Contrasting results for men's and women's hockey teams in HWL warm-up matches
The Indian men’s hockey team got the better of the United States of America in a warm-up match ahead of the Hockey World League (HWL) semi-final. The goals in the 4-0 win came from Rupinder Pal Singh, Yuvraj Walmiki and Lalit Upadhyay.
After a goalless first quarter, India’s drag-flicker, Rupinder, opened the scoring for the men in blue in the 20th minute through a penalty corner. After the half-time break, Lalit Upadhyay doubled India’s lead in the 49th minute. Three minutes later, Rupinder, 24, doubled his goal tally through yet another penalty corner.
Rupinder is India’s first-choice penalty corner taker for the tournament despite initially being dropped from the squad for the HWL semis. VR Raghunath, who was the lone drag-flicker in the initial squad, suffered a hamstring injury and had to drop out giving Rupinder a chance. It seems like Rupinder is making the most of it, having already scored against France in another practice match on 12th June.
Just before the hooter sounded, India extended their lead to 4 through Yuvraj, who made the most off a rebound after good work by the American goalkeeper.
This is India’s second win in three warm-up matches having beaten France by a solitary goal. They lost their second warm-up match against Belgium 2-1 with Akashdeep Singh their lone goalscorer. India play Great Britain next in their final warm-up match ahead of the tournament opener against Belgium on 20th June.
On the other hand, the women’s team suffered a second consecutive defeat ahead of their HWL semis campaign. The Ritu Rani-led side lost 2-1 to Italy despite taking the lead through a penalty corner. The captain converted the set piece, but the Europeans surged back. India had earlier lost 2-0 to Japan in their opening warm-up match.