While the majority of country was waking up to a routine Monday morning to get down to their business, the gallant Indian Women’s Hockey team, some thousand miles away in Tokyo was busy scripting history. The Indian team stunned second-ranked Australia 1-0 in the Quarter Final to earn a place in the final-four, their first appearance ever in the Olympic knockouts.
India were off the blocks in spectacular fashion in the first quarter – piling pressure on the Australian defence with waves of incessant attack. Australia dug deep and after gauging the playing style, upped the ante. While both teams hit the post and had a couple of goal scoring chances, the score line remained intact.
However, India piled up the pressure in the second quarter, controlling possession and dictating the flow of the game. The increased pressure quickly bore fruit as, Gurjit Kaur fired the first penalty corner to the back of the net, amidst a swarm of Aussie defenders, breaching the defences of goalie Rachael Lynch. And India was up and running.
A goal that will go in the history books! 🙌
Watch Gurjit Kaur's brilliant drag flick that led #IND to a 1-0 win over #AUS in an epic quarter-final 😍#Tokyo2020 | #UnitedByEmotion | #StrongerTogether | #Hockey | #BestOfTokyo pic.twitter.com/MkXqjprLxo
— #Tokyo2020 for India (@Tokyo2020hi) August 2, 2021
The third and fourth quarter saw Australia chase the game and it looked like they might score any moment. However, India’s wall in Savita Punia put in a staggering shift and deflected anything that came her way. The heroics of Punia were partly the reason India managed to pull off this incredible heist.
Sreejesh & Savita. Absolute legends. https://t.co/NnfNj9B94O
— Gabbbar (@GabbbarSingh) August 2, 2021
The victory becomes even sweeter given the fact that Australia had practically bullied their way through in the competition, scoring 13 goals in the last 5 matches whilst only conceding one. Meanwhile, India had finished on the fourth spot in the group stage and had huffed and puffed their way into the knockouts.
— Gaurav Kalra (@gauravkalra75) August 2, 2021
It was a classic David vs Goliath battle where India was David while the mighty women’s team from the down under, the proverbial Goliath. However, with backs against the wall, the Indian team rose and rose like a champion, playing with tremendous heart.
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Every single Indian across the country, overcome by the euphoria took to Twitter congratulate the Indian team for its stellar performance. Indian Football team captain and legend Sunil Chettri remarked that the Women’s team had put in a performance for the ages.
If you thought Sunday was good then our women have just gone and made Monday exceptional with a performance for the ages!
First semifinal appearance in an Olympic Games and that's how you do it – with a big, solid fight. Had us glued throughout. #TeamIndia #Tokyo2020
— Sunil Chhetri (@chetrisunil11) August 2, 2021
The Voice of Cricket, Harsha Bhogle also applauded the team for its performance and stated that he hadn’t been this tensed in ages.
Incredible from the girls. Haven't been this tense for a long time. What a fabulous display. Hockey is bringing the emotion back. Into the semi-final.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) August 2, 2021
Anand Mahindra too was up in the early hours and watching the Indian women’s team and its spectacular display and requested everyone to give a standing ovation to the team.
Stand up, wherever you are and give these heroes the standing ovation they deserve! Altogether now… 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽 https://t.co/M7YD6g3JtD
— anand mahindra (@anandmahindra) August 2, 2021
— Boria Majumdar (@BoriaMajumdar) August 2, 2021
Head Coach Sjoerd Marijne took to Twitter to share his ecstasy and apologised to his family that he was going to hang back a little as the team had reached one step closer to earning an elusive Olympic medal.
Sorry family , I coming again later 😊❤️ pic.twitter.com/h4uUTqx11F
— Sjoerd Marijne (@SjoerdMarijne) August 2, 2021
India will now face Argentina in the semi-finals on Wednesday after the South Americans cleared the quarter-finals for the first time since 2012 after a 3-0 win over Germany. With both Men’s and Women’s team in the Semi-finals, it surely is the time to get behind them and give our ‘Dil’ to ‘Hockey’ once again.