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  • Post published:Sep 22, 2021
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Tokyo Olympics: Indian Men’s Hockey Team Registers a Historic Win

Well, with dreams of a whole country riding on their shoulders, the Indian Men’s Hockey Team delivered a thrilling 3-1 win over Great Britain in Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 Quarter-Final here at the Oi Hockey Stadium. Following strikes from Dilpreet Singh ( 7′), Gurjant Singh (16′), and Hardik Singh (57′), India moved one step closer to reaching their 41-year medal wait. India will face World Champions Belgium in the Semi-Final on Tuesday, August 3, 2021, as a result of their performance overall. Great Britain’s lone goal was scored by Samuel Ward (45′).

The Indian men’s hockey team shown skill and determination once more, defeating hosts Japan 5-3 to finish second in Group A and advance into the quarterfinals. Following 13 points from five games, Australia has won that match. India’s victory over Japan on Friday became their third in a row at the Games. On Thursday, the Manpreet Singh-led team upset defending champions Argentina 3-1. India’s chance over the hosts was increased when Gurjant Singh hit the start of the second quarter. However, Japan responded with such a goal, as Tanaka scored the team’s first goal.

The Indians have made a remarkable recovery after being defeated 7-1 by Australia in their second game of the preliminary round. India has narrowly missed out on the 2016 Olympic quarterfinals, placing fourth in the group having two victories, with many losses, and one tie. There in the quarterfinals, they were defeated 3-1 by Belgium. Having eight gold medals, India is by far the most successful team in Olympic history, although they haven’t won a medal in hockey since the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

India got out to a great start, riding on their energy from the first round as they played with energy and a well-structured approach. The very first chance for India had been produced by Nilakanta Sharma and Mandeep Singh. However, the British defenders guarded the Indian attackers well enough to avoid an initial loss. Nevertheless, India scored a fantastic kickoff return in the seventh minute, rigged up precisely by Simranjeet Singh and collected wonderfully by youthful striker Dilpreet Singh, that put the ball through Great Britain goalkeeper Ollie Payne’s knees.

Gurjant Singh took the ball within the circle during the first minute of the second quarter and made a rapid turn before positioning himself perfectly to chase it down, extending India’s lead to 2-0. Despite its early loss, Great Britain remained composed and retained a decent strategy in order to build prospective incursions into the hitting circle. Although Zachary Wallace and James Gall worked well together to come near to scoring in the 28th minute, the attempt did not lead to a goal for Great Britain.

Great Britain embarked on such a turnaround after the 10-minute halftime break, with stronger ball control and innovative assault. The Indian defenders, on the other hand, kept composed to prevent a goal. In the 45th minute, Britain’s time of trouble arrived with the re-take of a penalty chance. An unexpected twist devised by Philip Roper and performed flawlessly by Samuel Ward assisted Great Britain in scoring the first-ever goal of the match.

The fourth quarter started with yet another PC for the United Kingdom. They used the same version that got them the very first goal. However, India’s goalkeeper PR Sreejesh has been on point this time to prevent a draw. With such a strong offense and ball control performance, Great Britain continued to put India underneath trouble. Sreejesh, on the other hand, was outstanding in the back for India, making a couple of outstanding saves.

As India skipper Manpreet Singh attempted a diving tackle to stop the British attack, he was given a yellow card in the final six and a half minutes of the match. As a result of the infringement, the United Kingdom was given another PC. Fortunately for India, Sreejesh, who maintained the centerpiece of Indian defense, successfully defended the drag-flick. These last several minutes seem to have been nail-biting; however, a wonderful showcase of talent and stick work by first-time Olympian Hardik Singh had seen India secure a 3-1 lead. Hardik has been brilliant with his fast dribble to defeat the British defenders before driving into the circle and taking a fantastic scoring opportunity. Even though the shot bounced off Payne’s pads, Hardik seemed to be fast to receive the rebound and make another attempt, which sounded the board past Payne in the 57th minute. The team’s defense worked together to hold the score and secure India’s place in the Semifinals.

At 0700 IST on Tuesday, August 3, India will face World Champions Belgium, who defeated Spain 3-1 in the Quarter Final to reach the final four.

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