India vs Australia: How Indian women masterclassed a victory against Australia in Olympics 2021 hockey quarterfinal

Magnificient show by the Indians in Tokyo (Image Courtesy: Hockey India)
Magnificient show by the Indians in Tokyo (Image Courtesy: Hockey India)

The Indian women's hockey team have won themselves a place in the Olympic semifinals for the first time ever with a 1-0 win over world No. 2 Australia.

Three-time Olympic gold medalists Australia came into this match with an unbeaten record in the group stages. The Indians, on the other hand, managed two wins from their last two games after suffering three successive defeats.

Yet it was India who began in the right earnest against their higher-ranked counterparts and forced the Hockeyroos into defensive positions.

After the Aussies hit the post early on, the Indians kept their feet on the pedal and maintained their shape down the middle of the pitch. They didn't allow any room whatsoever for the likes of Grace Stewart and Emily Chalker to scamper ahead.

Check Out: Tokyo Olympics 2021 Schedule

It was a stupendous show, not so much because of a spectacular display but because the Indian team showed the composure and maturity of a world-class side. The grit was there for all to see.

Sharmila Devi bravely took on goalkeeper Rachel Lynch who did not hesitate to inflict a body blow on the oncoming striker. Despite taking a bad hit, the 19-year-old striker was up in a trice and returned to play a while later. Another newbie in the side, Salima Tete, shot wide after a fantastic run that enlivened her teammates on the pitch.

The Indians kept their heads in the final quarter, withstanding some unrelenting pressure from the Aussies in the Tokyo heat. A couple of questionable short corners in the final quarter may well have spoiled the party for the Indians but Savita stood tall under the bar to deny the PC battery.

Sharmila showed her class (Image Courtesy: Hockey India)
Sharmila showed her class (Image Courtesy: Hockey India)

India will now play Argentina in the first semifinal on Wednesday

Can India go all the way?

The Indians will be up against Argentina in the semifinals on Wednesday, a team they failed to beat even once during a tour earlier this year. But anything is possible in an Olympic semifinal.

Check Out: Tokyo Olympics Hockey Schedule

It has been a slow and ready rise for Sjoerd Marijne's chargers, who lost the World Cup quarterfinal to Ireland in 2018. Rani and co. are now the highest-ranked side in Asia and have added yet another feather to their caps by qualifying for an unlikely Olympic semifinal.

India finished last at the 2016 Games in Rio, their first appearance at the Olympic competition in 36 years. Few would have thought the side would reach the semifinals in Tokyo.

Thanks to Scientific Advisor Wayne Lombard, the Indian side is now fitter and faster than ever before. They will fancy their chances of making it past the hockey semifinals and will look to replicate their performance against Australia once again.

The nation waits with bated breath to see if Marijne's side can go the distance in the 2021 Olympics and come Wednesday, the anticipation is expected to reach fever pitch. For now, though, it's a moment to savor for the Indian team and countless fans across the country.

Edited by Anantaajith Ra

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