India’s national field hockey team have claimed seven Olympic gold medals from 1928 through to 1964. The team claimed silver after losing in the 1960 final but managed to claim another gold medal in 1980. Since then, the India field hockey team haven’t placed higher than fifth.
On Friday, India thrashed Japan 5-3 to finish the Olympic pool in second place with a 4-1 record. This produced an epic match for Sunday where India had to face Great Britain in the Quarter-Finals. To everyone’s surprise, India defeated Great Britain 3-1 on Sunday to move a step closer to claiming a medal.
Medal Hopes after 40 Years
With the phenomenal victory at the Oi Hockey Stadium, India’s field hockey team ended a 40-year-long wait to finally make an appearance in a semi-final at the Olympics. The last time India made it through to the final four was back in 1980 Moscow where the team claimed a gold medal. This was also the last time India’s field hockey team claimed a medal at the Summer Games. The victory over Great Britain also means that India is only one match away from claiming a medal in Tokyo.
Should India outplay Belgium in the semi-final, who managed to beat Spain in their last eight clash, it would give India’s field hockey team assurance of another medal, irrespective of whether they win or lose in the final match for gold. Even if they lose against Belgium, they can still play for a bronze medal with a win in the bronze medal match.
India vs Great Britain Match Highlights
Hardik Singh, Gurjant Singh, and Dilpreet Singh scored for India’s national field hockey team, while Samuel Ward was the only player for Great Britain who could produce a goal in the entire match. India started the match on a cautious note, while Great Britain enjoyed most of the possession during the early stages of the match.
During the first quarter, Simranjeet Singh stole possession and passed it to Dilpreet Singh who was unmarked. The forward smashed the ball past Oliver Payne, Great Britain’s goalkeeper, to give India the lead after only 7 minutes. Great Britain had a golden opportunity to equalize with only three minutes remaining in the first quarter but PR Sreejesh, India’s goalkeeper, made two incredible saves to deny Samuel Ward. India increased the score to 2-0 within seconds after the start of the second quarter.
Great Britain produced several attacks, but India defended beautifully to maintain a two goal lead at the half-time break. Great Britain continued to dominate possession in the third quarter, but India kept blocking all attacks and looked for counter-attacking opportunities. Great Britain won a number of penalty corners at the end of the quarter, allowing Sam Ward to make it 2-1 on the third attempt.
Great Britain continued to attack during the final quarter but couldn’t produce any goals. India’s Hardik Singh got possession of the ball and tested Oliver Payne with a venomous shot. Even though he saved the first shot, he was unable to stop Hardik from scoring on the rebound, making it 3-1 to wrap up the match.