India progress to knockouts of WC

Skipper Rani Rampal's goal against USA handed India their progress to the knockouts on Sunday. PTI

Under-pressure Indian women’s hockey team produced a spirited performance to come back from a goal down and hold higher-ranked USA to a 1-1 draw in their last Pool B match and progress to the knock-out stages of the World Cup here on Sunday.

The draw enabled India to keep their campaign afloat in the tournament and progress to the next stage while the Americans crashed out.

As per the rules of the tournament the top teams from the four pools progress directly to the quarterfinals while the second and third placed teams will feature in the crossovers to decide the remaining four spots of the last eight round.

Margaux Paolino (11th minute) broke the deadlock for world no 7 USA before skipper Rani Rampal equalised for 10th ranked India in the 31st minute.

The Indians started brightly with good forays into the US citadel but the forwards failed to breach the rival defence.

India secured their first penalty corner in the seventh minute but the Americans defended well.

As time passed by the Americans grew in confidence and started to attack the Indian goal quite frequently.

From one such occasion, Margaux Paolino scored from a rebound in the 11th minute after her initial try was kicked away by Indian goalkeeper Savita.

Trailing by a goal, the Indians came out all guns blazing after the change of ends and drew level a minute into the third quarter through a penalty corner conversion by skipper Rani Rampal.

The Indians, thereafter, defended brilliantly to deny USA any breakthrough to secure the hard-earned draw.

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India progress to knockouts of WC

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