New Delhi: The Indian women's hockey team kept its dream of playing the 2014 World Cup alive by virtue of finishing on top of the table when they beat Russia 1-0 to end the women's competition of the FIH Hockey World League Round 2 here at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Sunday. Round 3, which will be played in June-July this year, doubles up as semi-finals for the World League and qualifier for the 2014 World Cup.
Going into the last day of the event, India, Japan, Malaysia and Russia were all in with a chance to finish in the top two, but Malaysia, who needed a win, went down to Japan 4-0, which also nullified the slim chance of progressing Russia had.
India (ranked 12th) and Japan (ranked 9th) finished Round 2 with 13 points each, but India edged Japan to the top spot on account of registering four outright wins compared to Japan's three.
The two available spots from Round 2 went to India and Japan by virtue of finishing No. 1 and 2 respectively in the six-team round-robin format.
The Ritu Rani-led Indian women hammered 24 goals in the tournament and allowed the opponents to score only twice. However, Japan had the best goal difference of +29 as opposed to India's +21.
India's Road to Round 3:
Beat Kazakhstan 8-0
Beat Malaysia 3-0
Beat Fiji 10-0
Lost to Japan 3-2 (Penalties)
Beat Russia 1-0