FIH Hockey Qualifiers: India Thrash Italy, Faces Germany in Semis

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Updated On: 17 Jan 2024

FIH Hockey Qualifiers: India Thrash Italy, Faces Germany in Semis

Indian Women’s Hockey team delivered a spectacular performance by giving Italy a thrashing in the ongoing FIH Women’s Hockey Olympics Qualifiers and claiming the victory by 5-1 on Tuesday, 16th of January 2024, at Marang Gomke Jaipal Singh Astroturf Hockey Stadium in Ranchi, Jharkhand. This victory brought India to the second spot in Pool B, just behind the USA. This paved the way to securing a possible spot in the Paris Olympics 2024. Despite starting off facing a loss against the USA, the team recovered well defeating New Zealand and now Italy to qualify for the semi-finals. 

Not even a minute into the game, India secures its first goal. In just 45 seconds, the team got their first goal. It took the final few seconds for Italy to get their first goal. In the meantime, the Indian team had already done more than enough to secure a spot in the semis in the FIH Women’s Hockey Olympic Qualifiers. This victory even kept their 2024 Paris Olympics hopes on track. Coach Janneke Schopman could only deliver a smile as only the first hurdle had been crossed. Germany, who is in the 5th position in the World ranking and are Pool A toppers awaits the Indian team to face in the semi-final on Thursday, 18th January 2024. 

In the semifinals, even if the team is defeated, they still have another chance to get back on track to the road to the Paris Olympics 2024 by facing the team losing team of the USA-Japan clash. With USA beating New Zealand 1-0 earlier in the day to qualify atop Pool B, the task for the hosts was pretty straightforward: win or draw with the 19th-ranked Italians. Win they did, through a free-flowing start and finish. A 40-minute period between the first goal and the second had India “struggle a bit before picking themselves up and dominating the game”, as the coach stated.

The match was pretty eventful and a lot of boxes were ticked. Player Udita played her 100th international match. She scored a couple of goals in India’s penalty corner during the first and the 55th minute of the match. The hockey teams’ primary drag-flicker, Deepika who is yet to shine through the tournament has finally secured a goal under her name through a penalty stroke in the 41st minute. Along with these two, Salima Tete and Navneet Kaur delivered amazing shots in the 45th minute and 53rd minute respectively, wrapping up the night with a quality field goal. 

The coach Schopman said in the interview, “I’m happy that we’re here, What people don’t realize is that this is an extremely stressful tournament for the players. Everybody wants to be in the top four and have a chance to go to Paris.” These words were proven when the faces of the New Zealand players walked off the turf in tears while Indians made their way into it. 

The beginning of the match which kicked off on Tuesday mirrored the one against the Black Sticks. The team was packed with vigor, determination, and purpose. Monika’s slap inside the circle followed by Sangita Kumari’s shot at goal earned India a PC inside the first minute. Udita hustled up and converted this chance into an opportunity by bouncing the ball over the diving Italian goalkeeper Lucia Caruso. 

Italians were falling behind in maintaining the pace and structure which posed hardly any threat to the Indians during the first half of the quarter. Soon enough they earned their first PC. But after Antonella Bruni failed to trap the ball, the counter-attack served by Indians was a sweet treat. 

The Indian team maintained possession for the majority of the game while adding pressure to the Italians, however, the visitors were able to see the challenge off. But, in the third quarter, the Indian team get results in their favor. India earned a penalty stroke because of Sofia Laurito who brought down Lalremsiami from behind and Deepika did not miss this golden opportunity to get the ball straight into the nets earning a goal. Shortly after this, Salim Tete earned the first goal of this tournament to her name in the final stage of the third quarter which kept India on a decisive lead. In the final quarter, the audience witnessed another goal from Udita. Italy opened their account of goals in the final minute but it was quite late since the match was on the verge of end and Indians were claiming their victory. A top-three finish in Ranchi will see the Indian women’s team seal the Olympics spot.

Soundarya Kamat

Soundarya Kamat is an inquisitive individual with a deep passion for the formation of names and an expertise in freestyle writing. Her relentless curiosity drives her to research and explore the intricacies behind the origins and meanings of names, unraveling the stories they hold. Holding a certifi... Read More

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