The Indian hockey team beat Great Britain 3-1 in the quarter-finals on August 1 to come closer to an Olympic medal in hockey – something that has proved elusive since 1980.
Dilpreet Singh, Gurjant Singh, and Hardik Singh put their name on the score sheet to seal the historic victory for India. Sam Ward was the lone goal-scorer for Britain, which came from a penalty corner in the 45th minute. India will face the world champion Belgium in the semi-final on August 3.
Once the best hockey team in the world, India's recent performance in the sport has been rather painful to watch up until this edition. India had won eight Olympic gold medals in hockey, the last of which came four decades ago in the 1980 Moscow Olympics when V Baskaran led the team. However, there were no semi-finals in that edition as only six teams participated. The last time India played an Olympic semi-final was way back in the 1972 Munich Olympics, where they lost 0-2 to arch-rivals Pakistan.
A Memorable Victory Against A Resilient Side
Dilpreet Singh scored in the seventh minute to give India an early edge. India's second goal came right at the start of the second quarter, with Gurjeet Singh hitting the ball home. India went into the second half with a two-goal lead. Great Britain put pressure in the third quarter, winning four back-to-back penalty corners, the last of which was converted by Sam Ward to reduce the difference to just one goal.
The game went into the fourth quarter when Britain threw numbers into their attack. Their efforts succeeded as they won three more penalty corners, which have been India's weakness through the tournament. However, PR Sreejesh rose to the occasion with fine saves to keep their lead intact. India's third goal came at the 57th minute when Hardik scored after British goalkeeper Payne saved his initial shot.
Emotional Celebration On And Off The Turf
Three minutes later, the final whistle blew, and the Indian players were seen hugging and congratulating each other with tears of joy. The significance of this victory can be understood from the reactions which flooded Twitter and other social media platforms last night.
India will play world champions Belgium on Tuesday for a place in the final, hoping to win the first medal after decades of wait finally.