India women’s hockey team fails to qualify for Paris 2024 Olympics after loss to Japan

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RANCHI: The Indian women’s hockey team’s dream to play in the Paris 2024 Olympics was shattered on Friday as they suffered a heartbreaking 0-1 defeat to Japan in a bronze medal match in the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers Ranchi 2024 on Friday.

After giving everything for a spot in Paris, it was Japan who went into the Olympics 2024 as the third-placed team in the qualifier. After losing a battle against Japan, the Indian women’s hockey team failed to qualify for the Olympics for the first time since 2016.

The eight-nation competition’s top three hockey teams earn a seat in the Summer Games, which take place in France later this year. By reaching the final, Germany and the United States already secured their positions.

Kana Urata (6′) scored the winning goal for Japan in the tense battle against the hosts. In the first exchanges, Japan was the one asking the trickier questions. With one minute remaining, Savita Punia made a vital save, and then Salima Tete bravely blocked the first penalty corner of the game to deny the visitors.

However, once Japan won the second penalty corner in the fifth minute, the Indian defense began to crumble. This time, Kana Urata gave her team the lead by hammering one through Savita.

Startled by the goal, India attempted to attack more aggressively and created two good opportunities, but neither Deepika nor Lalremsiami could find the back of the net. Japan, meanwhile, had two excellent chances to increase their lead, but Savita and the defense were able to make last-minute blocks to keep them out.

India started the second quarter with vigor, but Shihori Oikawa’s solid Japanese defense made it difficult for the Indian forwards. Japan led 1-0 at the interval despite the hosts winning two penalty corners during that time, both of which were blocked.

After the resumption, hosts applied more pressure against Japan and, halfway through the third quarter, nearly equalized with a penalty corner. Deepika’s powerful shot appeared to be in the goal, but Japan goalie Eika Nakamura deflected it onto the crossbar.

Ishika Chaudhary produced an incredible save off the line almost quickly to prevent Japan from scoring from another penalty corner at the other end. In the closing minutes of the quarter, the hosts won a flurry of penalty corners, but Japan’s outstanding defense allowed them to hang onto their narrow lead.

In the last quarter, the Indian women’s hockey team rampaged Japan, knowing that their hopes of qualifying for Paris 2024 were on the line. Nonetheless, Japan mounted a massive defense to cling onto their advantage and their Olympic spot. (ANI)

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