The Indian women’s hockey team were eliminated from the Rio Olympics after producing another listless performance as they suffered a 5-0 defeat to second-ranked Argentina in their final Group B match here on Saturday. Despite holding their Argentine counterparts to 0-0 at the end of the first quarter, the Indian eves failed to fend off their opposition further at the Olympic Hockey Centre.
The opener finally came in the 16th minute via Argentina`s Martina Cavallero. India had a chance almost immediately, Lilima Minz from their first PC drawing a save from Belen Succi in Argentina`s goal.From there on the Argentines took the game by the scruff of the neck, with a flurry of goals, from Granatto (23), Rebecchi (26), Agustina Albertarrio (27) before Cavallero scored her second (29). They went into half time leading 5-0.India had a succession of PCs at the end of the quarter, and Rani`s attempt off the second was blocked away by Argentina.
India, despite being down were playing adventurous hockey, and a minute later, Poonam Rani brought out a save from Argentina`s substitute goalkeeper Maria Mutio.A minute later it was Namita Toppo with an attempt, and then Anuradha Thokchom with a diving deflection, Mutio pulling off a double save. There were initial doubts about the save though, India referring to see if it had crossed the line. A lack of a good view for the video umpire would mean the on field umpire's decision would stay. India would keep their referral though. Despite the scoreline, India would go into the final break knowing they had grabbed a bit of momentum in the final minutes of the quarter.That momentum carried through to the final quarter, India dominant in the opening exchanges.
Soon enough Mutio was the busier goalkeeper, pulling off saves from Deepika and Vandana Katariya. India had a PC soon after, but Rani`s PC was blocked by the Argentine chargers. Against the run of play, Argentina pressed forward, and almost had their sixth, denied by some superb last ditch defending by Deep Grace Ekka.India pressed on in the closing stages, by now looking for a consolation. Argentina held out though to end up as 5-0 winners.Speaking after the game, chief coach Neil Hawgood said, "We played very strong and good hockey for the majority of the match and fashioned chances too. But a brief spell where we seemed to switch off cost us heavily in the second quarter. It's a great experience for the team, the entire Olympics and shows how far we have come and also have to go. The experience will inspire more presence at big tournaments and good performances out of them."