Olympic hockey qualifiers: Indian women silence the United States to knock on the door of the Olympic Games

BHUBANESWAR: Coach Sjoerd Marijne was on the field before the Indian players arrived for warm-up. Confidence in his stride was evident when he recited the lawn for all the warming paraphernalia in place. An hour later, and after at least a kilometer of walking in the Indian refuge, he was breathing much more easily. It was a marker of the hand in the mouth looking the United States in the face at the end of the 60 minutes. India had won 5-1, only its fifth victory over the USA. UU., And one that has almost shattered the American dreams of Tokyo.

India would have won with any score, but a 5-1 victory in the first game of a two-match Olympic qualifier is like arriving at the Tokyo registration desk.

The hosts played two games in 60 minutes. The first in the first 15 minutes and the next in the last 45, when the crowd enters Kalinga Stadium the stands increased to almost 10,000. The best part was that India's confidence grew with it.

Joining the crowd was the men's team from India, which had arrived for the match against Russia, which was to follow. With each goal, the smiles on their faces widened.

After a first quarter or so, with the passes of the Indian strikers on the 25-yard line of the United States leaving much to be desired, Lilima Minz put the hosts ahead in the 29th minute.

India led 1-0 at the break.

The goal festival started at 40 minutes in the third quarter, starting with Sharmila Devi and followed by Gurjit Kaur (42), Navneet Kaur (46) and Gurjit again (51) to put the 5-0.

The consolation goal of the USA UU. He arrived at 53 minutes when Erin Matson He scored a short corner, when the writing was on the wall.

With a great demand to erase a four-goal advantage, the United States is now facing away from the wall before the second and final game on Saturday.