The Hague, June 5 :
India earned their first point of the hockey World Cup when they drew their third Group A match 1-1 against World No.10 Spain at the GreenFields Stadium here Thursday.
After losing their opening two matches in the last couple of minutes against Belgium and England, World No.8 India could only manage a draw from their third game.
India looked composed and started well and had a few half chances but failed to convert them. However, they broke the deadlock in the 28th minute when Rupinder Pal Singh scored off a penalty stroke to put the 1975 champions on the board.
India maintained the attack for the next five minutes but just when it looked like they would head into the break with the lead, Spaniard Roc Oliva equalised through a field goal in the 34th minute to level the match.
Goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh was in prime form once again and made good saves in the second half. Every time Spain came in attacking, he stood in front of the goal like a rock.
India earned their first penalty corner in the 52nd minute but were kept out which was followed by a Spanish penalty corner but Sreejesh kept the ball out.
With only three minutes left, India got another penalty corner chance but were again unsuccessful in scoring.
“The team showed great temperament and attacked Spain well. The strategy seems to be working for India and it was a good match but I would have been happy if we would have finished it with a win,” said India chief coach Terry Walsh.
Captain Sardar Singh said that they were happy to get off the mark in the competition.
“The team played a good game and attacked really well. Overall, it’s really good to have a point which will be a great motivator for the team. We will take up the remaining matches game by game and I am hopeful that we will finish well,” said Sardar.
With the point, India are in fifth position in the six-team group from three games. They next take on Malaysia Saturday and play their final group match against defending champions Australia Monday.