Gold Coast: Indian women hockey team suffered a humiliating 0-6 defeat in the bronze medal match against England to finish fourth at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast on Saturday.
India could convert none of the five penalty corners and their defence line-up cracked under pressure in the final quarter to go out of the tournament on an embarrassing note.
India had beaten England 2-1 in Pool matches but was outclassed on Saturday.
It is now third straight time that Indian women’s hockey team will return empty-handed from the Games as the last time it stood on podium was in 2006 when it won a silver.
Sophie Gray stood out with her stellar show as she steered her side to win with her three field goals while Laura Unsworth, Hollie Pearne-Webb and captain Alexandra Danson struck a goal each in England’s commendable victory.
India’s captain Rani Rampal said they did not expect to lose in such a manner.
“We were confident going into the game and we knew we had to believe in ourselves. We needed to do the same again but we just gave them the game,” Rani said.
Asked what India has learned heading towards the upcoming World Cup in London, Rani said: “We are playing England in our first game and we need to work towards that. We cannot afford to give them soft goals like we did today.”
Navneet Kaur earned India’s first penalty corner in the eighth minute. However, it resulted in causing injury to Vandana Kataria as Gurjit Kaur’s furious hit rebounded off England custodian’s pads and hit Vandana on her forehead.
The freak injury forced Vandana out of the field. India were given another penalty corner but the England defence was solid.
England captain Danson earned her team’s penalty corner, three minutes later, but Savita stood like a rock in front of the goalpost, not allowing the ball to pass through.
Both team played a measured game with a mix of attack and defence and the second quarter also looked like going barren but moments before the break, India conceded a penalty corner and Hollie Pearne-Webb put England ahead by beating Indian goalkeeper with her hit which went past Savita.
Vandana took the field with bandage on her forehead and immediately made an impact as India got three back-to-back penalty corners.
However, India could convert none as England goalkeeper Madeleine Hinch and defence line foiled all attempts. Indian players lacked variation and co-ordination to pull off the equaliser.
England too got its third PC soon but Hanah Martin could not beat Savita this time. A defense lapse could have cost India but Laura Unsworth hit wide off a diagonal pass.
Just two minutes were left in the third quarter when Sophie Bray found the back of the net with a stunning reverse hit from top of the striking circle, doubling the lead for England.
India had no choice but to go all out and succeeded in getting another penalty corner in the first minute of the final quarter but conversion remained an issue.
Sophie, though, was yet again bang on target as she consolidated her team’s lead. Sophie trapped the ball which came from Hanah Martin’s stick and beat three Indian defenders to slam it home.
Laura Unsworth, Sophie and Danson then put it beyond India by pumping in three quick goals. (PTI)