The Indian women’s hockey team caused a big surprise at the 2021 Olympics when they defeated number 2 in the world Australia 1-0 in the quarter-finals and secured a place among the last four teams in the tournament.
At the beginning of the game, the Indians were anything but favorites against a team that had finished the pool phase with 13 goals, conceded only one goal and did not lose a single game.
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However, the Indian Eves were ready for the challenge. They scored an early goal to take the lead, followed by brilliant defense and composure to keep the ball out of the net until the end.
Marijne’s magic for the Indian women’s hockey team
The team for this year’s Olympic Games was put together by the Dutchman Sjoerd Marijne after a lot of work over the past four years. He took on the role after India ended its first Olympic campaign in 36 years. He set out his goals and worked to build a strong squad for the Tokyo Olympics.
Marijne promised India a surprise performance at the Summer Games and he kept it. Speaking to the press after India’s historic performance, Marijne said:
“They [Australia] are a good team. They had a lot of penalty corners. They changed their strategy and we had to adapt. It’s all about the mindset. I told them we have nothing to lose so play free and the girls did just that. The way the defense played today combined with Savita [our goalkeeper] was impressive. It’s like a dream come true. I think that is the real Chak de India! “
How they prepared for the big challenges at the Olympics, Marijne said:
“We set out to work on it game by game. How we can improve in the next game. Today we had a lot of penalty corners and had to defend in a circle. So we focused on the little things. That helps to keep your mind away from thinking about the semi-finals and winning and losing. “
The Dutchman believes beating Australia is a moment that the entire team can cherish. He said:
“Enjoy the moment. Don’t look ahead all the time. Enjoy the trip and see what you’ve just done. “
The experienced Dutchman knows, however, that the job is not over yet. About the goals and the preparations for the next game, he said:
“For the next game we have to improve in a few areas – we passed the ball too often and the gap between our players was far too big.”
The Indian team will now face Argentina in the semi-finals of the tournament. The higher-ranking team from South America defeated them 5-0 at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. However, today’s victory will help them believe that they are capable of going all the way.
Also read – “We cried after losing to Great Britain”: Indian captain Rani Rampal highlights how they fixed their mistakes in the historic QF win