India beats Japan 3-1 to win FIH Series Finals - As it happened

India beat Japan 3-1 in the final to win the FIH Series Finals in Hiroshima. Here's how they did it.

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 final between India and Japan at FIH Women's Series Finals in Hiroshima.

I'm Amal and I'll be taking you through today's coverage.

 

Q4

That's the buzzer and India wins the FIH Series Finals in Hiroshima. After securing an Olympic Qualifier berth, this win has got to give India enough points to climb up the rankings.

60' AND INDIA SCORES! A 3-1 lead with less than a minute to go. That's surely it for Japan.

 

India has won a penalty corner in the last minute. Remember, Japan hasn't got a goalkeeper and if this goes on, it's almost surely India's win.

57' Japan has taken off its goalkeeper for an extra outfield player. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

56' Japan wins another penalty corner. From not winning a single one in three quarters, they've won two quick ones in the final quarter. MISS! Japan can't make the most of this one either. India still has the lead with less than four minutes to go.

55' India somehow manages to squeeze the ball out of the circle. But it's a penalty corner to Japan. They try something different from the PC but it doesn't come off. How crucial will this miss be?

53' Another penalty corner for India. Gurjit makes the shot but it hits an onrushing Japanese player. She seems hurt, and badly. The stewards run in with the stretcher and she's taken off the field.

50' Despite the 2-1 lead, we're still yet to see the breathtaking pace and slick movement from India we'd been seeing this tournament. But it has to be said, Fiji and Japan are completely different ball games. It was always going to be tough.

47' Navneet has a chance to make it 3-1 but it's straight at the 'keeper.

Q3

End of Q3 and India will be delighted to come into the final quarter with the lead. But it's still a narrow one and Japan can be dangerous when trailing. India should expect a lot of pressure now.

45' GOAL! GURJIT KAUR finds the breakthrough for India from a beautiful drag flick into the top corner.

Standing ovation, deserved.

 

The PC conversion rate hasn't been good so far (Seven PCs, two goals), but India scores with this one.

India gets a penalty corner in the final minute of Q3. They've got to make the most of this.

43' Savita shows brilliant reflexes to keep out a fierce strike from close range. The scores are still level.

40' Still no breakthrough for either team. Japan gets a first chance of the quarter. Its forward tries a tomahawk from the centre but it's wide. The defences have been on top and it's frustrating for both the players and the people watching. Unless you're rooting for a shooutout.

36' India gets another penalty corner. The Japanese players contest the decision, but it goes India's way anyway. Japan managed to defend that but India wins another penalty corner.

That's wasted as well. They could be ruing these chances at the end of the game. It was another case of poor execution.

Coach Sjoerd Marijne had spoken about the need to imporve conversion rate.

35' Good save from the Japanese goalkeeper. Gurjit's shot is straight at the keeper.

35' India has won a penalty corner. Only the third one of the match, and they've all been India's. India scored from the first one. The second one was poorly executed.

32' A positive start from the Indian women in the third quarter. They've kept the ball and played it up the field through slick passing. There's a shot at the end of the move, but it's saved. It's been all India so far.

Q2

End of the second quarter. No goals in this one. The defences have been on top. Japan has looked slightly better than India.

29' India is eventually able to take the game to the opponent half but it isn't successful in making anything out of it.

27' Japan has the upper hand now, pinning India in its half of the field. The Indian women are finding it hard to break free.

24' This tournament has been full of fast-paced matches, where I or whoever's blogging would have to put up goal updates almost every two miinutes. So this dry (boring) spell in this match is working well in my favour. I'm much more relaxed than I expected to be.

21' The game's seeing a bit of a lull, with neither team managing to create any significant chances. Most moves are stopped in its track before it reaches the circle. It's a game of defences now, if you will.

18' Ohhh that was close! Monika with the shot from the edge of the circle, that's just wide of the far post. Strong start from India.

Q1

End of Q1 and this game already has my attention. India seemed to be in total control with an early goal, but after missing a chance to go 2-0 up, Japan hit back with a goal and it's evenly poised.

14' Some brilliant attacking play from India, getting through the Japanese defence with precise passes. The final pass is a let down.

13' India tried to get back in front immediately after the restart but the move is thwarted and possession is with Japan.

11' IT'S GONE IN! Kanon Mori equalises for Japan. Savita seemed to have saved it, but it bounces off her and rolls back into the goal. India 1-1 Japan.

9' India wins a second penalty corner. It's a chance to extend the lead and put more pressure on Japan. It's poorly taken and Japan is quickly on the counter! Nothing comes off it, though.

6' Japan is trying to find its way back into the game, after going down a goal so early. However the Indian girls are strong and alert at the back, stopping the Japanese in their tracks.

3' GOAL! India scores from its first penalty corner. It's the captain, Rani Rampal.

India 1-0 Japan.

1' And here we go! India, having already booked a place in the Olympic Qualifiers, looks to improve its rankings with a win here. A higher rank means India would ensure a weaker opponent for the Olympic qualifiers to be held later this year.

Japan, being the host as well as the winner of the 2018 Asian Games, is already assured of a place in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Here's India's starting line-up:

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

No Monika today. Neha Goyal comes in for her. The rest of the squad is unchanged from the semifinal against Chile.

We're only minutes away. The teams are lining up for the national anthems.

India registered a 4-2 victory after a tough battle with Chile in the semifinal on Saturday. Japan emerged victor after taking Russia to a shoot-out in the semifinal. Locked 1-1 after regulation time, Japan pipped Russia 3-1 in the shootout to set up the summit clash with India.

India secured its berth in the final Olympic qualifiers with a win over Chile in the semifinal. Currently ranked No. 9 in the world, the aim of the Indian team would now be to improve its rankings before the September cut-off to ensure a weaker opponent for the Olympic qualifiers to be held later this year.

A top-7 place in the World Rankings would give the team hosting rights for the two-leg qualifiers likely to held in October or early November.

Indian men won the FIH Series Finals in Bhubaneswar recently. Will the women emulate their success in Hiroshima today?

Infographic: Men's Hockey - India at the Olympics

Road to Final

INDIAJAPAN
bt Uruguay 4-1bt Russia 2-1
bt South Africa 5-1bt Chile 3-1
bt Poland 5-0bt Mexico 6-0
bt Fiji 11-0bt  Poland 5-0
SF: bt Chile 4-2SF: bt Russia 1-1 ( 3-1 s-o)