Navneet Kaur’s two goals in a span of 15 minutes and one goal from Deep Grace Ekka helped India beat Japan 3-1 in the Women’s Hockey World Cup match. Navneet struck two field goals in the 30th and 45th minutes, while Deep Grace Ekka sounded the board once from a set piece in the 38th minute to give India an upper hand over Japan. Meanwhile, Japan’s lone goal came from the stick of Yu Asai in the 20th minute.
Although the score line suggests that India dominated the contest, it was a close-fought game throughout the four quarters. The match started on an intense note with both teams going neck-to-neck in the first five minutes of the play. However, none could score a goal and the play progressed.
India got a big chance but Vandana Katariya failed to pounce on it as Japan’s goalkeeper Eika Nakamura saved a shot from the Indian defender from a close range. The first quarter ended on a goalless note. India got a few chances at the start of the second quarter but goals eluded the Savita-led team.
The first goal of the match came from Yu Asai who converted a penalty corner in the 20th minute. Japan got a 1-0 lead which they maintained till almost the end of the second quarter. The scores were then leveled with Navneet finding the board from a field effort in the last minute of the second quarter.
A change of ends brought a change of fortunes for Women in Blue as Deep Grace Ekka finally converted a penalty corner for India eight minutes into the second half. The Indians then played aggressively and mounted attack after attack on the Japanese goal and on one occasion Vandana came tantalisingly close but her effort was saved yet again by Japanese goalkeeper Nakamura.
Nonetheless, India completely owned the third quarter as they raised their game leaps and bounds to trouble the Japanese defence which resulted in Navneet's second goal towards the end. This have India a 3-1 lead which they maintained till the end of the fourth quarter to get a win eventually.
With this win against Japan, India ended their Women's Hockey World Cup campaign in the ninth position. With two draws and one loss, India failed to make it to the quarterfinals. They had to beat Spain for an outside chance but that too was wasted and India bowed out.