggle against the Irish. Ireland was starting to look comfortable, and India had a tough time trying to penetrate the Irish defence.
— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) July 26, 2018
India maintained the pressure with another penalty corner in the third quarter, but the Irish goalkeeper proved too strong again. India received another opportunity towards the end of the third quarter, but they failed to convert that as well.
India almost got a goal when the Irish failed to clear the ball inside the striking circle. But the keeper rose to the occasion again, and the ball was cleared. As the game to a close, in the 55th minute, the Irish almost got a second goal but Nikki Evans was unable to find the right connection to place the ball into an empty net.
Ireland held on at the end of 60 minutes and secured a historic win. Their 1-0 win comes after their 3-1 victory against the US. With two wins in hand, Ireland has qualified for the quarterfinals. As part of Group B matches, India will next face the US on July 29, in what seems to be a must-win encounter for the Indian Eves to progress.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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