The Indian women are in danger of missing out on a quarterfinal berth after Ireland pulled off a 1-0 victory in a hockey World Cup group league match, here on Thursday.
A 13th minute penalty corner conversion by Anna O’Flanagan was all that Ireland required as it doggedly defended to record a second consecutive upset en route to a quarterfinal berth. Ireland had shocked World No. 7 USA 3-1 in its opener.
It was also India’s second consecutive defeat to Ireland having lost to the same opponent 2-1 in the Hockey World league semifinals in Johannesburg last year.
Ireland leads Pool B with six points, followed by England (2 points), India and USA (1 point each).
Favourite status belied
Placed six places above Ireland in the World rankings at No 10, the Indians came into the match as favourites but they never looked the part. Ireland, on the other hand, grew in confidence as the match progressed and looked more threatening.
India lacked energy and vision and with temperatures and humidity soaring high, Rani Rampal and her team were caught napping by the Irish on more than one occasion.
It was not that India did not create enough chances. If it failed to secure a single penalty corner in its 1-1 draw against England, it secured as many as seven penalty corners on the day but failed to convert even one.
Ireland took the lead from its first penalty corner when O’Flanagan scored with a great deflection from a set piece. In total, Ireland earned three penalty corners.
India also had chances to score from open play but the forwards lacked finishing touch. After the change of ends, the Indians continued to attack but the forays lacked sting.
India will next play USA in a must-win last pool game on July 29 to stand in with any chance of progressing to the knock-out stage.
Ireland 1 (Anna O’Flanagan 13) bt India 0.
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