A look at six players who played a transformative role, besides the now-famous Rani Rampal and Gurjit Kaur.
But the maiden Olympic medal remained out of bounds as world no.4 Great Britain, who were gold-winners in the 2016 Rio Games, came out on top in the pulsating encounter.
The women’s team takes on Great Britain in the bronze medal play-off a day after the men’s team defeated Germany 5-4 to earn the third place.
When Sahara backed out from sponsoring the national men’s and women’s hockey teams, it was the Odisha government led by Patnaik that decided to sponsor both for the next five years. At that time, many expressed surprise over this move.
Punjab Sports Minister Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi made the announcement after India beat Germany 5-4 in the bronze play-off.
It was a dream come true for billions of hockey fans as India came back from 1-3 down to score an impressive 5-4 win that reminded its fans of the glory days when the Indians were a force to reckon with in world hockey.
The Netherlands took the lead in the first half when Laurien Leurink outsmarted her opponent and her pass reached 21-year-old forward Felice Albers who scored by shooting the ball through the legs of British goalie Madeleine Hinch.
India are playing in the semifinals for the first time while Argentina have figured in semifinals in four editions of the Games from 2000 to 2012, reaching the final twice.
Australia defeated Germany 3-1 in the second semi-final at the Oi Hockey Stadium on Tuesday.
Belgium will play the winner of the second semifinal between Australia and Germany in the final. India will take on the team losing the second semifinal for the bronze medal.
It would be a repeat of the 2016 Olympics final in which the British emerged winners to bag their first gold in women’s hockey at the Olympics.
Marijne had been picked by Roelant Oltmans, Indian hockey’s High-Performance Director at that time, to guide the women’s team on a four-year contract in 2017.
Rani’s India reached the semifinals by beating Australia 1-0 on Monday, while Eliza and Selma’s team missed a bronze medal after losing 1-3 to hosts Soviet Union in their last league match and ended fourth in the pool.
South Africa maintained the pressure in the initial parts of the fourth quarter as they earned three penalty corners. But the Indian defence, with goalkeeper Savita standing strong, thwarted them.
India have cemented their hold on the second spot with a match against hosts Japan to go. This win has assured India a place in the quarterfinals with the final Group match against Japan to go.
India were 2-0 up by the end of the first quarter and though they allowed the opponents to dominate possession in the second quarter, the Spaniards could not capitalise on the chances.
The Indian men’s team came back from a goal down to defeat New Zealand 3-2 in their opening match on Saturday.
”A lot has changed in the mindset of our team in the past few years, we don’t fear the stronger opponents anymore,” Kaur was quoted as saying in a Hockey India release.
The 21-year-old Lalremsiami, who hails from Kolasib in Mizoram and will be playing her career’s first quadrennial Games, created history when she became the first female player from the state to make it to the Olympics.
Sreejesh feels this is his last chance to win a medal for India and he wants to give the best possible shot in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
Manpreet, 22, who is training with the national team at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre in Bengaluru for the Olympics, added that her maiden international tour — to Argentina in February — had helped her gain “a lot of confidence”.
Singh also played in the 1979 Junior World Cup and took voluntary retirement from State Bank of India after quitting hockey.
Indian women’s hockey team forward Jyoti is making sure she gets to learn all that she can, both on and off the field, from the experienced players who are part of the ongoing national camp at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) facility here.
The 28-year-old has remained a consistent performer with the team, and is hopeful she will have the opportunity to represent the tricolor in Tokyo next year.
The men’s camp, which started in early August, has been extended till November 28 while the women’s team will train until December 12, SAI said in a statement.