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Germany beat India in a thriller to book Olympic spot; India now play Japan in a must win game

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RANCHI, Jan 18: The Indian women’s hockey team scored with a minute left on the clock to hold Germany 2-2 but could not hold their nerve in a sudden death shoot-out despite taking a 3-1 lead to lose 3-4 and fail to make the final of the women’s FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers here on Thursday.
The heart-breaking defeat means India will play Japan in the third-place match on Friday with a victory clinching the ticket to the Paris Olympics. Germany joined the USA in the final, with both teams booking their entry into the Olympics.
Though the Indians fought superbly, they had themselves to blame as they failed to keep their nerve in the tiebreaker. In the shoot-out, Savita saved the first attempt by Linnea Weidemann but India went ahead when Sangita Kumari showed a cool head as she converted her attempt to make it 1-0 for India. Sonja Zimmermann converted the next attempt, Sonika’s attempt was ruled in with seconds remaining.
Savita made the next attempt by Anne Schröder but India could not take advantage as Navneet Kaur was blocked by the American goalkeeper but shot wide off the retake as India led 2-1. Nike Lorenz and Lisa Nolte scored the next two attempts for Germany but Neha missed her shot as the teams ended 3-3 in five attempts.
Sangita Kumari missed her attempt in the sudden death shoot-out and Sonja Zimmermann converted her attempt contested by the Indians as the ball just tickled over the line. Sonika missed the next attempt and Lisa Nolte converted to seal victory for Germany.
Earlier in regulation time, India looked down and out after Charlotte Stapenhorst scored in the 57th minute to give Germany a 2-1 lead after she had earlier cancelled out India’s lead earned through a superb penalty corner conversion by Deepika. With just seconds remaining on the clock, Ishita Chaudhary scored a dream goal off a penalty corner to make it 2-2. But in the end that fightback was not enough to help the hosts win.
USA beat Japan 2-1 earn Paris ticket
The United States of America produced a brave performance to register a come-from-behind 2-1 win over former Asian Games champions Japan to enter the final of the FIH Women’s Olympic Qualifier, thereby securing their berth in the Paris Olympics here on Thursday.
Japan took the lead through Amiru Shimada in the 38th minute before the Americans produced two late goals through Ashley Hoffman (52nd) and Abigail Tamer (55th), both from penalty corners, to come out winners.USA have booked their ticket to the Paris Olympics as the top three teams from this tournament. (IANS)

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