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Hockey World League Final: Inspired India enter semi-finals

December 03, 2015 21:25 IST

India's VR Raghunath celebrates scoring the first goal against England in their Hockey World League last eight match in Raipur

IMAGE: India's VR Raghunath celebrates scoring the first goal against England in their Hockey World League last eight match in Raipur. Photograph: Twitter (@TheHockeyIndia)

Leaving behind their disappointing league campaign, India produced an inspired performance to upstage World No.4 Great Britain 2-1 and enter the semifinals of the Hockey World League (HWL) Final at the Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel Stadium in Raipur.

World No. 6 India came into the match as underdogs having finished last in Pool B with just one point. Great Britain, on the other hand, were touted as favourites as they topped Pool A with two wins and a draw. 

But having faced a lot flak in the last few days for their inconsistent showing in the league stage, the Indians came out with purpose even though Great Britain had the better share of ball possession and circle entries. 

India secured just one penalty corner in the match which was beautifully converted by VR Raghunath in the 19th minute before Talwinder Singh doubled the lead in the 39th minute. 

It was not easy for the Indians as Great Britain fought hard and tried to forge a comeback into the match in the fourth and final quarter when Simon Mantell scored from a penalty corner in the 52nd minute. 

Great Britain earned as many as six penalty corners in the match but made use of just one. 

India will face Belgium, who edged Argentina 2-1 in the fourth and final quarter-final, in the semi-final on Saturday.

By virtue of this win, India have also managed to avenge their 1-5 drubbing against Great Britain in the bronze medal play-off match Hockey World League Semi-finals at Antwerp, Belgium earlier this year.

In the day's second match, Belgium took the lead in the 22nd minute when Alexander Hendrickx scored from a penalty corner in the seventh minute before Sebastian Dockier (27th minute) made it 2-0 in the second quarter.

Argentina fought hard in the second half and pulled one back in the 42nd minute through Agustin Mazzilli's field strike. Thereafter, the Argentines tried hard and kept putting pressure on the opponents in search of the equaliser but failed to break the resolute Belgian defence.

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