The Indian junior women’s hockey team suffered a narrow defeat to Germany in their second round group stage match at the FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup in Santiago, Chile, on Friday.
They Indians put up a strong display, but last edition’s runners-up Germany came from behind to secure the win.
For India, Annu (11’), Ropni Kumari (14’), and Mumtaz Khan (24’) were the goalscorers, while Sophia Schwabe (17’), Laura Pluth (21’, 36’), and Carolin Seidel’s (38’) netted goals for Germany.
India quickly settled into a passing rhythm, dominating the game in the opening quarter by controlling possession and continuously testing Germany’s defensive line. Despite their early efforts, India were thwarted by Germany’s sturdy defense, preventing them from scoring until the closing minutes of the quarter.
It was during this period of sustained pressure that the Indian team secured consecutive penalty corners, and Annu capitalized on the second opportunity with a powerful shot, finally putting her team in the lead.
Shortly after breaking the deadlock, India further solidified their position as Ropni Kumari elegantly found the net with a well-executed shot from another penalty corner. The first quarter concluded with India leading 2-0, marking a successful start for the team.
Germany, determined to turn the tide, approached the second quarter with renewed zeal. Their efforts bore fruit as Schwabe scored an impressive field goal, reducing the deficit for Germany. Building on this momentum, Pluth fired a powerful strike to level the score.
However, India swiftly responded as Khan skillfully put the ball past the opposition’s goalkeeper, shifting the momentum back in India’s favour and putting them in front again as they went into the half-time break with a 3-2 lead.
Determined to maintain their lead, India prioritized ball possession in the third quarter, yet Germany managed to level the score. Pluth struck for the second time, equalizing the game. Motivated by their resurgence, Germany intensified their attacks, seizing the lead with Seidel’s goal from a penalty corner to send put the European team in the lead for the first time in the match.
India, eager to equalize, increased their frequency of attacks. But, despite their efforts, the score remained 4-3 in favour of Germany by the close of the third quarter.
The final quarter witnessed an aggressive display from both sides, with Germany coming close to extending their lead. However, Indian goalkeeper Madhuri Kindo’s exceptional save in a one-on-one situation denied Germany a chance to extend their lead. Meanwhile, India earned consecutive penalty corners in the dying minutes but failed to convert.
The fourth quarter concluded without any goals, culminating in a 4-3 victory for Germany.
The Indian team will next take on Belgium in their third match of the tournament on December 2 at 18:30 hrs IST.