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Women’s Hockey World Cup 2018: India eye historic semi-final berth

first_imgIndia will have their eyes on revenge and the elusive semi-final berth when they take on Ireland in the quarter-final of the Women’s Hockey World Cup 2018 at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in London on Thursday.While India are ranked 10th in the world, Ireland are placed on the 16th spot in the FIH rankings but the last time these two sides met in the pool stage earlier in the tournament, it was Ireland who took the honours.Only one goal from Anna O’Flanagan in the 12th minute of the match was all that stayed and gave Ireland the win. India’s inability to be clinical and make the best of their penalty corners was what cost them the match.However, as India prepare to play in their first World Cup quarter-final in 40 years, their spirits will be high.India last played in the quarter-final of the World Cup in 1978 Madrid Women’s World Cup and their semi-final appearance in the inaugural edition in 1974 remains their best performance at the prestigious event.When India face Ireland on Thursday, they will go in having converted two penalty corners in their cross-over match against Italy and that might just boost their confidence in that respect.India put up a solid show against Italy and captain Rani Rampal was happy with the win but ahead of the quarters, she said India’s “best hockey is yet to come”.”All I know is, we are not done yet. Our best hockey is yet to come,” Rani asserted.advertisement Women’s Hockey World Cup 2018: India captain Rani Rampal said it will all boil down to self belief. (Hockey India Photo)Rani further added that the only thing on their minds would be to avenge their narrow 0-1 loss in the Pool Stage to Ireland and book a place in the semi-final against the winners of Spain vs Germany quarter-final match.”Though we lost against Ireland in the pool stage, we know we played really well that day but we did not put the ball in the goal. Now we have a golden opportunity to beat them in the quarter-final.”In the cross over match against Italy, Lalremsiami (ninth minute), Neha Goyal (45′) and Vandana Katariya (55′) found the back of the net to give India a crucial win.Rani, just like her coach Sjoerd Marijne, believed that the team was improving with each match and there is an increasing self-belief in the team.”Against Italy, we wanted to ensure we score in the first two quarters and put pressure on them. In the previous three matches in the pool stage, we were doing everything except scoring. But on Tuesday, we ticked that box right and we have realised that it all boils down to the self belief we have,” Rani said.Beating Ireland, who are high on confidence after a 3-1 win against USA and India 1-0 to top Pool B and earn a direct qualification for the quarters, would be a tough task especially if the Irish can pull off a good start to put pressure on India’s structure.Rani though was categorical in her stance that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for her team to create history.”For us, it is a once-in-a-lifetime moment to be playing the quarter-final of the biggest event in hockey. We will do everything we can to win this match and make the semi-final and the team believes we stand a realistic chance,” Rani put up an optimistic stand.(With IANS inputs)last_img read more

Report: West Brom 0 West Ham 0

first_imgWest Brom 0 West Ham 0: Fortune favours Pulis in Premier League stalemate Joe Wright Last updated 2 years ago 23:53 16/9/2017 javier hernandez - cropped Getty Images Ben Foster was perhaps fortunate to escape a red card as West Ham earned a 0-0 draw at West Brom. West Brom benefited from a slice of luck and refereeing leniency in their 0-0 Premier League draw with West Ham on Saturday.Slaven Bilic’s side were the better team at The Hawthorns and came closest to scoring through a spectacular long-range effort from Pedro Obiang which smacked the crossbar.The visitors were also left aggrieved that goalkeeper Ben Foster was only given a booking for a lunging challenge on Javier Hernandez midway through the second half. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘I’m getting better’ – Can Man Utd flop Fred save his Old Trafford career? Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Tony Pulis’ side suffered their first defeat of the season to Brighton and Hove Albion last week and seemed to be lacking the confidence they displayed in their opening two games.West Ham, who ended a run of three losses in a row with a 2-0 victory over Huddersfield Town last time out, were the more adventurous of the teams but struggled to create chances against a compact defence shielded by Gareth Barry, who made a record 600th Premier League start and equalled Ryan Giggs’ appearance record of 632.The result puts the Hammers level on points with Everton, who travel to Manchester United on Sunday, while West Brom move on to eight points from five games.632 – Gareth Barry will today equal Ryan Giggs’ @premierleague record of 632 appearances in the competition. Longevity. pic.twitter.com/m3xKUHH3by— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 16, 2017Chris Brunt tested Joe Hart in the early exchanges but Obiang came closest to a goal in the first half, rattling the top of the crossbar with an extraordinary curling shot from 45 yards out that had Foster completely beaten.The attempt seemed to galvanise West Ham, who began to peg back the home side and twice created half-chances for Andy Carroll, who failed to hit the target.The Baggies’ best chance of the half came for James Morrison, who failed to connect properly with a dangerous Matt Phillips cross from the left.West Ham remained the better side after the break but suffered a blow 10 minutes into the half when James Collins appeared to injure a hamstring and was replaced by Marko Arnautovic, on for his first appearance since returning from suspension.The Austrian was straight into the action, taking a hit to the shin from Ahmed Hegazi, with Bilic left furious on the sidelines after West Brom did not put the ball out of play for the forward to be treated.West Ham’s frustrations were even greater just three minutes later as Foster escaped with a yellow card after racing from his goal and bringing down Hernandez with a thigh-high challenge that mercifully made little contact with the striker.The visitors kept up their attacking efforts in the closing stages but West Brom held firm to take a point, although they have now won only two of their last 14 top-flight meetings with the Londoners. KEY OPTA STATS- West Ham kept just their second clean sheet in their last 19 away matches in the Premier League. – Only Southampton (13) and Man Utd (12) have recorded more nil-nil draws in the Premier League than West Brom (10) since Tony Pulis’ took over in January 2015.- West Brom have won just two of their last 14 matches versus West Ham in the Premier League (D9 L3).- West Ham have won just once in their last 11 Premier League away games (W1 D4 L6). read morelast_img read more