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India crash out of Hockey World Cup 2023 after losing to NZ in crossover match

India crashed out of the FIH Men's Hockey World Cup after losing 4-5 via penalty shootout to lower-ranked New Zealand following a 3-3 stalemate after the regulation time in a crossover match in Bhubaneshwar on Sunday.

India crash out of Hockey World Cup 2023 after losing to NZ in crossover match snt
First Published Jan 22, 2023, 9:33 PM IST

In front of a fervently applauding home audience of 15,000 spectators on Sunday in Bhubaneshwar, hosts India unexpectedly lost their must-win crossover match to New Zealand in sudden death.

The defeat ended India's 48-year quest for a World Cup medal. India allowed New Zealand to come back from a two-goal deficit in regulation time, resulting in a 3-3 tie despite the loud support of the packed Kalinga Stadium crowd.

After the first five strikes in the penalty shootout, the scores were also tied, and sudden death was used to determine the game.

Captain Harmanpreet Singh had a great opportunity to lead India to victory in sudden death, but he missed the mark and lost. After India fell behind 2-3 in the shootout, the seasoned goalkeeper PR Sreejesh made two stops.

He sustained an injury while saving another person during a sudden death and was replaced in the following three rounds of combat by Krishan Pathak.

Finally, Sam Lane scored and Shamsher Singh failed to give New Zealand the victory. After winning Pool B, New Zealand will now play Belgium, the defending champions, on Tuesday.

India gained up to 11 penalty corners in the normal period and converted two of them, compared to New Zealand's two PCs.

Again, India had plenty of chances to score goals, but the strikers lacked finishing ability.

Mandeep Singh, who started despite suffering a knee injury during practice on Saturday, made a strong run into the New Zealand circle as India attacked immediately. Sukhjeet Singh, however, quickly doubled India's advantage by scoring in the 24th minute after India's fourth penalty corner. 

The New Zealand goalkeeper palmed away Harmanpreet's drag-flick, but it flew high and Sukhjeet was in the right spot at the right moment to volley it in. A minute before halftime, Sam Lane deflected a low left-side cross from Child into the Indian goal to give New Zealand a 1-0 lead.

India led 2-1 at the break. In the third quarter, New Zealand made an effort to tie the score and made several trips into the Indian "D," but the host team increased its lead by two goals thanks to a penalty corner convert in the 41st minute.

In the third quarter, India was awarded three penalty corners, and Varun Kumar neatly sounded the board to score from the third PC and ninth overall.

Three minutes later, Kane Russell converted a penalty corner to bring New Zealand back within one goal. After taking their second penalty corner of the game in the last period, New Zealand mounted a valiant comeback and levelled the score in the 50th minute when Sean Findlay deflected a Hayden Phillips shot.

In the 51st minute, India's goalkeeper Krishan Pathak prevented a catastrophe by deflecting a high attempt from Sam Hiha. After the teams were tied 2-2 in regulation time in the previous crossover game, Spain defeated Malaysia 4-3 in a penalty shootout to go to the quarterfinals. On Tuesday, Spain will compete against Australia, who finished first in Pool A and is a title candidate.

(With inputs from PTI)

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