India’s first victory of the tournament helped them set up a quarter-final clash against Ireland (to whom they lost in the group stage).
By far the most consistent performance by India. They weren’t challenged a lot in this match though. The Italians, perhaps, were still hurting from the 1-12 loss to Netherlands. They hardly created chances in the game. But the Indians played a positive game. A brilliant opening goal by Lalremsiami spurred the women in blue. And, from then on, they were in control of the game till the end. They will face Ireland again on Thursday for a place in the semi-final.
5...4...3...2...1 IT’S ALL OVER FOR ITALY! Valentina Braconi came close to scoring a consolatory goal for Italy but it goes over the net. It was that kind of a day for Italy. Hardly created chances. But the Indian defence was superb. Solid throughout the tournament, impenetrable today.
Final quarter (2 minutes to go) India 3-0 Italy: Italy will be frustrated at their inability to breach the Indian defence. Its too late now. They are attacking with desperation and fading hopes. But they still could not come close to scoring a goal in this game. The Indians, meanwhile, are probably counting down the minutes to celebrate.
GOAL! Vandana scores India’s third goal! India get back to back penalty corners. Gurjit struck it well on the second one. The ball seemed like it was going wide. And, out of nowhere, Vandana put her stick in front of an unsuspecting Italian defender and the ball got deflected into the Italian net. Surely, the gates are closed for Italy.
Final quarter (9 minutes to go) India 2-0 Italy: Perhaps for the first time, Italy comes close to scoring a field goal. Jasbeer Singh, of Italy, gets the ball in front of India’s goal mouth. But Neha Goyal doesn’t let Jasbeer get a clean strike. India still lead by two goals.
Final quarter (9 minutes to go) India 2-0 Italy: The ball’s mostly played been in the Italian half. It doesn’t look good for the Italians. Apart from the penalty corner, they haven’t constructed any chances and put India under pressure. Their doors are closing.
Final quarter (12 minutes to go) India 2-0 Italy: Penalty corner for Italy – their first one of the day. But the Indian goalkeeper Savita’s up to it. She makes a good save. Time’s running out for Italy.
Penalty corner for India at the last second of the third quarter! AND THEY SCORE! Neha doubles India’s lead with a dramatic goal. The ball was blocked and was trapped under goalie Martina Chirico. But the Indians poke their sticks and get the ball outside and slots in the second goal.
Third quarter (1 minutes to go) India 1-0 Italy: Free hit for India. Mirabella intercepts a dangerous ball played by Rani and prevents the ball going to Vandana.
Third quarter (4 minutes to go) India 1-0 Italy: Penalty Corner again for India! They miss their third one of the day. Rani struck the ball. But the Italian defenders block it.
Third quarter (6 minutes to go) India 1-0 Italy: Rani steals the ball from the midfield, swivels and gets to the top of the Italian circle and makes a wild swing. But the ball’s taken away from her.
Third quarter (8 minutes to go) India 1-0 Italy: The Italian attackers are still struggling to breach the Indian defence. Despite the inconsistent performance overall, the defence of India has been solid throughout the tournament so far and it looks impenetrable today.
Third quarter (11 minutes to go) India 1-0 Italy: India get two chances back-to-back to slot in another goal. But Navneet Kaur misses the touch on both occasions. Will this cost the team eventually? But they get a Penalty Corner. This is interesting...
PC: Injection goes slightly to the wide of Deepika, who hits the ball high and wide. They have converted just one of the 15 penalty corners so far this tournament.
Third quarter (13 minutes to go) India 1-0 Italy: The Italians are intercepting the ball well in the midfield. But their run from there to the Indian circle lacks the explosive energy. Their attackers are being blocked easily by the Indians.
The Ireland team has turned up to watch this game. It will take on the winners of this contest in the quarter-final. What’s in store for the third quarter? The Italians need to press harder, definitely.
End of first half, Thirty minutes up and not even on one instance Italy came close to scoring a goal. India just need to defend well from here on to win this game. The possession’s almost even but the Italians need to press hard to keep their quarter-final hopes alive. They have a mighty task to accomplish in the second half.
Second quarter (4 minutes to go) India 1-0 Italy: Both teams trying to breach each other’s circle. India hardly threatened so far in this match. Italy need to capitalise whatever chance they get in this game, for the India’s defence is one of their key strengths.
Second quarter (8 minutes to go) India 1-0 Italy: Long corner for Italy. They fail to create a threat. The ball’s easily cleared away. The Italian midfield needs to be more active. So far, not many chances being created by the Italians. The Indians are sitting comfortable with a goal.
Second quarter (11 minutes to go) India 1-0 Italy: Poor hockey played by both teams. The Indians try to take advantage of an inattentive Italian defence. Udita gets a long ball with only the keeper to beat. But she fails to trap the ball. The ball is kicked away by the Italian keeper.
Second quarter (13 minutes to go) India 1-0 Italy: Scramble near the Italian net again. Anxious moments for the Italians. India are looking more positive – perhaps fired up after the pep talk by their coach.
End of first quarter, Wasn’t the best of starts by both teams. But India capitalised on a long corner, with Lalremsiami giving her team an early lead. The last time they scored first was in their first match against England. But the Italians are a dangerous side. India still need to be on their toes.
Despite the early goal, Indian coach Sjoerd Marijne’s not happy. “We can’t keep playing like this. We need to improve,” he says.
First quarter (2 minutes to go) India 1-0 Italy: Italy definitely seem flustered after India’s first goal. They will be under pressure. Their morale might be down after the 1-12 defeat to Netherlands. But they need to put that defeat and this early goal by India to keep their hopes alive.
GOAL! Lalremsiami puts India ahead. India missed scoring from their first Penalty Corner of the match after Gurjit Kaur hit wide. They got a long corner instead. There was a bit of a scramble. The ball got to young Lalremsiami, who despite surrounded by the Italian defence, flicked the ball above the goalkeeper to give her team an early lead.
First quarter (8 minutes to go) India 0-0 Italy: Quite a few long passes attempted and quite a few balls going out. The intensity of this match hasn’t been great so far.
First quarter (10 minutes to go) India 0-0 Italy: India get a long corner. The ball has mostly been played at the boundary of the Italian circle. But Rani and co are finding it tough to breach the Italian defence.
First quarter (12 minutes to go) India 0-0 Italy: Quick attack by the Indians. They get the ball close to the Italian circle. But the ball’s easily intercepted from there. Despite the difference in rankings (India: 10, Italy: 17), this match will be a close one.
Time for the national anthems. Looks like a slightly cloudy day at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre.
India’s starting XI today:-
vs England 1-1
vs Ireland 0-1
vs USA 1-1
vs China 3-0
vs Korea 1-0
vs Netherlands 1-12
09:45 Hello and welcome to the live coverage of this all-important match between India and Italy. It’s do or die now. India haven’t won a single match in the tournament hitherto and have managed to sneak in to the crossover matches because of a narrow 1-1 draw against USA. But today they need nothing less than a victory. Rani Rampal and Co looked good in the second half of the match against USA. They’d hope to carry that momentum into this game and defeat the lower-ranked Italians to get into the quarter-finals.