India Women's Hockey Team Enter Olympics Quarter-Final For First Time
Vandana Katariya’s hat-trick was the first ever by an Indian female hockey player at the Summer Olympic games.
The Indian women's hockey team has qualified for the quarter-finals of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
Great Britain's 2-0 victory over Ireland ensured India progress to the next round by virtue of being the fourth best team in Pool A
India will play Australia at 8:30am IST on Monday, 2 August.
The Indian women's hockey team have made history in Tokyo by reaching the quarter-final for the first time ever.
Forward Vandana Katariya scored a hat-trick as they beat South Africa 4-3 on Saturday morning, but the team had to wait till all their group's matches were complete, to know if they would progress into the knockouts.
It was only when Great Britain defeated Ireland 2-0 later in the evening, that India were assured a spot in the next round, by virtue of being the fourth ranked team in Pool A.
The Indian women's hockey team are playing only their third Olympic games after qualifying for the first time in 1980, when women's hockey made its debut, and then in 2016 when the team finished last in their pool.
Rani Rampal's team ill next meet former champions Australia in their quarter-final match on Monday while Netherlands face New Zealand, Spain will play Great Britain and Germany take on Argentina.
Vandana scored in the 4th, 17th, and 49th minutes for her treble while Neha Goyal contributed one goal as India went ahead three times only to see the South Africans regroup and level score on all three occasions.
Vandana, who has been one of the best performers for the team so far, opened the scoring on the fourth minute before South Africa equalised with Tarryn Glasby to end the first quarter at 1-1.
In the second quarter, Vandana once again put India ahead, however, just like earlier in the game, South Africa equalised in the final moments when Erin Hunter put it past Savita.
After half time, India edged ahead yet again with Neha scoring the third goal for her side, but South Africa found a third equaliser to frustrate the Rani Rampal led side. Glasby scored her second goal of the match as third quarter ended 3-3.
In the final 15 minutes, India pulled ahead as Vandana completed a hat-trick and then held on for the remaining 11 minutes to record their fourth win in Olympic history on their third appearance.
Vandana’s hat-trick was also the first ever by an Indian female hockey player at the Olympic games.
India held a slight edge in possession (51-49) but it was the attacking circle penetrations and shots at goal that would indicate the work put in by the players. India made 18 entries into the circle as against 11 by the South Africans; they had 14 shots at the goal as against just eight by their rivals.
The penalty corners remain an area of concern for coach Sjoerd Marijne as India earned 10 short corners but could score only off three. South Africa converted one of their four efforts.
(With inputs from IANS)
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