Indian women’s hockey team on Monday scripted history by beating the might Australians 1-0 in the quarter-final match to become the first ever team from the nation to make it to the semi-finals of the Olympics. India held onto their lead through Gurjit Kaur in the second quarter as they showcased immense defensive might to keep the Australian women at bay.
A day after the Indian men’s team entered the Olympic semifinals following a 49-year gap, the world no. 9 women’s side also entered the history books with a phenomenally gritty performance. The Australian women’s hockey team were left completely stunned by India’s attacking approach right from the start of the game. The India Women’s hockey team started on a great note. In the first few minutes, they managed to dominate possessions. Captain Rani Rampal attempted to score a goal in the first quarter but Aussies managed to keep it out. Australia got a penalty corner against India in the first quarter. Fortunately, goalie Savita Punia managed to make a big save and deny Australia their first goal. 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. The Rani Rampal-led side will play Argentina in the semifinal on Wednesday.
India had earlier defeated South Africa 4-3 in a must-win Pool A match to qualify for the knockout stage and then Great Britain beating Ireland 2-0 to help India finish 4th in the group stage. With both China and Japan failing to progress past the pool stages in Group B, India is the only Asian team to have made it to the semifinals of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.