We were mentally prepared for the shoot-out, says Rani after India win historic Junior World Cup bronze

Happy to save my team, says substitute goalkeeper Bigan Soy, who turned India's 'wall' in decisive penalty shootout

Updated: August 04, 2013 21:15 IST
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In a nerve-wracking encounter in the bronze medal-match of the hockey junior women's World Cup in Monchengladbach in Germany on Sunday, Indian girls beat England to script history.

It could not have been a tighter finish. The match was tied 1-1 in full time and in the penalty strokes that ensued, it was a comedy of errors. England's Anna Toman missed her opening stroke and India's Rani gave an early lead. The next six strokes were promptly missed by players from either side.

Australian coach Neil Hagwood later revealed that Indian goalkeeper Bigan Soy, the star of the day for the ladies in blue, did not play at all during the whole tournament but turned out to be a shootout specialist.

"It means a lot to our kids' psychology that they can actually win a medal. They have never been in those games before. We practised shoot-outs, so I thought we would score more than three out of seven. Our goalkeeper Bigan Soy, who never played a minute the whole tournament, did a great job. It was clear, when it comes down to shoot-outs, she will be in the goal."

Soy herself was extremely happy with the bronze medal effort and said that she felt that she played the whole tournament in the penalty shootout itself.

"I did my very best and it's a good feeling to know that I saved my team. I'm very happy. It now feels as if I have played the whole tournament," an elated Soy said after the game.

Another star performer on the day was Rani. Not only did she open the scoring in normal time through a field goal, she also converted two of the three penalties India converted.

"We are so happy and we have to thank our goalkeeper Bigan Soy who did very well in the shoot-out. We were mentally prepared for the shoot-out which was good. This is our first-ever medal in a junior World Cup, now we will celebrate!," Rani said after the match.

It all came down to sudden death as both sides missed aplenty. England's Anna Toman, who scored in regulation time too, and India's Navneet Kaur were pitted against each other. Navneet had the chance to become a hero or go bust. She scored and unfortunately for Toman, England were left disappointed.

"This is my first junior World Cup and my first medal, I'm so happy. It was tough to take a second penalty after I didn't score from the first. I knew that I need to get the goalkeeper to dive and then I can score. This is what I did," Navneet said after the history-making effort.

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