LONDON, Aug 1: Indian women�s hockey team produced a stellar performance to ease past lower-ranked Italy 3-0 in the cross-over match and progress to the quarterfinals of the World Cup here.
India discovered scoring ways to finally end Italy�s World Cup adventure through a field strike from Lalremsiami (20th minute) and two penalty corner goals from Neha Goyal (45th) and Vandana Katariya (55th) to register the emphatic win.
The difference between world ranked 10th India and 17th ranked Italy was the first touch control and the ability to finish an attacking move successfully.
India won the first penalty corner of the game and although it was charged down by Ivanna Pessina, the subsequent ball in from India proved too clever for the Azzurre to deal with.
Lalremsiami was on hand to lift the ball past Martina Chirico in the Italian goal after the ball was quickly switched across the circle by Vandana.
The lead was nearly extended at the start of the second quarter as Lalremsiami was found in plenty of space but was unable to control the ball well enough to beat the rapidly advancing Italian goalie Chircio.
The second half saw Italy come out hard and play more attacking hockey.
Jasbeer Singh and Lara Oviedo were both instrumental in creating chances, although when they managed to get the ball to the high-playing Valentina Braconi, she was dealt with by the impressive Lilima Minz in Indian defence.
Indians were unfortunate not to extend their lead when a quick counter attack saw the ball skim past Chirico�s goal following Deepika�s shot.
Still India piled on the pressure and good work by Monika down the Indian right-hand side was rewarded by a penalty corner in the final minute of the third quarter, which was converted by Neha Goyal after a goal mouth scramble to double India�s lead.
India had a bright chance to make it three as Navjot Kaur was left with just Chirico to beat but the Italian keeper showed her class as she stood up to the shot. The game was finally put beyond Italy�s reach when Vandana was rewarded with a goal in the 55th minute.
The result means India will now face Ireland in the quarterfinal tomorrow, an encounter that Indian skipper Rani is anticipating with relish. � PTI