The women’s hockey team of India displayed determined efforts but faltered in the crucial phase of the penalty shootout, ultimately losing 3-4 to Germany in the second semifinal of the FIH Olympic Qualifier on Thursday. The match extended to a penalty shootout after both teams ended regulation time with a 2-2 tie. Germany’s victory secured them a spot in the upcoming Paris Olympics. Despite the setback, India still has an opportunity to secure an Olympic berth by defeating Japan in the third-fourth-place match on Friday. The top three teams from this competition will qualify for the Paris Games. Germany, ranked fifth in the world, is set to face the USA in the final on Friday.
As anticipated, the German team initiated an aggressive approach right from the beginning, consistently applying pressure on the Indian women’s hockey team’s defense during a foggy night that posed visibility challenges. The Germans effectively executed their strategy, making several circle entries. Although they secured a penalty corner in the first minute, it was nullified following India’s review. Despite this setback, the visitors persisted in their offensive efforts, earning another penalty corner in the ninth minute. However, India’s captain and goalkeeper, Savita Punia, successfully thwarted the attempt, maintaining her team’s defensive resilience.