India played some impressive hockey to defeat Great Britain, 2-1 in the quarter final of the Hockey World League Final on Thursday in Raipur, which has helped the home team seal the semi final berth. VR Raghnunath and Talwinder Singh scored a goal each for India. As the score line reflects, India vs Great Britain quarter final was a feisty and tight affair.
The game produced some high-intensity hockey right from the start, which could have gone either way in the first quarter, but neither team were able to break the deadlock.
India, who started the second quarter by putting some huge pressure on the GB players, took crucial lead as Raghnunath converted the first penalty corner, which they earned. It was a powerful drag-flick from the defender, which gave India the advantage.
The home team, after the goal, began to play even better hockey.India were a much happier team when the first half ended with the score reading 1-0.
Great Britain, who came back strongly in the third quarter, began to pose some serious problems for India's defence, which stood tall to stop Great Britain from scoring the equaliser.
With Great Britain looking for two crucial goals, there were plenty of chances for India players to run into empty spaces, which was beautifully exploited by the home team, who doubled their lead via Talwinder's amazing field goal.
India received further more chances in the quarter, which could have sealed the game itself. Among all the opportunities, Ramandeep Singh was the most unfortunate to strike the cross bar with a beautiful strike. Great Britain also got their fair share of chances via penalty corners, but their conversion rate has been a major cause of concern in the competition and remained so on Thursday as well.
With India leading 2-0 in the fourth quarter, they were just required to play some solid hockey and stop GB's offensive moves. Great Britain, who were pressing for a goal, scored with nine minutes left for the hooter and the goal seemed to have rattled India, whose defence looked weak and were showing signs of fatigue as well in the last quarter.
Great Britain threw everything they had in the last quarter of the game, but India, somehow, kept their cool, which played an important role in helping the home team book their semi final berth. This has been India's best performance so far in the HWL Final.
Though India midfielders and forwards came up with some spirited display, goalie, PR Sreejesh needs a pat on his back for some crucial saves during the game.
India, who have defeated the best team of Group A, are set to face either Argentina or Belgium in the semi final of HWL. Argentina face Belgium in the last quarter final tonight.