India suffers shock exit from hockey World Cup, lose to New Zealand in sudden death


Hosts India crashed out of the FIH Men’s World Cup after losing to New Zealand in front of a rousing home crowd of 15,000 on Sunday.

The defeat ended India’s hopes of a World Cup medal after 48 years.

Despite strong support from a packed Kalinga Stadium crowd, India allowed New Zealand to come back from a two-goal deficit in regulation time as the match ended 3–3 in regulation time.

In the penalty shootout, the score was even after the first five sets of strikes, and the match was finally decided via sudden death.

Captain Harmanpreet Singh had a golden chance to seal India’s victory in sudden death but failed to do so as he missed the target.

Veteran goalkeeper PR Sreejesh made two saves in the shootout to save India from 2-3 down. He saved another and injured himself during sudden death and was replaced by Krishna Pathak in the next three rounds.

In the end, Shamsher Singh missed and Sam Lane scored to give New Zealand the win.

New Zealand will now take on defending champions Belgium, who topped Pool B, in the quarter-finals here on Tuesday.

In regulation time, India earned 11 penalty corners and converted two of them, while New Zealand got just two PCs.

Still, it was a case of India having enough scoring opportunities but the forwards lacking finishing skills.

India went on the attack as soon as the match started and Mandeep Singh started despite injuring his knee during training on Saturday and did well in the New Zealand circle.

But India soon doubled the lead through Sukhjit Singh’s fourth penalty corner in the 24th minute.

Harmanpreet’s drag-flick was caught by the New Zealand goalkeeper but went up and Sukhjeet was in the right place at the right time to volley.

New Zealand pulled one back a minute before half-time as Sam Lane deflected a child’s low cross from the left into the Indian goal.

India was leading 2-1 till half time.

New Zealand pressed for an equalizer in the third quarter and got into the Indian ‘D’ on a few occasions but the home side took a two-goal lead in the 41st minute through a penalty corner.

India earned three penalty corners in the third quarter, and scored their third PC and seventh overall, with Varun Kumar getting on the board cleanly.

Three minutes later, New Zealand reduced the deficit to just one goal again when Kane Russell converted a penalty corner.

In the final quarter, New Zealand made a spirited comeback and restored parity in the 50th minute following their second penalty corner of the match, as Shaun Findlay deflected in a Hayden Phillips strike.

Goalkeeper Krishan Pathak saved India from disaster in the 51st minute by hitting a high shot from Sam Hiha.

In the first crossover match of the day, Spain beat Malaysia 4–3 in the penalty shootout to qualify for the quarter-finals after the two sides were tied 2–2 in regulation time.

Spain will take on title contenders and Pool A toppers Australia in the last eight stage on Tuesday.

The text of this story is published from a wire agency feed without any modification. Only the headline has been changed.

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