Indian women’s hockey team created history on Monday as they beat Australia 1-0 to reserve their spot in the semi-final for the first event in the Olympics. Gurjit Kaur’s goal of a penalty corner in the second quarter was sufficient for India to gain the quarterfinal against Australia.
The Indian women’s team has created history by joining the knockout platforms of the Olympics for the first time. However, the odds were entirely against India for coming into the match, as world no.2 Australia, a powerful unbeaten opponent, anticipated them.
But the Indians decided to prove a point, provided a spirited and robust performance to eke out the close win over the Hockeyroos. Drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur converted India’s solitary penalty corner in the 22nd minute to shock the Australians.
India’s most reliable performance in the Olympics evolved way back in the 1980 Moscow Games, where they concluded fourth out of six teams. In that year of the Games, women’s hockey earned its debut in the Olympics, and the sport was executed in a round-robin format, with the top two teams passing for the final.
The Indians began to slow off the blocks but gained confidence as the match proceeded.
Australia had an initial shot at the goal, but India goalkeeper Savita did just sufficient to dismiss Amrosia Malone, whose slap shot from inside the circle went the post. The Indians after that adopted an attacking approach and took the Australian defense off guard several times. India’s speed and determination appeared to have overwhelmed the Australians as they panicked while supporting and were lucky not to have acknowledged a goal in the first quarter.
In the ninth moment, skipper Rani Rampal‘s deflection from a Vandana Katariya shot knocked the back post as Australia survived. However, player Broke Peris’ shot from the circle’s head just went vast past a fully extended Savita a minute later. The Indians built another opportunity in the first quarter. Still, an alert Australian goalkeeper Rachael Lynch got out of her line to dismiss Sharmila Devi from a one-on-one position. In the second quarter, the Australians pushed hard and achieved their first penalty corner in the 20th minute, held brilliantly by India.
Minutes following, India achieved their first penalty corner. Gurjit, who had a frustrating outing so far in the tournament, raised to the occasion and saved the chance with a low flick to surprise the Australians. The Indians were strong and daring while defending as minutes following. Deep Grace Ekka took a vital stick to prevent Emily
Chalker’s strong hit from close range.
After that, the play was mainly inside the Indian circle as Australia pushed hard, but the Indians survived to soak up the pressure with excellent brave defending, not scared to put their hearts on the line. In the closing eight minutes of the match, the demand was harsh on the Indians as Australia secured four more penalty corners but lost to breach the Indian defense’s willpower.
They had concluded fourth in Pool A with two victories and three losses. The Australian women’s team, called Hockeyroos, is placed second in the world, following the Netherlands. However, they exceeded Pool B with an all-win record, seldom getting flustered by any of the teams in their group.
Men’s Team’s History
Earlier on Sunday, the Indian men’s hockey team made it to the medal round of the Olympic Games men’s hockey tournament after a gap of 41 years, beating Great Britain 3-1 in the quarterfinals. Forwards Dilpreet Singh, Gurjant Singh, and Hardik Singh scored for India, while Sam Ward reduced an indirect penalty corner margin. Victory over Belgium will put India in the final for the initial time since the 1980 Moscow Olympics. They defeated Spain to win their eighth and last gold reward in Olympics hockey.