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Team India Dominates Nations Cup

RICHMOND – India dominated the 36th edition of the Nations Cup like it never has before, reaching the final for the third consecutive year and edging Germany 1-0 on a golden goal in the high-profile Open Division.

There was plenty more to celebrate for its always-large throng of supporters, including India’s first-ever women’s championship, a 3-2 extra time win over Canada. Two more triumphs on the men’s side saw India slip past China in penalty kicks for the Over 45 title and the Over 52 side prevail against Scotland, reported Richmond News.

All the success comes as no surprise to Nations Cup president Jeff Wilson who has seen the South Asian community embrace the event.

“They are always very well prepared and well organized,” said Wilson. “They have a Nations Cup committee that assigns coaches for each of its teams at the start of the year. They identify their top players early and even do team bonding trips before the tournament.

“They have definitely set the bar at a level where other (countries) have to take notice.”

The women’s team cruised into Sunday’s final with three straight wins that saw India outscore its opponents 15-0 in the process. Canada also had perfect record and had not surrendered a goal all weekend.

India solved the stingy Canadian squad twice in regulation time, and then struck for the golden goal. UBC standout Jasmine Dhanda, who led the Thunderbirds in scoring last season, was named the tournament’s most outstanding player.

“I recall their first entry into a women’s draw was a very young and inexperienced side,” said Wilson. “They were in tough against older teams like Canada and Ireland. Now, they have matured and obviously proven they will be a force to be reckoned with.”

India’s run to the championship game in the Open Division included impressive wins over China (4-0), Portugal (4-0) and Iran (2-0) to capture its group and advance to the semi-finals.

India the slipped past Canada 2-1 to face a German team that had surrendered just one goal in four games, including a 1-0 semi-final win over defending champion Ireland.

Relying on its trademark transition game that showcases its outstanding overall team speed, India had the best chances in the early going, glazing one shot off the post and missing a penalty.

The Germans weathered the early storm and more than came back in the play, owning the majority of the possession in the second half and creating a number of dangerous balls into the penalty area.

They seemed to have the momentum heading into overtime but were quickly reminded what quickness can create.

It was a counterattack that led to an India shot and Gagan Dosanjh converting the rebound. UVic standout and perennial Canada West All-Star Cam Hundal was named the tournament’s most outstanding player.

A late second half goal gave England a 2-1 win over Scotland and the Over 30s title. Africa claimed the over 38s crown by outlasting Romania 4-3.

Courtesy Richmond News

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