The Indian women’s hockey team has lost 3-4 to Great Britain (GBR) in women’s bronze medal match at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
India started the game on backfoot as GBR pressed for the goal early on. While the first quarter was goalless, GBR had made as many as six circle penetrations as compared to India’s one. By the end of the match, the figure rose to 23 to India’s eight.
As many would have expected, it was GBR who opened the scoring through Elena Rayer and it took them little to no time in making it two, with Sarah Robertson getting her name on the scoresheet. India, however, made a stunning comeback by scoring three goals in four minutes to turn the game on its head. The protagonist was none other than Gurjit Kaur, who scored two goals from penalty corners.
Such was GBR's dominance that they won a penalty corner in only the second minute of the match. Savita Punia, however, was on hand to scuff the danger away. The India defence was all over the field and GBR made sure they exploit their opponent's weakness. They broke the deadlock only a minute into the second quarter. Elena Sian Rayer made a fantastic run into the India D and her pass was deflected into the goal by Deep Grace. They doubled their advantage in the 24th minute when Sarah Robertson converted from close range.
This is where India upped the ante. Soon after Robertson's goal, India earned a penalty corner at the other end and Gurjit Kaur made it 2-1 for India. The dragflicker made it 2-2 in no time before Vandana Katariya made it three for India. With the scoreline now in India's favour, GBR made threatening moves in India's half and they were duly rewarded when Hollie Pearne-Webb equalized for her team.
As the match progressed, India lost its shape and GBR capitalized in the final quarter, with Grace Baldsdon scoring the winner. India’s surge for an equalizer went down till the very last minute, but GBR were standing firm. Navjot Kaur produced a brilliant reverse hit cross from the left in the last minute, but the Indians couldn't deflect the ball into the goal. The Indian team made a circle penetration in the final minute of the match, however, the Great Britain defence pushed the ball away and ensured that they sealed a 4-3 victory.
Despite a defeat, the Indian women’s hockey team’s run at Tokyo 2020 highlights how far the team has come after having finished last at Rio 2016. Furthermore, the way they progress after losing their first three Pool matches is astounding, to say the least.
Featured photo: Hockey India