Tokyo: They have already surpassed all expectations and the Indian women’s hockey team will now look to go a little further and notch up its maiden podium finish at the Olympics when it takes on Great Britain in the bronze medal play-off here on Friday.
The men’s team rewrote history on Thursday as it claimed an Olympic medal after 41 years, defeating Germany 5-4 to win the bronze in an edge-of-the-seat play-off match.
And having already recorded their best-ever Olympic performance, the Indian women would look to double the nation’s joy on Friday.
But it would be easier said than done for the Indians as they were thrashed 1-4 by Great Britain, who were the defending champions, in the pool stages.
Having failed to emulate their gold-winning performance in Rio five years back, Great Britain would be desperate to at least sign off their campaign with a podium finish from here.
But India can take heart from the fact that contrary to the final score-line, it was a close match against Great Britain in the pool stages.
The Indian women’s hockey team wasted several chances in that match and could have made a closer match of it had they showed better finishing skills.
The difference between the two teams was that India had the better share of chances but Great Britain utilised more opportunities that came their way.
India secured as many as eight penalty corners in the match but converted just one. Great Britain too didn’t have great success rate from set pieces as they found the net just once from the six they earned.
The Indians would take a lot of confidence from their spirited performance against world no.2 Argentina in the semifinals even though they lost match 1-2.
Despite the heart-breaking loss against Argentina, India’s chief coach Sjoerd Marijne is focussed on the job ahead.
“We came here to win a medal and still there’s one (available). It’s now about recovery, about the mindset. The good thing is, it’s not always good that we lost a lot in the past but we also have learned to deal with the losses,” Marijne had said.
The Dutchman feels the need of the hour is to grab the opportunities that come their way.
“In these matches it is about taking your opportunities.”
Captain Rani Rampal too said the competition is not yet over for the Indians.
“The tournament is not over yet. We still have a chance to win a bronze medal. An Olympic medal is a medal. If you win gold that is nice but still bronze is a medal, so we will fight for that medal and we will focus on the next match,” she said.
The Netherlands will play Argentina in the final on Friday.
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