Antwerp, July 1:
The Indian women’s team’s chances of qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics were quashed once and for all after being thrashed 0-7 by Olympic champions Holland in the quarterfinals of the Hockey World League (HWL) Semi-Final here.
After failing to get the lone Olympic berth at the 2014 Asian Games, India needed to finish in top-3 of this 10-team tournament to qualify for the prestigious quadrennial event. But with Tuesday’s loss, it ends India’s hopes of playing in the Brazilian metropolis next year.
The Netherlands went into the attack in the very first minute as Naomi van Ass was successful in scoring the first goal, leaving the Indian eves stunned.
Trailing 0-1, India counter attacked three minutes later as forward Vandana Katariya’s shot was saved by the Netherlands goalie. But the World No.1 side reverted in the eighth minute when they got their first penalty corner. Willemijn Bos took the flick and hit the ball hard towards the goal where Lidewij Welten, standing next to the post, deflected the ball in to take a 2-0 lead.
In the 12th minute, the Dutch had another chance with a penalty corner but the opportunity was saved by defender Namita Toppo as she ran out to clear the danger.
Right in to the second quarter, Netherlands had another penalty corner which was slapped in by Caia van Maasakker to register the third goal for her team. Not wasting time, Netherlands were yet again in the Indian D and a good pass to Ginella Zerbo was converted in the 18th minute with which the three time Olympic champions took a 4-0 lead.
The seven time World Champions continued their attack through another penalty corner to score their fifth goal in the 26th minute, coming from the stick of van Maasakker. Next minute, Netherlands had one more penalty corner but this time Indian goalkeeper Savita made a save to enter halftime with a 0-5 deficit.
With the change of sides, India played better as they did not allow any more goals to be scored in the third quarter. They increased their tempo of attack and also looked for opportunities but proved unsuccessful in finding the net.
Despite conceding several goals, goalie Savita also came up with some brilliant saves, especially in the second half to restrict the Dutch. She made as many as two saves in the third quarter.
Six minutes into the third session, India got their first penalty corner but they totally missed the opportunity.
In the 48th minute, Lidewij Welten entered the Indian D from the left flank and was tackled by Savita but she still managed to deflect the ball into the net, taking the score to 6-0.
Five minutes later, Netherlands converted another penalty corner via Xan de Waard as she did no mistake in finding the net to win the match 7-0.
While Netherlands progressed to the semifinals where they will play Australia, India will play Italy in the 5-8 position playoff on Thursday. (IANS)