India women's hockey team displayed grit and determination to hold higher-ranked USA to a 1-1 draw in their final Pool B game and seal a place in the knockout stages of the ongoing Hockey World Cup 2018 in London.
With the hard-fought draw at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Center on Sunday, the 10th-ranked Asian champions made it to the crossovers. India are currently at the third spot of the four-team pool with leaders Ireland and second-placed England featuring in the final match of the day.
Ireland have already sealed a direct berth in the quarter-final. Notably, the pool toppers progress directly to the last-eight stage while the second and third-placed teams will play the crossovers, which will determine the other four quarter-finalists.
India will play Italy if they remain third or will face South Korea if England drop below them on Tuesday, July 31.
FT| The Indian Eves draw to fight another day as this 1-1 result against @USAFieldHockey seals their spot in the cross-over stage of the Vitality Hockey Women's World Cup London 2018 on 29th July 2018.#IndiaKaGame #INDvUSA #HWC2018 pic.twitter.com/kb3oemMwO8— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) July 29, 2018
Rani braves injury scare to score all-impotant goal
Sjoerd Marijne's team created a few chances in the first quarter but were unable to convert them. However, at the other end, USA's Margaux Paolino scored the opening goal in the 11th minute from a rebound.
Skipper Rani Rampal, who scored the all-important equaliser in the third quarter, suffered an injury scare as early as inside the first five minutes as she limped off after twisting her ankle. However, after getting treatment on the sidelines, the captain returned to action with a heavily plastered left leg.
India kept their focus despite being a goal down and goalkeeper Savita made quite a few stunning saves to avoid further damage.
Following Rani's goal, India stepped up their game in search of another one. Their defence, which has been mighty impressive in the ongoing tournament, did its job to keep USA from adding to their tally.
Rani: We should ave scored more goals
An elated Rani said she was happy with the team's performance but rued the lack of goals for the third straight time in the tournament.
Notably, India held Olympic champions England to a 1-1 draw in the first game but failed to score in their 1-0 defeat to Ireland last week.
"Yeah, both the teams fought well throughout the four quarters. Credit goes to our team as we held them till the last quarter. I think USA got their chances but we defended well. We also got our chances and I thought we should have scored two or three more goals," Rani said.
She added: "We knew if we would be in the cross-overs if we won or drew the match. So we are happy with out performance.