India's Vandana Katariya celebrates with teammates after scoring her hat-trick goal against South Africa
India's Vandana Katariya celebrates with teammates after scoring her hat-trick goal against South Africa Image Credit: PTI

The Indian women’s hockey team meet Australia in the Olympic Games hockey quarter-finals on Monday and they can play without any pressure as they have already made history by entering the knockout stages for the first time.

The team had left Indian shores for Tokyo with the target of reaching the quarters and they managed that by finishing fourth with two wins and three defeats in the six-team Pool A.

India had spent some anxious hours after a 4-3 win over South Africa as they waited for the result of the match between defending champions Great Britain and Ireland. A victory for Ireland would have ended their hopes but Team GB won 2-0, paving the way for India’s entry into the quarters.

Their target achieved, Sjoerd Marijne’s team has nothing to lose against the Australians.

Australian are ranked second in the world behind the Netherlands. They topped Pool B with a perfect record.

In contrast, India suffered defeats in their first three matches — against the Netherlands, Germany, and Great Britain — but rallied to beat Ireland and South Africa and progress.