FIH Women Series Finals: India beats Fiji 11-0 - As it happened

After impressive victories against Uruguay and Poland in its opening two matches, India will face Fiji in its last Pool A encounter. Catch the live updates from the match here.

The India women's hockey team during a practice session ahead of the FIH Women's Series finals.   -  PTI

Hello and welcome to Sportstar's live coverage of the India versus Fiji at FIH Women's Series Finals in Hiroshima. I am Amal and I will take you through the proceedings today.

 

Q4

FULL TIME and India beats Fiji 11-0. The semfinals are up next for top-ranked side, India, which finishes top of Pool A with 9 nine points and a goal difference of +19. 

The winner of the crossover match between Uruguay and the team that finishes second in pool B will face India in the semifinal.

The Pool B matches between Chile and Russia, and Japan and Mexico are later today.  Chile leads the Pool with 6 points, while Russia and Japan are on 3 points each. Russia is second because of its superior goal difference. 

57' GOAL! India leads 11-0 as Navneet joins the party with a powerful strike into the net.

51' GOAL! What a shot, Lilima Minz! It's a reverse hit (what's also known as a tomahawk) from the edge of the circle and it darts into the far corner. That, I think, is the best goal I've seen in this match, and there have been 10.

India has missed quite a few chances this quarter, and the last. Coach Marijne had emphasised that India's Conversion rate needs to improve.

48' Fiji has improved considerably as the match has progressed, especially in defence. That's the second penalty corner it has thwarted this quarter and it even manages a good counter off it. The passing in the final third lets it down.

Q3

After scoring 8 goals Q1 and Q2, India's looked more reserved in the third. The Indian women have managed just the one goal and Fiji seems to have found some rhythm in its play, albeit rare.

45' India gets a chance to take the score to double digits from a PC but it's a missed chance.

44' Fiji has been finding its rhythm and seeing more of the ball recently. The Indian women are still in total control.

38' Fiji's defence has looked stronger this quarter and it has been successful to keeping India's scoring down to just one goal so far this quarter. The Indian women, too, seem to be trying to new things rather than being more direct.

33' GOAL! India tries out a different strategy from the PC this time and it comes off. A goal for Monika. Now is the time to experiement, may be the advice from coach Sjoerd Marijne. A 9-0 lead now.

It's been a reserved start to the third quarter from India but it has won another penalty corner.

Q2

It's been a similar story in the second quarter as well. India has scored four and missed quite a few chances as well, the most significant being skipper Rani Rampal's penalty stroke miss. With an 8-0 lead after two quarters, the Indian women are cruising.

30' The final five minutes of the second quarter has seen a lull in the goalcoring. That's the longest period we've gone without a goal and most of it is down to Fiji enjoying their best spell in the game. They've kept possession and won tackles but there's just not been enough skill to make those forward plays and create goalscoring chances.

25' Woah! We seem to have even some football going down there. I say that because I've just seen a sliding tackle from a Fiji player, in the area. She must have slipped, but it's a penalty stroke. And Rani Rampal misses it!

 

Whoever's taking care of the Hockey India handle has got a strong GIF game.

22' GOAL! Ahh, this time Fiji's unfortunate. It's a PC and Gurjit Kaur tries to flick it into the top corner. The goalkeeper gets a touch on it, but the power behind the shot takes it in anyway. 8-0 to India.  A fourth for Gurjit.

21' GOAL! It's a fourth goal from a...seventh penalty corner? I've lost count. Anyway, it's a hat-trick for Gurjit Kaur and 7-0 to India.

20' Fiji sees the other end of the court since a breif foray into India's half in the last quarter. Nothing comes out of it, though.

18' We have another GOAL! India leads 6-0 with an early goal in the second quarter. The drag flick expert, Gurjit Kaur, scores her second.

Fiji was never going to be much of a challenge for India. What's to be seen is how ruthless they'll be. Are the Indian women looking to break their previous record of 24-0 against Nepal in 2016?

Q1

And that's the end of the first quarter. No surprises here. India has been dominant in its last pool A fixture. A 5-0 lead after the first quarter.

15' 5! A second goal from a penalty corner, as Gurjit Kaur converts with ease with 30 seconds left in the first quarter. Fancy another one before the clock runs down, India?

12' Ditto, GOAL! If it keeps going like this, I might just copy-paste 'GOAL!' in every update I make.  Vandana this time.

11' GOAL! Someone has opened the taps finally, and goals are flowing. India leads 3-0 as Monika dribbles through a crowded D and flicks it past the goalkeeper.

10' There it is. GOAL! Fourth time's the charm as captain Rani Rampal scores from the fourth penalty corner. It's executed perfectly this time.

9' It's a third penalty corner for India and yet another missed opportunity. The shot is straight at the keeper and blocked.

6' India wins its second penalty corner. It's a poor one and a waste of good opportunity. It's still as you expect, quite one-sided, with India hogging most of the possession and play.

5' Penalty corner to India. It's not 2-0 yet, it's blocked by the keeper, but expect to see quite a few goals today.

4' GOAL! India takes the early lead and it came off a Fiji player. Lalremsiami hoodwinks the Fiji defense and the ball takes a touch off a Fiji player and is into the goal through the goalkeeper.

1' And we're under way in the first quarter. And India has already created a couple of chances up front. Fiji's 'keeper is alert to the danger.

We are just 10 minutes away from the start and before that here's India's starting XI.

India's Starting XI

Rani (C), Gurjit, Deep Grace, Nikki, Savita (GK), Lalremsiami, Navneet, Sunita, Sushila, Lilima, Neha

The Preview

The Indian women’s hockey team, which started its campaign at the FIH Women’s Series Finals with two impressive victories against Uruguay and Poland in its opening two matches of the tournament, will now be playing Fiji in its last Pool A encounter on Tuesday.

India, ranked ninth in the FIH rankings, is also the top-ranked team taking part in the tournament, and will look to secure a semifinal berth with a victory against Fiji at the Hiroshima Hockey Stadium.

Conversion rate needs to improve, says Marijne

Chief coach Sjoerd Marijne is satisfied with his team’s performances in the first two matches against Uruguay and Poland respectively, but believes that there is still room for improvement.

 

“There is no doubt that the team has played well in the first couple of matches, but we want to be performing at the highest level possible, and I believe that there is still room for improvement. Our conversion rate can definitely be higher and if that happens, it will be easier for us to win the matches,” said Marijne.

FIH Series Finals: Gurjit brace helps India to 5-0 win over Poland

“What has impressed me in the first two matches has been the fact that we have created good field opportunities, and have also been able to earn more penalty corners. The team is enjoying themselves on the pitch, and that is good to see as a coach that your players are enjoying each other’s company,” he added.

FIH Women's Series Finals: As it happened - Poland vs India

The 45-year-old Dutchman also feels that his team is now combining well.

“The most important aspect for me is to see how the players enjoy playing together, and how they combine on and off the field. When you keep trying to combine on the field, it results in everybody getting an opportunity to play and perform as well,” he said.