Rosario: India defeated Japan 2-0 to register their first victory at the Women's Hockey World Cup at the Jockey Club here on Sunday.
India led 1-0 at half time with Rani Rampal scoring in the 14th minute. Jasjeet Kaur Handa accounted for India's second goal from a penalty corner in the 43rd minute.
India earlier lost to the Netherlands, Australia and Germany. With three points India are at fourth place in the pool 'A' standings, placed above New Zealand and Japan who have one point each.
Reigning World and Olympic champions the Netherlands became the third team to reach the semi-finals, with a 2-1 victory over European rivals Germany
Australia kept alive their chances of reaching the semi finals after beating New Zealand 4-1.
It was a vastly improved performance by India who had slumped to two big defeats in the earlier matches.
Rani continued her fine run as she gave finishing touches to an attack forged by Poonam Rani and Saba Anjum, scoring her fifth goal of the tournament.
Japan enjoyed large spells of possession in the first half, but were often frustrated by the superb work of the Indian midfielders -- Asunta Lakra, Deepika Thakur, Ritu Rani and Kirandeep Kaur.
Japan were awarded a penalty corner at the stroke of half time. However, Indian goalkeeper Dipika Murty made a fine save.
Japan came out all guns blazing in the second half, but India soon found their rhythm and began to force their opponents onto the back foot.
Jasjeet Kaur converted a penalty corner to hand India a 2-0 lead.
India will now play their last Pool match against New Zealand on Tuesday.