Madrid: Mamta Kharab's sterling performance went in vain as India went down to Germany 3-2 in a Pool A match of the women's field hockey World Cup in Madrid on Friday.
The Indian eves put up a spirited performance against their higher rated rivals to lead 2-1 on the hour. But the Germans exposed the gaping holes in their defence to drill in two goals in the last 10 minutes and walked away winners.
Unlike in their first match when a lethargic start saw them go down 3-2 to Holland, India were on the ball from the outset against Germany. But the defending proved to be their undoing.
With Mamta making early inroads through her swift runs, India took the fancied rivals by surprise.
Germany took the early lead with Anke Kuehn scoring in the 21st minute, but India made light of it and kept up their attack.
It was not long before the equaliser came.
Surinder Kaur, who had scored a brace against the Netherlands on Wednesday, once again showed her opportunism by deflecting in a free hit in the 34th minute.
In the second half, Germany were more organised and controlled the ball possession. They put pressure on the Indian defence, which started crack.
Mamta then came with a brilliant piece of hockey and athleticism to help India take the lead against the run of play in the 60th minute.
She ran from the right edge of the German circle to collect the pass on the vacant right and slammed in with a reverse shot on the run.
But Germany hit back through Mandy Haase in the 62nd minute.
Anjum Saba then broke free for a swift counter attack but her shot from the top of the circle was thwarted by the goalie.
That forward push left the defence exposed and Natascha Keller found enough space to move comfortably and score the winner in the 65th minute.
In other matches, last edition's runner up Holland won 1-0 against England and, in Pool B, Spain defeated China by a similar margin.
India next play England on Sunday.