India beat Australia to enter its maiden women’s hockey semi-finals in the Olympics.
In the process, they stunned three-time champions and the world’s second-ranked team, Australia 1-0 in an intense last-eight tie on Monday.
A day after the Indian men’s team entered the Olympic semi-finals following a 41-year gap, the world no. 9 women’s side also produced a phenomenal performance to make it to the last four.
How the match progressed
The Indians started slowly but grew in confidence as the match progressed.
Australia had the first crack at the goal but India goalkeeper Savita did just enough to deny Amrosia Malone, whose slap shot from inside the circle hit the post.
This jolted the Indians who became aggressive and caught the Australian defence off guard quite a few times.
In the ninth minute, skipper Rani Rampal’s deflection from a Vandana Katariya shot hit the back post as Australia survived.
The Indians created another chance in the first quarter but an alert Australian goalkeeper Rachael Lynch came out of her line to deny Sharmila Devi from a one-on-one situation.
The Australians pressed hard in the second quarter and secured their first penalty corner in the 20th minute which they couldn’t exploit thanks to some expert defending.
Minutes later, India secured their first penalty corner and Gurjit, who had a disappointing outing so far in the tournament, rose to the occasion and converted the chance with a low flick to stun the Australians.
But the Aussies never gave up and piled on the pressure constantly.
In fact, in the final eight minutes of the game, Australia secured four more penalty corners but failed to breach the willpower of the Indian defence.
The Indian women’s hockey team have scripted history as this will be their first ever Olympic semi-final.
This was India’s third appearance in the Olympics after 1980 and 2016.
Both the men’s and women’s hockey teams are in the semi-finals for the first time ever.
India’s best performance in the Olympics came way back in the 1980 Moscow Games where they finished fourth out of six teams.
The hopes of a nation rest on the shoulders of these young women and we hope they come back with a medal.