Indian eves swept aside by world champions Netherlands in HWL

Antwerp (Belgium): Indian eves crashed out in the quarterfinals of the Hockey World League Semifinals after they were drubbed 0-7 by world champions The Netherlands at the KHC Dragons Stadium, here yesterday.

Swept away by the early onslaught in the quarterfinal contest, the Indian women's hockey team's defence wilted under the pace set by the Dutch girls, for whom Caia van Maasakker converted three penalty corners and Lidewij Walten scored twice. India, ranked No 13 in the world, were no challenge for World Cup and Olympic title holders The Netherlands, whose goal was threatened only twice through two penalty corners that India forced in the second half.

In the semifinal encounter, The Netherlands will take on Australia, silver medalists at the World Cup last year, who prevailed 2-0 over minnows Italy in the quarterfinals. India will face Italy in the fifth to eight classification spots. The Dutch goal rampage began in the opening minute when Naomi van As dribbled along the goal-line from the right and beat Indian custodian Savita with a deft scoop.

India managed to break into the rival circle in the fourth minute, when Vandana Katariya shot diagonally into the goalkeeper, before the Dutch scored again in the ninth minute from their first penalty corner. Willemijn Bos's drive was deflected in by Walten. The Dutch were denied a goal on their second penalty corner in the last minute of the first quarter before Van Maasakker scored the first of her goals, with a low drag-flick into the right corner of the board in the 16th minute.

Two minutes later, Ginella Zarbo made India pay for a defensive lapse when she received a forward pass in the scoring zone and duly placed it past the Indian goalkeeper. Van Maasakker came back into goal-scoring action in the 26th minute with another low flick from The Netherlands' fourth penalty corner.

The Indian girls gave a slightly better account of their ability when they defended well and also forced two penalty corners in the space of two minutes, but the shots from Deep Ekka failed to trouble Dutch goalkeeper Joyce Sombroek. India lost the services of their striker Rani Rampal, who had to leave the pitch after being hit over the left eye midway in the second half. The Indians packed their defence to keep the rival strikers at bay for a period of 22 minutes before Walten got her second goal in the 48th as she worked her way into the circle from the left and pushed the ball in even after colliding with the goalkeeper.

Van Maasakker came back to score her third goal from the eighth penalty corner for The Netherlands. She rounded off the Dutch scoring with a shot that got deflected past the Indian goalkeeper Savita, who was slow to react. Earlier in the day, world No. 2 Australia rode on penalty corner conversions by Jodie Kenny (21st minute) and Anna Flanagan (40th) to down Italy. In another quarterfinal, New Zealand women pressed the accelerator in the second session to hammer Japan 5-1.

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