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CWG 2022:  "I just told the girls that we will do it the hard way today and we knew we could do it" - coach Janneke Schopman after guiding the Indian girls to a historic bronze in hockey

Celebration time after a stupendous win for the Indian girls
Celebration time after a stupendous win for the Indian girls

The Indian women's hockey team created history by bagging a bronze medal at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games after a memorable shootout win against New Zealand in the finals.

After taking the lead a minute before the long breather, the Women in Blue continued to enjoy the better of the exchanges. They seemed to be heading for a win in regulation time when the Black Sticks women earned a PC at the death against the run of play.

Much to India's dismay, the short corner resulted in a penalty stroke which was converted, thus forcing a shootout. It was the last thing Savita Punia and co. would have wanted after what transpired against Australia in the semifinals.

Coach Janneke Schopman looked visibly distraught when the Australians were given a chance to retake the first missed PC in the semifinals. Janneke was in control of her emotions in the bronze-medal match despite her side conceding a penalty stroke with seconds left on the clock.

Schopman told Sportskeeda that despite the stunning reverse, she came to grips with what had transpired. She told the girls that they needed to 'do it the hard way' with a scoreline reading 1-1 after an intense 60 minutes of action.

"The first thought that came to me was, of course, this happens. We are not ever very lucky. It is what it is, the ball goes in and then it's just about changing the mindset. I just told the girls that we will do it the hard way today and we knew we could do it," said Schopman.

"I have confidence in them and I know they can win shootouts" - Janneke Schopman

The Indians won a historic bronze at the Commonwealth Games
The Indians won a historic bronze at the Commonwealth Games

Ambrosia Malone missed the opening shootout for Australia but was given a retake as the clock didn't start ticking down to count the stipulated eight seconds.

After what they thought was a perfect start to the tie-breaker, the Indians looked dismayed after Malone scored via a fortuitous retake.

The Indians went on to lose the shootout in the semifinals. But despite a last-minute equalizer from New Zealand in the bronze-medal match, the girls were calm and composed as they went about with their business on Sunday.

Schopman asserted that she was always confident that her chargers had what it took to come through the shootout unscathed and victorious, as they finally did with a 2-1 margin.

"From that moment on, Savita did what she needed to do. The five takers did what they needed to do and took responsibilty. I have confidence in them and I know they can win shootouts so I wasn't necessarily worried about it. I was just hoping that for once the things go our our way and they did because we fought hard for it," she added with a smile.
There is joy and enjoyment in the air! 🥉🤩Our Bronze medallists return to a well-deserved welcome from our Indian Men's team! 🎊#IndiaKaGame #HockeyIndia #B2022 #Birmingham2022 @CMO_Odisha @sports_odisha @IndiaSports @Media_SAI https://t.co/S2Zo1nnJAk

For the Indian girls, who narrowly missed out on a podium finish in Tokyo last year, the bronze medal is a well-deserved reward. It brings to and end of what has been an exhausting and exhilerating season that included the Hockey Pro League which was followed by the World Cup.

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Edited by Diptanil Roy
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