History was scripted when the hooter was blown for the fourth and the last time on Monday during Indian women’s hockey team’s quarterfinal match against Australia as for the first time in the history the Indian women’s team secured an Olympic semifinal berth. Gurjit Kaur score from a penalty corner in the second quarter was enough for India to advance at the expense of three-time champions and world no.2 Australia. India put a resilient performance throughout the match and successfully defended nine penalty corners in the match.
“How my heart was? Its still working. I was like…ggahhh but that’s in every match in the last three games," women’s team coach Sjoerd Marijne said after the match.
“Oh man, what we’ve tried to do and what we have done is work match by match. What can we improve in the next one and the next one", he added.
6️⃣0️⃣ minute, ye 6️⃣0️⃣ minute hum hamesha yaad rakhenge. 🇮🇳The Indian Women’s Hockey team are through to the semis. 💙#AUSvIND #HaiTayyar #IndiaKaGame #Tokyo2020 #TeamIndia #TokyoTogether #StrongerTogether #HockeyInvites #WeAreTeamIndia #Hockey pic.twitter.com/qjh4ebNUbC
— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) August 2, 2021
The Dutchman, however, pointed out that his team was not particualr good at defending in the match.
“The defending was not good enough especially defending in the circle. So we focussed on that. It also helps keep your mind away from winning and losing.
“It’s all about the mindset. I told the girls that we have nothing to lose, so play free, and that’s what we did today. It’s like a dream come true. I think this is the Chak De India in reality," he said.
Coming into the match, the odds were totally against India as in world no.2 Australia, a mighty unbeaten opponent, awaited them.
But the Indians, determined to prove a point, produced a strong and brave performance to eke out the narrow win over the Hockeyroos. Drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur rose to the occasion when it mattered and converted India’s lone penalty corner in the 22nd minute to surprise the Australians.
India’s best performance in the Olympics came way back in the 1980 Moscow Games where they finished fourth out of six teams. In that edition of the Games, women’s hockey made its debut in the Olympics and the sport was played in a round-robin format with top two teams qualifying for the final.
Next up for Rani Rampal and her team is Argentina, who beat Germany 3-0 in the other quarterfinal match.