The host team was eliminated from the World Cup after losing 4-5 on penalties to New Zealand, following a 3-3 tie in regulation time. It took 19 shots in the shootout and sudden death to separate the teams. The India team had many regrets, as they struggled to convert penalty corners, had errors in defence and lost PR Sreejesh, their goalkeeper, to injury during the last three shots of the shootout. Despite Krishan Pathak’s efforts, India’s attackers faltered under pressure.
The host team’s hopes of winning a medal ended in disappointment as they lost at home despite taking a two-goal lead twice during the game. They dominated the Black Sticks for long periods and created many opportunities, but were unable to convert them. Despite showing improvement from their previous match against Wales, it was not enough to defeat a determined New Zealand team who advanced to the quarterfinals to face reigning champion Belgium.
Despite improvements in certain areas, the host team’s struggles with penalty corner conversions persisted. They earned 10 but only converted one, taken by Varun Kumar. Harmanpreet Singh, the team’s captain and top performer, also had a difficult match and missed a crucial shot in the shootout. Meanwhile, New Zealand converted two of their penalty corners in six minutes. Additionally, the host team’s struggles in the second half continued, despite dominating in the first half. They became increasingly error-prone in defence, leading to turnovers and poor passing. Despite starting strong and taking control early on, the host team ultimately struggled to convert their chances and were unable to secure a win.
India’s first goal
Harmanpreet initiated India’s first goal by stealing the ball in the Indian 25-yard area, passing it to Akashdeep Singh, who then passed it to Shamsher. Shamsher delivered a well-placed cross to Upadhyay. Who scored by running into position and striking the ball into the board in the 18th minute. India almost doubled their lead five minutes later. But a rebound shot by Nilakanta Sharma from back-to-back penalty corners was disallowed due to a back stick violation by Abhishek in the final pass. However, two minutes later, Sukhjeet successfully scored a rebound off another penalty corner, with no confusion about the goal.
India’s failure to properly defend key players on New Zealand’s team proved costly. As they all performed well during critical moments of the game. Veteran Simon Child, who was expected to feed Sam Lane and create opportunities for Kane Russell. He was a dominant force for New Zealand. Despite this, the Indian team repeatedly left him unguarded, allowing him to repeatedly set up Lane and Kane Russell, including on the penalty corner that Russell converted. He also made several saves on India’s penalty corners.
As predicted by India coach Graham Reid, New Zealand came out aggressively and pressed forward throughout the game. They created several opportunities, with Simon Child being the main creator for Sam Lane. It was a combination of Child and Sean Findlay that led to New Zealand’s first goal in the 29th minute. And giving them a boost of confidence heading into halftime. They maintained their momentum and controlled the third quarter, despite India’s efforts to rally in the fourth quarter. The host team will now have to travel back to Rourkela for the 9-16 classification games.
Result: India vs NewZealand
New Zealand defeated India in a penalty shootout, with goals from Sam Lane, Kane Russell, and Sean Findlay, while India’s goals were scored by Lalit Upadhyay, Sukhjeet Singh, and Varun Kumar.