India progressed to the crossover stage of the FIH Women’s Hockey World Cup despite losing 3-4 to New Zealand in their final Pool B match on Thursday.

India finished third in the Pool with two points behind toppers New Zealand (7 points) and England (4 points). Savita Punia and Co will meet co-hosts Spain in the crossover match on July 10 in Terrassa.

Pool B was tight to the very end as all four teams began the day with every chance of winning the pool or failing to qualify (except NZ). In the end, it was a professional performance from England that consigned China to the 13-16th place play-offs, with New Zealand running out winners of the Pool after beating India in a thrilling match.

India took the lead early in the match through Vandana Katariya, who continued to show why she is such a highly-rated player. Lalremsiami struck the ball towards goal and Vandana was in a great position to tip it into the goal.

India pushed for a second and looked to be taking charge of the match but then Olivia Merry stepped up for a New Zealand penalty corner and her hard strike ensured Black Sticks were back in the game. Tessa Jopp added to the New Zealand scoreline in the dying minutes of the first half when she scrambled the ball home.

Frances Davies extended New Zealand’s lead with another great penalty corner routine but the rest of the third quarter was all about the India attack. Gurjit Kaur had chances from a series of penalty corners but Brooke Roberts and her determined defence put everything on the line to keep India out.

The next breakthrough came for India in the 43rd minute. New Zealand lost a player with a green card and India took full advantage. A beautiful ball was played through the New Zealand defence and Lalremsiami was on hand to tip the ball home.

The final quarter saw more of the same from India. They won 12 penalty corners but either failed to follow their routine or came up against a stalwart defence that wasn’t prepared to concede the lead.

And then New Zealand gave themselves the cushion they had been seeking. A quick break, led by Aniwake Haumaha, earned the Black Sticks a penalty corner and Olivia Merry made it two from two.

It was a case of ‘what could have been’, when Gurjit Kaur finally rifled home a penalty corner to bring the scores to 4-3. The whole routine was perfect and Gurjit was able to show her class as a drag flicker.

In the earlier Pool B match, England beat China 2-0 to book ensure their progress in the tournament.

After a tight and nervous opening 10 minutes, England took the lead through a penalty corner from Grace Balsdon. England had made a quick break through the speed and skill of Lily Owsley and the resulting penalty corner was dispatched with precision by Balsdon. In a double blow for China, the team also lost its referral after incorrectly challenging whether the goal was scored through dangerous play.

Owsley was at it again a few minutes later as she beat two defenders before releasing the ball to Tessa Howard. The forward unleashed a vicious shot but Liu Ping was able to make a solid save.

As the half counted down, it was Owsley who continued to plague the China defence. She weaved through the defence and slipped the ball onto a foot to win another penalty corner. This time it was Giselle Ansley who stepped up and sent the ball flying deep into the corner of the goal.

Gu Bingfeng had a chance to reduce the deficit with a penalty corner at the end of the half but her attempted variation was well dealt with by the England defence.

The second half saw England start very energetically. The links between Owsley, Howard, Hannah Martin and Ellie Rayer were speedy and impressive and they kept the China defence working hard to contain their attacks.

China had a chance to change the direction of the game with eight minutes left when they won a rare penalty corner. The trap at the top of the circle was poor and the ball was cleared. It was almost possible to feel the belief ebbing from the Asia side.

China worked to the end but were unable to find a way past the experienced defensive line-up of Hollie Pearne-Webb, Laura Unsworth, Anna Toman and Giselle Ansley.

Pool C was a more straightforward affair, with Pool leaders Argentina stamping their authority with a comprehensive win over fourth-placed Canada. Spain took the second spot after a win over Korea.

The results mean that New Zealand and Argentina join Netherlands and Australia in getting a few days rest as they qualify directly to the quarter-finals. In the cross-over matches, England will play Korea and India take on Spain. China will play the loser of Belgium versus Chile and Canada will play either Spain or India.

India will take on Spain in their crossover match on July 10, 2130 local time, which is 0100 IST. The match will be live on Star Sports First, Star Sports 3 and streamed on Disney+ Hotstar.