The Indian men’s hockey team stormed into the semifinals of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics with a pulsating 3-1 win over Great Britain in their quarter-final match at the Oi Hockey Stadium in Tokyo on Sunday.
India will be playing in an Olympic hockey semi-final after 41 long years. Dilpreet Singh (7th minute), Gurjant Singh (16th minute) and Hardik Singh (57th minute) scored the goals for the Indian hockey team.
Great Britain reduced the deficit by one at the stroke of half-time, at the end of the second quarter, but Hardik Singh carved the result in stone minutes before the final hooter.
An elated Hardik Singh, speaking to Stick2Hockey journalist in Tokyo after the match, was undoubtedly elated. He said:
"It is my dream goal."
Playing Great Britain in Europe helped India gain a better understanding of how their opponents had been playing in recent times. It allowed India to build a strategy around it. They stuck to their game plan and emerged victorious.
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Indian hockey team captain Manpreet Singh was elated but said the team wouldn't be carried away with this feat as they still have unfinished business. He said:
"We are so happy because after a long time we are reaching a semi-final. The business hasn't finished yet. We still have two more games so we need to focus. We need to have our feet on the ground and we need to focus on the next match."
Indian hockey team coach confident of their strategy
Earlier, going into the match, Graham Reid was confident the Indian men’s hockey team would pull off a big win. He had said:
“To be honest, facing any of the four European teams who have come directly from the Euro Championships was always going to be a difficult Quarter Final game, but I think it really matters on which one you get. But probably Great Britain are the ones we are comfortable with and very confident with. I think if we play the way we know that we can, then definitely victory is possible."
The Indian coach, in an interview earlier, said he would love to see the team make some noise at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics 2021. He had said:
“I think world hockey would love to see India back on the top. When it was in its prime, it was the national game of the country. And so, of course, it would be lovely to see that happen again.”
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The Indian hockey team is definitely making some noise! Bring on the semifinals.