After losing to the Netherlands by 0-1 in their first match, India Under-21 Women Hockey team came back strong against Germany today and went on to draw the match 4-4 in the Volvo Invitational U-21 (Women) Tournament today. India Under-21 Men were defeated (1-3) by Belgium in their 3rd match after two convincing wins against Germany (3-0) and New Zealand (3-0).
India and Germany women displayed fearless performances where both sides were looking to counter the opponent’s attack. After the goal-less first half, both the teams displayed their mettle in the second half and Belgium men outplayed India with two quick goals.
It was Germany who drew its first blood in the tenth minute when Captain Elisia Grave scored the first goal for the team. Germany was seen dominating the Indian side without wasting another minute when a field goal was scored by Kira Horn to double the lead by 2-2 in the tenth minute itself. After the two early jolts, India went in full throttle, and Renuka Yadav broke the shackles in the 14th minute through a field effort. However, the German girls made clever attempts to capitalize on the opportunities but failed to net the ball. India was now seen on the front foot playing with full strength and it was through the stick of Anupa Barla who smacked the ball hard in the 17th minute by utilizing the penalty corner to equalise the game to 2-2.
Carrying the same energy in the second half, India started with the proceedings and tried to create scoring opportunities by surrounding the D of the opponents. It was Jaspreet Kaur who struck the goal post in the 41st minute to take the lead at 3-2. While both the teams made desperate attempts to put themselves into the frame, the Indian eves were awarded by a penalty corner but it was brilliantly saved by the German goalie. Germany stood successful and scored an equalizer through Tessa Margot Schubert in the 54th minute. India switched on its attacking mode and scored its fourth goal through the brilliant efforts of Lilima Minz in the 56th minute and advanced the lead to 4-3. Continuing with their quick moves, India got a penalty corner but failed to convert it before the polished defence of Germany. Germany did not disappoint its hope and came back into the game when Anne Winter scored a leveler in the 68th minute through a penalty stroke which ended the match with a 4-4 draw.
In India vs Belgium match: the first half started with aggressive attacks from both the U-21 teams as they tussled against each other to control the ball. The Indian colts continued with their fast-paced attack and kept their opponent busy in the midfield. After a few penetrations, India won a number of penalty corners but they faced a tough defence-line of the Belgian young players and could not materialise the chances. On the other hand, Belgium counter-attacked quickly and pushed the Indians back to their half. In the last few minutes, the Belgian colts earned a penalty corner, which was perfectly saved by Indian goal-keeper Suraj Karkera. After an intense battle from the both sides, the first half finished at 0-0 score-line.
The second half saw more aggression from both the Junior teams as the young talents desperately wanted to open their accounts. It was Belgium who managed to earn a penalty corner in the first few minutes, but again Indian custodian Suraj foiled the attack. In the 42nd minute, Belgium U-21 players attacked again and Tom Degroote, seeing an opportunity, hit the ball into the Indian goal-box to take the lead of 1-0. However, their joy was short-lived as the Indians earned two back-to-back penalty corners and drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh converted the second chance into a marvellous equaliser in 48th minute. After seven minutes (55th), the Belgians counter-attacked and earned another penalty corner, which Tanguy Zimmer successfully converted into their second goal and took the score-card to 2-1.
Continuing their surprise attacks, the European team increased their lead in the 62nd minute, when Xavier Deruyttere scored the third goal for his team. Afterwards, the Indian colts fought back hard and charged from all sides. India managed to earn another penalty corner in the last minutes but could not convert it and lost the match by 1-3 at the final whistle.
India women will face China on 22nd July 2014 at 22.30 IST, while their men counterparts will lock the horns against the hosts, Netherlands on 22nd July 2015 at 16:30 IST at Breda.