Welcome to Sportstar’s live coverage of Indian women’s hockey team’s Tokyo 2020 bronze medal game against Great Britain. This is Dominic Richard taking you through the action as it unfurls at the Oi Hockey Stadium.
The team lineups are out!
INDIA XI: Savita Punia (GK), Deep Grace Ekka, Gurjit Kaur, Udita, Neha Goyal, Monika Malik, Rani Rampal (C), Navneet Kaur, Vandana Katariya, Navjot Kaur, Nisha.
COACH – Sjoerd Marijne.
GREAT BRITAIN XI: Giselle Ansley, Maddie Hinch (GK), Hannah Martin, Shona McCallin, Lily Owsley, Hollie Pearne-Webb (C), Ellie Rayer, Sarah Robertson, Anna Toman, Susannah Townsend, Laura Unsworth.
COACH – Mark Hager.
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 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 thriller. And having already recorded their best-ever Olympic performance, the Indian women would look to double the nation”s joy.
But it would be easier said than done for the Indians as they were thrashed 1-4 by Great Britain, which is the defending champion, in the group stage. Having failed to emulate its gold-winning performance in Rio five years ago, Britain would be desperate to at least sign off its campaign with a podium finish.
But India can take heart from the fact that contrary to the final score-line, it was a close match against the British earlier in the tournament. It wasted several chances in that game and could have made it closer with better finishing skills.
India had won as many as eight penalty corners, but converted just one back then. However, the team would take a lot of confidence from its spirited performance against World No.2 Argentina in the semifinals even though it lost the outing 1-2.
The Indians fought valiantly and gave the Argentine outfit a run for its money but were guilty of conceding penalty corners at crucial junctures, which eventually proved costly. With nothing to lose from here, World No.7 India would fancy its chances against World No.4 Britain.
There is no pressure on the side as the 18 fearless and determined women had already done the unthinkable when they stunned three-time champion Australia 1-0 to enter the Olympic semifinals for the first time.
India’s best performance at the Olympics came way back during the 1980 Moscow Games where it finished fourth out of six teams. In that edition, women’s hockey made its Olympic debut and the sport was played in a round-robin format with the top two teams qualifying for the final.
Despite the heart-breaking loss against Argentina, India’s chief coach Sjoerd Marijne is focussed on the job at hand.
“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 added. Meanwhile, the Netherlands will play Argentina in the final on the same day.
– THE SQUADS –
India: Rani Rampal, Savita Punia, Deep Grace Ekka, Gurjit Kaur, Nikki Pradhan, Udita Duhan, Monika Malik, Navjot Kaur, Neha Goyal, Nisha Warsi, Salima Tete, Sushila Chanu, Lalremsiami, Navneet Kaur, Sharmila Devi, Vandana Katariya.
Great Britain: Giselle Ansley, Grace Balsdon, Fiona Crackles, Maddie Hinch, Sarah Jones, Hannah Martin, Shona McCallin, Lily Owsley, Hollie Pearne-Webb, Izzy Petter, Ellie Rayer, Sarah Robertson, Anna Toman, Susannah Townsend, Laura Unsworth, Leah Wilkinson.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs):
- At what time will the Indian women’s hockey team be in action?
The hockey game against Great Britain will start at 7:00 AM IST (10:30 AM local time) on Friday.
- Where to watch Indian events at Tokyo Olympics?
The Sony Sports Network will broadcast Tokyo Olympics live in India.
Sony TEN 3 HD/SD will telecast India events with Hindi commentary while Sony TEN 1 HD/SD and Sony TEN 2 HD/SD will have English commentary.
Live streaming of the events will be available on the SonyLIV and JioTV apps.