Indian women’s hockey team beat Spain 1-0 to win the inaugural FIH Nations Cup in Valencia on Saturday. The result also means that Janneke Schopman-coached side has been promoted to the FIH Pro League 2023-24. Hockey India has announced cash prize of Rs 2 lakh for every member of the squad and Rs 1 lakh each for all the support staff.
The Indian team, which won the bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham earlier this year, took an early in the summit clash against the Spanish team when Gurjit Kaur found the bottom-right corner with her powerful drag flick following a penalty corner in the fifth minute.
That winning feeling for @thehockeyindia 😍🇮🇳— International Hockey Federation (@FIH_Hockey) December 17, 2022
Inside India’s bench for those final seconds and then the on-pitch celebrations 🙌 #Pitchside
Watch all the highlights on the @watchdothockey app 📲 pic.twitter.com/VQjWWTviTZ
The host nation tried hard and seemed to have broken the Indian defense, led by captain and goalkeeper Savita Punia, to find the equaliser in the 41st minute. However, the goal was disallowed. The Indian team was briefly reduced to 10 players as Udita, goalscorer in the semifinal against Ireland, was issued a green card (two-minute suspension) for a foul in the 45th minute but the Spanish team could not make use of the advantage.
In the last meeting between the two finalists, Spain had beaten the women in blue by the same scoreline at the FIH Women’s World Cup in July earlier this year. India ended the tournament with a perfect record of five wins in five matches. Indian team beat Chile (3-1), Japan (2-1), and South Africa (2-0) in the group stage before a thrilling 2-1 win over Ireland in the penalty shootout in the semifinal.
India and Spain had played in the FIH women’s Hockey Pro League 2021-22 season as replacement teams after pull-outs by Australia and New Zealand sue to COVID-19 related issues. India had finished a creditable third in the 2021-22 FIH Pro League. The country did not qualified for the ongoing 2022-23 Pro League season.