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Hockey: India celebrate Junior World Cup bronze after thrilling shootout

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August 5, 2013: India won their first-ever medal at the Women’s Ergo Junior World Cup after beating England 3-2 in a shootout following a 1-1 draw in Sunday’s third place playoff in Mönchengladbach, Germany.

 

fu08049948..m.w580.h435Navneet Kaur, 17, scored the winning goal in the shootout, sparking wild scenes of celebration that were later replicated in the final, where the Netherlands beat Argentina in a shootout after a 1-1 draw in regulation time. Korea beat China 4-0 in the 11th place playoff.

 

The bronze medal match started off with an early penalty corner to England, but Grace Balsdon’s shot was deflected before reaching India goalkeeper Sanarik Chanu.

 

England kept pushing for the opener, but it was India who took the lead after 13 minutes when Rani scored with a powerful shot after a counter-attack. India slowly took control of the match, but were unable to break the English defence and the score remained 1-0 at halftime.

 

England entered the second half with a different attitude, pressing for the equaliser they eventually earned through Anna Toman. Both teams kept going and went for the winning goal, but it remained 1-1 after 70 minutes, resulting in a penalty shootout.

 

1fu08049921A..m.w580India replaced Chanu with Bigan Soy, making her first appearance of the tournament till then. Only five of 14 attempts were successful in the shootout competition, with Rani and Emily Defroand scoring twice for India and England respectively before Kaur scored the winner.

 

“It means a lot to our kids’ psychology that they can actually win a medal. They have never been in these kind of games before,” India coach Neil Hawgood said.

 

“We practised shootouts, so I thought we would score more than three out of seven. Bigan Soy did a great job. It was clear, when it comes down to shootouts, she’ll be in the goal.”

 

fu08049966..m.w580.h435Soy was ecstatic after playing a short but pivotal role for the team. “I did my very best and it’s a good feeling to know that I saved my team,” she said. “I’m very happy. It now feels as if I played the whole tournament.”

 

Kaur, scorer of the winning goal: “This is my first Junior World Cup and my first medal. I’m so happy. It was tough to take a second penalty after I didn’t score from the first. I knew that I needed to get the goalkeeper to dive and then I could score, so this is what I did.”

 

Rani, one of India’s top performers, said: “We’re so happy and we have to thank our goalkeeper, Bigan Soy, who did very well in the shootouts. We were mentally prepared for shootouts, which was good. This is our first-ever medal in a Junior World Cup, so now we’ll celebrate!”

 

fu08049583..m.w580.h435Korea comfortably secured 11th spot by beating a young China side with a brace from Kang Ji-na and goals from Kim Hyun-ji and Cheon Eun-bi.

 

Photos: FIH / Frank Uijlenbroek

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