Green army

Incredible Ireland into Hockey World Cup semi-finals after shootout drama against India

Ireland will now play Spain in Saturday’s World Cup semi-final.

Nicola Evans and Katie Mullan celebrate at fulltime World class: Nikki Evans and Katie Mullan celebrate. Joe Toth / INPHO Joe Toth / INPHO / INPHO

Ireland 0-0 India (Ireland win 3-1 on penalties)

IRELAND’S SENSATIONAL FAIRYTALE will have at least one more chapter after they beat India in a thrilling penalty shootout in their Women’s Hockey World Cup quarter-final.

After 60 scoreless minutes in London, Chloe Watkins kept a cool head to score the decisive penalty and clinch a place in Saturday’s semi-finals against Spain.

Roisin Upton and Ali Meeke also held their nerve to score while Ireland’s goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran showed why she is regarded as one of the best in the world as she forced three straight Indian misses in the shootout.

Graham Shaw’s side came to London ranked 16th in the world but will take their place among the final four nations full of confidence after another historic win.

The best chance of a cagey game fell to India early in the fourth quarter when Hannah Matthews was penalised for a foot foul inside the circle following a video review.

India set up the penalty for Rani Rampal but McFerran made a crucial block with her body before clearing the ball to safety with her stick.

The deadlock continued into the opening shots of the shootout as both Nicci Daly and Anna O’Flanagan missed chances for Ireland, while Rampal, Monika Malik and Navjot Kaur were denied by McFerran.

“We knew we have the best keeper in the game,” an ecstatic Watkins said afterwards. “We knew she was going to keep making saves and she just kept blocking, blocking.”

“It came down to it and we’ve practiced them. I knew what I was going to do and thankfully it came off.

“It ended up being a very tight game. It was still quite hot out there. India played very well, all credit to them. They’ve really had a great tournament, but we just stuck at it. When it came down to 1v1s, we were very confident.”

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