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

It’s been 16 long years since Ireland were last at a Women’s Hockey World Cup — and now that they’re here, they’re not going home without a fight.

The opening chapter of this remarkable fairytale saw Ireland beat both the USA and India and qualify for the quarter-finals as Pool B winners with a game to spare.

Arriving in London ranked 16th in the world, they’ve already made history, and now they’re looking to make even more by defeating India for a second time and taking their place in the World Cup semi-finals.

The action gets underway at 6pm.

TEAM NEWS: Here’s Ireland’s starting XI as named by coach Graham Shaw

Ayeisha McFerran, Katie Mullan (c), Shirley McCay, Roisin Upton, Hannah Matthews, Zoe Wilson, Gillian Pinder, Chloe Watkins,  Lizzie Colvin, Nikki Evans, Anna O’Flanagan.

TEAM NEWS: Here’s how India line out.

A quick reminder of how they’ve done so far. Either side of their defeat against Ireland, 1-1 draws with both hosts England and the USA was enough to earn India a place in the crossover round.

They comfortably accounted for Italy — who are ranked 17th, just a place below Ireland — and beat them 3-0 on Tuesday to set up this rematch.

Not to get ahead of ourselves, but a reminder that the prize for the winner here is a semi-final against Spain on Saturday afternoon…

The teams are out on the pitch in the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, and Ireland’s Call is being sung loudly and proudly.

Just about ready to go…

FIRST QUARTER: We’re underway.

Q1 12.00 – Anna O’Flanagan tries to turn inside the shooting circle but she can’t quite keep her balance.

Q1 10.00 – Good, patient defending by Ali Meeke to snuff out the Indian threat. No clear chances for either side yet.

Q1 07.00 - Lovely play by Megan Frazer who evades two or three tackles in midfield. She drills in a shot from distance but there are too many bodies blocking the route to goal.

Q1 06.00 - A flash of a threat from India as they get inside the Irish circle but Shirley McCay’s tackle is timed to perfection.

Q1 05.00 - Ouch. Roisin Upton takes a sore one right on her ankle as she closes down an Indian attack. She’s ok to continue though.

Q1 02.00 - Possession split evenly between the sides in this opening quarter, 50-50. India have been inside the Irish circle three times, versus two for Ireland, so really very little to choose between them,

This is India’s first World Cup quarter-final since 1978, so it’s no great surprise that both sides are perhaps a little bit cautious starting out. An Anna O’Flanagan penalty corner was the only thing that separated them when they met in the pool stages, and it could take a set piece to break the deadlock again.

SECOND QUARTER: “Quality in the final pass” is the message from Ireland head coach Graham Shaw, but by and large, he’s happy with what he’s seen so far out there.

Q1 11.00 - India on the front foot here in the opening minutes of this second quarter but Ireland are defending resolutely.

Q2 08.00 – CHANCE! Best chance of the game so far and it falls to Ireland, who are desperately unlucky not to break the deadlock. Katie Mullan delivers a quick ball in from the right and Savita, the Indian goalkeeper, gets behind it as Anna O’Flanagan tries to flick it to the net.

Q2 07.00 - Another half-chance for Anna O’Flanagan. She’s been at the heart of Ireland’s most threatening attacks, unsurprisingly.

Q2 05.00 - Much better from Ireland in these last few minutes after a slow start to the second quarter where they allowed India to dictate.

Q2 04.00 - CHANCE FOR INDIA! They take a free hit quickly and it’s pulled back to Rani. She drags her shot wide without really testing Ayeisha McFerran in the Irish goal. She should have done better.

Q2 02.00 - Ireland take a free hit quickly, but just a little bit too quickly, as Chloe Watkins can’t quite get her stick on the ball to control it in time.


HALF TIME: Ireland 0-0 India

Late shout from Ireland as Anna O’Flanagan goes to ground inside the circle, and appeals for a push. Our referee from Argentina is not interested and that’s the end of the first half.

Anna O’Flanagan appeals after being pushed Source: Joe Toth/INPHO

THIRD QUARTER: Back underway at Lee Valley. Can Ireland find their breakthrough?

Q3 14.00 - Half-chance for Ireland as they crash a ball into the Indian circle but it’s deflected wide.

Q3 09.00 - Megan Frazer robs the ball in midfield and has a chance to attack the space in front of her, but her pass is cut out by the Indian defence. There could have been an opening there for Ireland.

Q3 06.00 – Nicci Daly makes space down the left and tries to deliver a pass into the circle but it’s cut out.

Q3 05.00 - Half-chance for India there. There seemed be a huge amount of space opening up in front of Udita on the edge of the circle but she couldn’t control the ball to take advantage.

Q3 04.00 - Lovely direct ball in from Elena Tice to Nikki Evans but it bobbles unfortunately on to Evans’ leg as she tries to bring it in, and it’s a free hit to India.

Q3 02.00 - Great, direct running from Chloe Watkins but she can’t find a way through the bodies.


END OF THIRD QUARTER: Ireland 0-0 India

Late threat from India as they get inside the Irish circle but thankfully, the ball comes off Lalremsiami’s foot and it’s an Irish free hit.

FOURTH QUARTER: Ireland are potentially 15 minutes away from a place in the World Cup semi-finals. A reminder that if it’s still level, there will be a shootout.

We’re gone to the video umpire… was there a foot foul against Hannah Matthews inside the Irish circle?

Penalty corner awarded to India — the first of the match. The ball came off Matthews’ stick.

Q4 11.00 – SAVED BY MCFERRAN! India set it up for Rani, and she gets her shot off cleanly, but McFerran gets down low and saves with her body before clearing with her stick. That could be a huge moment in this final quarter!

Q4 09.00 - It’s India who are throwing caution to the wind and chasing the breakthrough here. Ireland are looking to keep the same focus in defence and pick them off on the counter. Some nice play in transition but they can’t fashion a shot on Savita’s goal.

Q4 06.00 - Momentary lapse from Elena Tice as she plays the ball back across the face of goal but underhits it. Navneet can’t capitalise — that’s a real let off for Ireland.

Q4 06.00 - India lose their video referral. It was a frivolous claim, Katariya arguing for a push when there was minimal contact. The officials aren’t buying it.

Q4 04.00 – India have had almost 60% possession to Ireland’s 40% in this final quarter so far, which pretty much reflects the balance of play over the last few minutes. The clock slowly ticks towards a shootout.

Q4 03.30 - Green card for India; Udita is shown to the line for the next two minutes. Can Ireland take advantage of their extra player to find a late, late winner?

Q4 01.30 - Ireland on the attack with 90 seconds to play…

Off we go to penalties. Will Ayeisha McFerran be Ireland’s hero here tonight?

Ireland up first, and it’s Nicci Daly to go first… SAVED!

Rani for India… McFerran saves!

O’Flanagan… saved. But they’re calling a foul on Savita, the Indian goalkeeper. It’s gone to video referral.

Monika for India… WIDE! Great stuff from McFerran. Still 0-0 after two penalties each.

Roisin Upton… SCORES! Ireland lead 1-0 as India prepare for their third penalty.

Navjot for India… SAVED BY MCFERRAN!

Ali Meeke… SCORES! Ireland are one goal, or one save, away from the semi-finals!

Reena for India… SCORES. Ireland 2-1 India

Ireland’s celebrations were put on ice for a second as the umpires reviewed Chloe Watkins’ final penalty to make sure that the eight-second limit hadn’t elapsed… she got it in with a half-second to spare!

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About the author:

Niall Kelly


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