FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup Pool B
England 1 India 1
For the second successive World Cup tournament, England and India drew 1-1 in each nation’s opening match, to leave all four teams in Pool B level on a point, with New Zealand and China occupying the top two places on goals scored following their 2-2 draw on Saturday.
When England had drawn with India on home turf at Lee Valley in 2018, it was India who took the lead, but four years later at the Wagener Stadium in Amstelveen, India had to come from behind to earn what could prove to be a precious point.
With the teams unable to face each other in the FIH Pro League due to Covid-19 issues preventing England from travelling to the sub-continent and rearranged dates impossible to find, there was no recent formbook data, but in the Netherlands, both teams had chances to win if only the ball had fallen in their favour.
Penalty Corners proved to be a problem for England as they conceded six in the first half, whilst Indian video referrals reversed both of England’s provisional awards, to deny England any penalty corner opportunities.
India won their first penalty corner after just 35 seconds, Sophie Hamilton leaning in on Salima Tete before England averted an early setback by blocking and clearing the award.
India’s goalkeeper and captain, Savita was called upon in the third minute to make a diving save from Hannah Martin, but there was nothing she could do in the ninth minute when following an attacking run by Lily Owsley, Izzy Petter was able to divert the ball into the roof of the net to put England ahead.
India’s threat from penalty corners almost earned them an instant equaliser, only the left post keeping England’s lead intact after Gurjit Kaur’s drag-flick beat Maddie Hinch from India’s second award and Hinch was called on again from the re-award to deny Gurjit Kaur again.
Two minutes from the end of the first quarter, Owsley’s attacking prowess nearly earned England an insurance goal but neither Ellie Rayer nor Martin could get the decisive touch to double the lead.
In the second quarter, Gurjit Kaur tried to aim for a deflection from Navneet Kaur from their fourth penalty corner as India kept up the set-piece pressure on England’s defence. At the other end of the pitch, Savita was kept on her toes by another testing shot from Hamilton, whilst Hinch was also tested by Sharmila Devi.
England’s offensive penalty corner woes began in the 23rd minute when a first potential award was chalked off as India successfully referred the free hit which ultimately led to the award, the ball not having been stopped before the free hit was taken.
England were conceding too many penalty corners and India made them pay in the 28th minute from their fifth, after Monika’s initial shot was saved by Hinch on the ground, only for the ball to go straight to Vandana Katariya who smashed the rebound into the net beyond Hinch’s reach and evading a defender on the line. Gurjit Kaur also had a shot saved by Hinch in the final minute of the first half from their sixth penalty corner.
The third quarter was much quieter, England left to wonder how they didn’t restore their lead in the 35th minute, Tess Howard guiding the ball the wrong side of the left post after attacking play by Owsley and Petter. Neha had the chance to give India the lead near the end of the quarter, but Hinch was in superb form once again.
In the fourth quarter, it was Petter’s turn to just fail to score, being unable to turn in Laura Unsworth’s shot/ cross from the left. With four minutes to play, it was India’s turn to be frustrated as the ball failed to fall for Sharmila Devi with the open goal at her mercy, to England’s relief.
After India failed to convert their seventh penalty corner, their video referral came to their rescue for a second time as England were denied their initial penalty corner of the tournament, a perceived stick tackle proved not to exist with under two minutes remaining.
Both teams will know that they had chances to win, but with all four teams having drawn, the next round of pool matches will be key in determining which team is likely to progress, and which teams will need to play in the crossover matches.
After a rest day on Monday, England face New Zealand, who will be another unknown quantity having, along with Australia, not taken part in the last FIH Pro League, on Tuesday at 1830 BST. India face China at 1530 BST.
Scorer: Izzy Petter 9-F
Starters: Maddie Hinch (GK); Laura Unsworth, Anna Toman, Hannah Martin, Ellie Rayer, Izzy Petter, Giselle Ansley, Hollie Pearne-Webb (Capt.), Fiona Crackles, Sophie Hamilton, Lily Owsley.
Subs: Tess Howard (4 mins), Darcy Bourne (5), Holly Hunt (5), Shona McCallin (5), Grace Balsdon (5), Lily Walker (6),
Sub not used: Sabbie Heesh (GK).
Cards: Green: Hannah Martin (23 mins). Yellow: Tess Howard (60 mins).
Scorer: Vandana Katariya 28-PC
Starters: Navjot Kaur, Deep Grace Ekka, Nikki Pradhan, Savita (GK & Capt.), Vandana Katariya, Udita, Lalremsiami, Navneet Kaur, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Salima Tete, Neha.
Subs: Sharmila Devi (3 mins), Gurjit Kaur (4), Monika (4), Sonika (4), Nisha (4), Jyoti (5)
Sub not used: Bichu Devi Kharibam (GK).
Cards: Green: Navjot Kaur (49 mins), Gurjit Kaur (51 mins).
Umpires: Irene Presenqui (Argentina) and Annelize Rostron (South Africa)