Rosario (Argentina) :The Indian women's hockey team ended a three-match losing streak by upstaging Japan 2-0 in its penultimate pool match of the FIH World Cup at the Jockey Club here.
The team which was convincingly beaten in their first three matches against the Netherlands, Australia and Germany 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.
With this result, India have leapfrogged Japan into fourth place in the Pool 'A' standings.
The star of the Indian team was once again the 15-year-old striker Rani Rampal who scored her fifth goal of the tournament. She finished off a slick attack with Poonam Rani and Saba Anjum to ensure that her name continued to be on the scoresheet of every match that India has played in this World Cup.
Japan had large spells of possession in the first half but were often frustrated by superb work from the Indian mid-fielders Asunta Lakra, Deepika Thakur, Ritu Rani and Kirandeep Kaur who made a number of important blocks just when their opponents threatened to score.
Japan were awarded a sequence of penalty corners on the stroke of half time, giving them the perfect opportunity to draw level. However, good anticipation from India goalkeeper Dipika Murty guaranteed India the advantage at the break.
Japan came out at the start of the second period with all guns blazing, but India soon found their rhythm and began to force their opponents onto the back foot.
A strike from Japan's Kaori Chiba caused problems for the Indian keeper a few minutes later, with the video umpire Claire Adenot being called into action to double check if the ball had found its way into the goal, but India's 2-0 advantage remained intact.
India will now play their last Pool match against New Zealand on Tuesday.
India have three points and are placed above New Zealand and Japan who have one point each.