India qualified for the semifinals of the Women’s Asia Cup on Monday with a resounding 9-1 victory against Singapore.

The defending Asia Cup champions also booked a spot at the upcoming World Cup by virtue of being assured a place in the top four.

Gurjit Kaur (8’, 37’, 48’) bagged a hat-trick, Monika (6’, 17’) and Jyoti (43’, 58’) scored two goals each, while Vandana Katariya (8’) and Mariana Kujur (10’) contributed a goal each for India. Li Min Toh (43’) scored the only goal for Singapore.

India had won their tournament opener against Malaysia and lost 0-2 to Japan in their second game. But they bounced back in style on Monday and dominated Singapore with relentless attacks.

For Singapore, it was Min Li Toh who pulled one back in the third quarter by converting a penalty corner with the help of a big deflection, and it prompted enthusiastic celebrations at 1-6, giving the lowest-ranked team of the tournament something to cheer for a gritty display.

Goalscoring India vs Singapore

Team Minute Player Action Score
India 6 Monika Field Goal 1 - 0
India 8 Vandana Katariya  Field Goal 2 - 0
India 8 Gurjit Kaur  Penalty Corner 3 - 0
India 10 Mariana Kujur  Field Goal 4 - 0
India 17 Monika Penalty Corner 5 - 0
India 37 Gurjit Kaur  Penalty Corner 6 - 0
Singapore 43 TOH Li Min Penalty Corner 6 - 1
India 43 Jyoti Field Goal 7 - 1
India 48 Gurjit Kaur  Penalty Corner 8 - 1
India 58 Jyoti Field Goal 9 - 1
via FIH

India will take on Pool B leaders Korea in the first semifinal on Wednesday (6 pm IST), while Japan, who beat Malaysia 8-0 in another Pool B match, will be up against China in the other last four match. The medal matches of the tournament will be played on Thursday.

These four teams have automatically qualified for this year’s FIH World Cup to be co-hosted by Spain and Netherlands in July.

As expected, a much superior India completely dominated the match from the word go and pumped in four goals in the first quarter.

India started on a bright note and enjoyed possession with their brisk, fast-paced one-touch game.

India took the lead in the sixth minute through a field goal by Monika, a poacher’s finish into an empty net. Two minutes later the Savita Punia-led side doubled their lead through Mariana Kujur before Vandana Katariya deflected in seconds later to extend their lead.

Star dragflicket Gurjit Kaur made it 4-0 by converting a penalty corner in the 10th minute.

India continued in the same vein in the second quarter and added another goal through Monika, who offered a different option from the set-piece routine.

It was raining penalty corners for India as they earned as many as 15 of them in the match but made use of just three, which would be a cause of concern for chief coach Janneke Schopman. But it was better than the efforts against Japan.

The play was mostly centred in Singapore half as the Indian defence was hardly tested till the 43rd minute. Singapore managed just one shot at the Indian goal when they secured their only penalty corner which was converted by Toh Li Min. Gurjit Kaur completed her hat-trick in the final stages while Jyoti added a brace too.

By finishing in the top two positions in their respective pools, Japan (FIH World Ranking: 13), India (WR:9), China (WR:12) and Korea (WR:10) will now meet in the semi-finals of the competition and have also secured the four automatic qualification spots available from this continental qualifier.

It is currently Japan and Korea who are flying high. Both teams are undefeated so far, with Japan putting in the most striking performance when they defeated reigning champions India 2-0 in a pool A match. Korea’s 4-0 demolition of China was also an impressive performance, which left Korea top of Pool B.

In the final day of pool action, China defeated Indonesia (WR:7-0; Korea beat Thailand (WR:29) 6-0; Japan were 8-0 victors against Malaysia (WR:20); and India put nine goals past Singapore (WR:41), to win 9-1.

At this stage of the competition, Korea’s Cheon Eunbi is topping the goal scorers’ table with five goals; Japan’s Shihori Oikawa is currently one goal behind.

With PTI inputs