India win the FIH Series Finals Hiroshima after all-Asia clash with Japan

Hiroshima, Japan: In the match for third place, Chile and Russia entertained the spectators with a tightly contested and exciting game. Although Chile went into the lead, it was Russia who showed the resilience to get the game back on equal terms and then take the win in the shoot-out, finishing their FIH Series Finals campaign on a high.

The final turned to a celebration among the home crowds as India showed why they are fast becoming a force to be reckoned with on the international stage. The Eves defeated the Cherry Blossoms

Chile – Russia

Russia came to this event as one of the lower-ranked teams (FIH World Ranking: 25) but at this event they have showed a huge amount of fighting spirit and the ability to win important matches. In the match for third place they faced Chile (WR:16), another team that is moving up the rankings and challenging for medals at international tournaments.

Chile began the match at a high tempo and were rewarded when Manuela Lagos was able to find Consuelo de la Heras with a great pass. De la Heras made no mistake as she fired her team into the lead.

That lead was doubled just before the end of the quarter through Denise Krimerman. The penalty corner specialist fired home an unstoppable shot and the team from South America looked to be heading for a comfortable win.

We have learnt at this tournament never to write Russia off and so it proved again. Just before the end of the second quarter Russia won a penalty corner, which Alina Khalimova converted with a sliding deflected shot.

Much like the first half, Chile began the second 30 minute period at a high tempo and again it was Consuelo de la Heras who scored to put her team 3-1 up. In response, Mariia Bordolimova sent a low shot into the Chile goal to keep Russia in the game at 3-2.

In the final quarter, it was a feeling of “déjà-vu” for Chile as Russia equalised through Dayana Yushkova. The goal must have been a huge blow to Chile as the team slumped to the pitch at the final whistle and had to gather their thoughts and prepare themselves for the shoot-out.

In the shoot-out, Russia held their nerve to win 2-1 and take third place.

Russia assistant coach Moses Lodarmasse: “We didn’t start well because of the game of yesterday against Japan, but I must say that when we were losing 3-1 and came back, the Russian mentality came back and we should have finished it in the game. We were better in the last part but it’s a pity we didn’t score.”

Chile team captain Camila Caram: “During the shoot-out session, I think we were downhearted, but we have played them well, we had studied them before hand and we are happy with how we played.”


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FIH Women’s Series Finals Hiroshima, 2019

Result 3/4 play-off: Chile 3 (3), Russia 3 (1)

Umpires: Chieko Soma (JPN), Rhiannon Murrie (AUS)

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India – Japan

And so at last the final. It was an all-Asian clash between two emerging giants of the game. India had won all their games to this point but Japan are always a side to be reckoned with. The stadium rang out with vocal and enthusiastic support from both the home crowd and the sound of the “Taiko” band (Japanese traditional drums).

Both teams began at a fast pace but it was India who took the lead when team captain Rani converted their first penalty corner. Japan remained calm and replied 10 minutes later. The ball was intercepted in the centre of the pitch and Mori Kanon was on hand to equalise for her side as she dribbled into the circle and wrong-footed the Indian goalkeeper.

In the second quarter, India created a great chance to score but a speculative shot flew wide. Japan were working hard to keep possession but couldn’t find a way past the Indian defence.

The second half was much the same as both evenly matched teams attempted to find a way to score a decisive goal. Both teams created half chances but this was a battle between two disciplined defensive teams. Eventually it was Gurjit Kaur who gave India the lead after she fired a missile of a shot into the Japanese goal.

It got very heated in the final quarter as Japan sought to equalise as quickly as possible. India, for their part, counter-attacked well and won a number of penalty corners – none of which they converted. Eventually, Head Coach Anthony Farry removed the Japan goalkeeper in an effort to create a player advantage. Japan threw everything into scoring the equaliser but India were not budging. As Japan pushed and pushed, gaps appeared in the defence and India were able to capitalise. They won another penalty corner and Gurjit Kaur didn’t miss, putting the game well out of Japan’s reach.

India head coach Sjoerd Marijne: “It was a tough match, we are happy with the 500 points, we came here with a mission for the 500 points, it gave us the opportunity to play home (…) I think we have defended very well and we can play fast combination hockey and we have a really good drag flick.” 
Japan head coach Anthony Farry: “The girls kept going until the end, created some good chances maybe couple of things didn’t fall out well and that’s the beauty of sport I guess. Disappointing but we’ll come back stronger from this performance”

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FIH Women’s Series Finals Hiroshima, 2019

Result: India 3, Japan 1

Umpires: Cookie Tan (SGP), Mary Driscoll (USA)
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Individual awards

Best Junior Player
Mariia BORDOLIMOVA (RUS) nr. 12

Best Goalkeeper
Megumi KAGEYAMA (JPN) nr. 1

Hero Top scorer
Gurjit KAUR (IND) nr 2

Best Player
RANI (IND) nr. 27

To find out more about the competition, follow the FIH Series Finals on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or visit the FIH website.

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