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Savita Punia stands out as England hold India to a draw in the Hockey World Cup

Savita Punia stands out as England hold India to a draw in the Hockey World Cup
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Published: 21 July 2018 2:53 PM GMT
The fourteenth edition of the Women’s Hockey World Cup is here as teams are gearing to go up against one another. The competition will be held in England this time around and will run on from July 21 to August 5. India played out a nerve-wracking draw against the home team in a game that ended 1-1. Here is how that played out. The match began in an exhilarating manner, with some good to-and-fro action. India broke the deadlock at the twenty-fifth minute, Neha Goyal tilting what had been a balanced match, into India’s favour. England came flying off the blocks, looking for an equaliser, and had several chances. Savita Punia, India’s goalkeeper, was on fine form, as well, saving several penalty corners throughout the match. However, all of India’s defensive hard work was left in tatters seven and a half minutes from full time, when England finally netted the equalizer. The result will prove to be disappointing for both India and England. For England, the match statistics show that despite dominating the entire game on paper, a draw is unacceptable. They had not counted on the resolute defending by the Indian team who managed to keep the lead for the most of the game.

Match Numbers:

  • Shots at Goal: England 15-4 India
  • Circle Penetration: England 34-10 India
  • Possession: England 56%-44% India
  • Penalty Corners: England 9-0 India
The numbers tell a worrying tale for the Olympic champions as they do for Team India. At halftime, coach Sjoerd Marijne did speak of the importance of converting and acquiring more chances through the creation of penalty corners for India, but that effort proved to be fruitless. Savita Punia stood out in the match vs England On the other hand, a special mention for the Indian defense. Savita Punia and a wonderful save by Sunita Lakra kept the Indian lead intact for a long time. However, England was 9th time lucky in their attempts to score off a Penalty Corner. The flick in, despite being cleared by Punia was not cleared from the danger area- something England took advantage of.

What's next for Team India?

Team India will face Ireland on July 26. This time, there will be a slight change in the format of the tournament as well, with four pools being formed in the first round, instead of two. The top team from each pool will skip going straight to the quarterfinal. Furthermore, the second placed and the third placed team will enter a playoff stage. As a result, eight teams will partake in one-legged playoff matches, the winner of which will meet the table toppers in the quarterfinal. The rest of the stages will be played out usually, with the final scheduled for August 5. India is back into the competition after eight years and will be looking to make the most of this opportunity. Drawn into a tight group, India faces England, United States, and Ireland. India’s first match was against England on July 21. India had come up against England twice before in the World Cup, drawing one and losing one. In fact, the Hockey World Cup has never been India’s favourite tournament but a strong team this time around may change that.
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