Proving their might yet again, Indian Women’s hockey team defeated Chile by 4-2 on Saturday to enter the finals of the women’s FIH Series Finals hockey tournament. More importantly, the Eves have also ensured a place in the Olympic qualifiers to be held later this year. India will now have to face the winner of the contest between hosts Japan and Russia in another semifinal to know who their opponent will be in the finals.
CHASING DREAMS – TEAM INDIA ??
?? become the first finalists of the FIH Women’s Series Finals Hiroshima 2019 hereby, securing an Olympic Qualifier berth already!! #IndiaKaGame #FIHSeriesFinals #RoadToTokyo #INDvCHI pic.twitter.com/aCW6pK2ycE
— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) June 22, 2019
Title contenders India were overwhelming favourites going into the game and this had nothing to do with the fact that they were facing a much lower-ranked Chile (16).
The ninth-ranked Indian team was unbeaten in the tournament, having posed gigantic victories over the likes of Uruguay (4-1), Poland (5-0) as well as Fiji (11-0).
Chile, on the other hand, had finished second in its pool having defeated Mexico 7-0, hosts Japan by 3-1 before world no. 25 Russia stunned them by winning 2-5.
Although they had dismantled their opponents on their way to the semifinals, a major concern for the team was their low conversion rate.
“We want to perform at the highest level possible and I believe there is still room for improvement,” Marijne had said,“Our conversion rate can definitely be higher and if that happens it will be easier for us to win matches.”
And the same was on display in the first quarter as the Indian team dominated the proceedings, but failed to capitalize on scoring opportunities.
This ultimately proved costly as the South Americans broke the deadlock through Carolina
Garcia in the 18th minute after India fizzled out outside the opponents D, triggering a counter attack.
Gurjit Kaur, who had scored four goals against Fiji, them helped India score the equalizer in four minutes later through a penalty corner.
While the first half belonged to the Chileans, the second one belonged to India. The Indian Eves started the third quarter with a bang with back to back goals in the 31st and 37th minutes.
While Navneet Kaur scored the first one through a simple tap in, the second was again scored by drag-flick Queen Gurjit Kaur, who scored through yet another PC. Even though the South Americans did raise hope by making it 3-2, their chances of a comeback were squashed by Indian skipper Rani Rampal, who scored a well-taken goal after a missed PC.