- On Monday, the Indian women’s hockey team defeated three-time champions Australia 1-0 in the Tokyo Olympics quarterfinals (August 2).
- Reaching the semifinals is a historic milestone for India, which qualified for the Olympics for the first time in 36 years in Rio 2016.
India defeated Australia 1-0 in the women’s hockey semi-finals at the Tokyo Olympics. This will be the first time the Indian women’s hockey team has reached to the last four of an Olympic Games. The Indian women’s team came fourth in the 1980 Moscow Olympics, however the format was different because there were no knockout rounds.
In the semi-finals, India will meet Argentina, which defeated Germany 3-0 in the first quarterfinal on Monday. For the first time in the Olympics, India will be guaranteed a medal match after they reach the semifinals. A spot in the semifinals also means that India has guaranteed a medal match for the first-time at the Olympics.
India, who finished fourth in Pool A and qualified for the knockout stages, got off to a strong start against Pool B leaders Australia and kept the pressure on them throughout the game.
India was clearly the better team in the first quarter, with 59 percent ball control, but the big moment came in the second quarter, when dragflicker Gurjit Kaur converted India’s first penalty corner to put her team up in the 22nd minute.
A goal that will go in the history books! 🙌— #Tokyo2020 for India (@Tokyo2020hi) August 2, 2021
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
India only had five shots on goal compared to 14 for the World No. 2 team, but their defence and midfield were outstanding. Despite conceding seven penalty corners during the game, they did not allow Australia to score.
Savita, the Indian goalkeeper, brought her A-game to the field and saved all nine shots aimed at her.
The first shot at goal came from Australia, but India goalkeeper Savita did just enough to save Amrosia Malone’s slap shot from within the circle, which struck the post.
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🇮🇳 HISTORY HAS BEEN MADE!!! 🙌#IND beat and knock out world no. 2 #AUS in the quarter-final match of women’s #hockey by 1-0 to seal their spot in SEMI-FINAL for the first time ever! 😍👏#Tokyo2020 | #StrongerTogether | #UnitedByEmotion pic.twitter.com/HgBcsHg5Ob— #Tokyo2020 for India (@Tokyo2020hi) August 2, 2021
Following that, the Indian team took a more aggressive approach, catching the Australian defence off guard several times. The Australians appeared stunned by India’s pace and determination, as they panicked while defending and were fortunate not to concede a goal in the first quarter.
Australia survived after a deflection from Vandana Katariya’s strike hit the back post in the ninth minute.
Broke Peris’ attempt from the top of the circle narrowly sailed wide past a fully stretched Savita a minute later.
In the first quarter, the Indians had another chance, but Rachael Lynch, an alert Australian goalkeeper, came out of her line to save Sharmila Devi from a one-on-one scenario.
In the second quarter, the Australians pressed hard and won their first penalty corner in the 20th minute, which India effectively defended.
Deep Grace Ekka got a crucial stick to keep off Emily Chalker’s hard hit from close range minutes later, showcasing India’s brave and courageous defence.
After the change of ends, the Australians attacked with numbers, and Mariah Williams came near to restoring parity, but Savita got in the way.
Soon after, Australia won three consecutive penalty corners, but the Indian defence, led by Savita and Deep Grace Ekka, remained steadfast in front of the goal.
Following that, Australia pressed hard within the Indian circle, but the India was able to hold off the attack with some brave defending, not afraid to put their bodies on the line.
The pressure was relentless on India in the closing eight minutes of the game, with Australia securing four more penalty corners but unable to break through the Indian defence’s willpower.