England achieved their major objective here last night when they beat India 2-1 in a thrilling game to qualify for next year's World Cup in Australia, becoming the first team to do so.
England opened the scoring in the ninth minute after a precise 60-yard pass out of defence by Mandy Nicholson found Purdy Miller racing away down the right. Leisa King met the cross to put England ahead.
Following this early success England survived a careless stage as the skilful, speedy Indian players drove forward for the equaliser. They were relieved to go further ahead in the 24th minute, when Jane Smith scored after good work from Anna Bennett.
In a tense second half India pulled a goal back after 15th minutes, when Jyoti Kullu deflected an edge of circle free hit past Carolyn Reid, who earlier had made a number of brave saves. When Kerry Moore was penalised for not retreating at a free hit a fierce shot from Sumrai Tete was again blocked by Reid and appeared to hit an Indian foot. Although the Russian umpire initially awarded a penalty stroke, after consultation she reversed her decision with England going on to victory.
England: C Reid; M Nicholson, K Walsh, K Moore; D Marston-Smith, R Walker, L Wright, T Cullen; A Bennett, P Miller, L King. Substitutes used: J Bimson, S Blanks & J Smith.
India: C Kshetrimayum; A Kaur, S Bala; A Lugunj, S Gusain, S Tete; S Kaur, M Kaur, S Maimom-Chanu, J Kullu, M Kharb. Substitutes used: N Singh & P Devi.
Umpires: J Barnesby (Aus) and I Sivtsova (Rus).Reuse content