Odisha Hockey WC: India Pump In 8 Past Japan In Classification Game

Rourkela: For India, it was better late than never.

Having failed to clear the crossover round against lower-ranked New Zealand at Bhubaneswar’s Kalinga Stadium, the stunned home team was relegated to the classification stage.

Back at the Birsa Munda International Stadium — where they had started their campaign encouragingly with a 2-0 win against Spain and 0-0 draw with England – the men in blue took out their frustration of failing to reach the quarterfinals by pumping in 8 goals without reply against Japan on Thursday evening.

It was India’s biggest victory in the World Cup, surpassing their 7-0 triumph against Ghana in the 1975 edition which they won.

India will face South Africa in a 9th to 12th place classification game on January 28.

The first two quarters were barren, with the familiar story of India squandering three penalty corner opportunities.

Changing ends, the Indians woke up from their slumber and produced their best hockey to score four goals each in the third and fourth quarters.

Mandeep Singh broke the deadlock through a penalty corner strike. Skipper Harmanpreet (2) finally found his touch while Vivek Sagar Prasad and Sukhjeet Singh also scored as India converted 5 of the 11 penalty corners they earned.

Abhishek (2) and Manpreet Singh chipped in with field goals to bring the smiles back on the of faces who didn’t desert the team despite the disappointing show against New Zealand.

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