India, considered one of the pre-tournament medal favourites, got the FIH Hockey Women’ Junior World Cup off to a brilliant start with a 5-1 win over Wales in Potchefstroom on Saturday.

India took the lead in the fourth minute of play through Lalremsiami’s deflection but weren’t able to add to it despite launching wave after wave of attack. They dominated the proceedings and had much better structure but the Wales goalkeeper Ffion Horrell was in fine form throughout and kept the Indians at bay.

But then, against the run of play, Wales got a goal back (26’) just before the end of the second quarter to go into half-time level with India. Millie Holme with a wonderful shot on turn seemed to catch the Indian goalkeeper and the defence off-guard. It went off the leg of the defender into the goal and suddenly India’s advantage vanished.

Going into the second half of the match, India knew they just needed to finish better. They had more shots and circle penetrations in the first half and if they could keep that up, the goals would come.

And, despite a strong start by Wales, an early Q3 goal helped settle whatever nerves India might have been feeling. Salima Tete played a ball through to the shooting circle, where Lalrindiki got the deflection before getting the ball past Horrell in the second minute of the third quarter.

India went up 3-1 courtesy a brilliant run by Mumtaz Khan. The move started thanks to an excellent interception by Salima Tete, who then sent a wonderful through ball that Mumtaz Khan latched onto. She went one-on-one with Horrell and slotted home comfortably.

By this point, India were cruising. Another goal came as an indirect result of a PC. Horrell kept it out a couple of times until Ajmina’s shot was parried straight to Lalrindiki, who chipped home comfortably for India’s fourth and her second.

And fifth goal also came courtesy a penalty corner. This time, no deflection was needed. Tete with a perfect injection, Lalremsiami with the stop and Deepika with a superb drag flick to the left of the goalkeeper.

The match was off to a delayed start due to bad weather and was played pretty much throughout in pouring rain.

Captain Salima Tete, who was adjudged as the player of the match, later said: “I’m very proud. We are a very good team. The first and second half we didn’t put enough pressure, but we were very good in the third and fourth quarter.”

India will take on Germany next in what is expected to be a tightly contested match on Sunday.

Other results

Germany outclass Malaysia:

Germany dominated from start to finish to charge to the top of Pool D after a 10-0 win over Malaysia. Aina Kresken scored three goals in the opening half, while Lilly Stoffelsma had a two-goal performance.

“We’re very overwhelmed that we had a great start. It was a tough match but we’re very happy. It feels great to score three goals but it’s way more important for me that as a team we played a great match,” said Germany’s Kresken after the match.

USA too good for Zimbabwe:

A dominating scoring performance from Hope Rose in the final two quarters propelled the United States a 5-0 over Zimbabwe despite just a 1-0 lead at half time.

USA’s Charlotte de Vries commented after the match: “I think this win brings us confidence. We just got the hang of it more today and we’re really excited for our next game against Canada. We didn’t play them at Pan Ams, so we actually don’t know them that well, but I’m excited, I think it’s going to be a good game.”

Netherlands dominate Canada:

Four goals from Player of the Match Jip Dicke provided another casual victory, this time 11-0 over Canada, for the Netherlands in Pool A play. Luna Fokke continued her dominance from penalty corners and had a hat trick in the match.

Dicke said after the match: “We did a really, really good job. Yesterday nine goals, today 11. Very proud of the team. The four goals I scored are the result of the performance of the team. We’re looking forward to the other games.”

England edge out Ireland:

Vicki McCabe’s spectacular finish in the third quarter was the game-winner that gave England the 2-1 win over Ireland in a feisty and end-to-end match up in Pool B. The game came right down to the final seconds as Ireland tried to claw their way back to tie it up. The England defensive penalty corner unit stood the test to protect the lead.

Player of the Match and England skipper Giglio said after the game: “I’m just coming off the adrenaline at the moment. I thought the girls put in 100% of the effort in and that’s all we can ask for. We asked for 100% intensity and 100% focus and that’s what the girls gave today. Credit to Ireland who put up such a good fight today.”

Screenshots: Fancode