Chile were one of the surprise packets at the 2022 World Cup when they prevailed over Ireland and gave the mighty Netherlands a stiff resistance before going down 1-3, but any semblance of that ‘resoluteness’ was sorely missing when they locked horns with Olympic fourth-placed side India at Estadio Betero in Valencia. The Indian hockey eves made the right noises very early in the contest when vastly experienced Vandana Katariya weaved her way from the right and flicked it to Sangita Kumari, who first beat her marker Fernanda Villagran and subsequently Chilean goalkeeper Natalia Salvador to draw first blood.
It was a good day in the pitch for Sangita Kumari – one of the newbies in the team – if she had slotted home the opening goal, she played the ‘goal-creator’ role this time around working her way from the right in the same pattern like the first goal and fed Sonika Tandi who sneaked home to ensure the Blueshirts drove themselves in the box seat at half-time.
The Indian eves literally put the contest beyond Chile when the ‘N’ combo of Neha Goyal and Navneet Kaur conjured the third goal early in the second half. Neha deftly handled a high ball and relayed it to Navneet who banged home. Chile needed to come back into the contest and Fernanda Villagran obliged whipping home a short corner in the closing stages of the third quarter. The final quarter saw Diego Amoroso-coached Chile keep the Indians at bay and would have settled for the final 1-3 scoreline when it appeared at once stage that they could face a heavy defeat.
It may be worth recalling that Indian eves last played Chile at the 2019 FIH Series Final at Hiroshima, where they won 4-2. Gurjit Kaur scored a brace in that game while Navneet Kaur and Rani Rampal scored the other goals.