Tokyo Olympics: Great Britain beat India to win women’s hockey bronze

GB beat India in seven-goal thriller to win hockey bronze
Dates: 23 July-8 August Time in Tokyo: BST +8
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button and online; Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live, Sports Extra and Sounds; live text and video clips on BBC Sport website and app.

Great Britain claimed bronze in the women’s hockey at Tokyo 2020 with a thrilling 4-3 victory against India.

The 2016 gold medallists took an early 2-0 lead but fell 3-2 down in the third quarter.

They came back to draw level before Grace Balsdon struck the winning goal after a succession of penalty corners.

Later on Friday, world champions the Netherlands defeated Argentina 3-1 in a repeat of the London 2012 final, where they also won.

GB’s win means it is the third Olympic Games in a row Great Britain have won a medal, after the women also claimed bronze in 2012.

Great Britain captain Hollie Pearne-Webb told BBC Sport: “It’s been a tough five years and I couldn’t be prouder of them all.

“We’re all here because we still had that little bit of belief deep down and there’s been loads of time over the years where we’ve doubted we could achieve this and I’m just so pleased and proud.

“This cycle has not been too much of a rollercoaster because there’s not been many highs. Olympic bronze even a few months ago was in our wildest dreams.”

There were tears at full time as Great Britain celebrated their third Olympic bronze medal.

India’s women, competing for a medal for the first time, were unable to mirror the achievements of their men’s team, who won bronze on Thursday to end a 41-year wait for a medal.

GB, who claimed gold following a dramatic penalty shootout victory against the Netherlands five years ago, were deserved winners in Yashio.

Elena Rayer’s deflected cut-back opened the scoring for GB before Sarah Robertson’s excellent reverse-stick strike made it 2-0 after a smart save from goalkeeper Maddie Hinch at the other end.

GB celebrate
Great Britain have now won bronze at three Olympic Games – 1992, 2012 and 2020

India rallied when Gurjit Kaur scored twice in quick succession from penalty corners and they went 3-2 up when Vandana Katariya capitalised on a scramble in the D.

GB re-grouped and captain Pearne-Webb scored a rare goal before the defending champions piled on the pressure in the third quarter.

Balsdon eventually scored the winner from another penalty corner routine and despite a few late attempts from India, GB held on.

‘GB managed the pressure’ – analysis

Kate Richardson-Walsh, 2016 Olympic gold medal winner on BBC TV:

GB managed the pressure phenomenally well, managed the clock and were clinical when they got their chances. I’m really pleased for that team.

India are so dangerous on the counter-attack and they’re so lethal on penalty corners, so Great Britain had to be so diligent – and they were.

The Netherlands back on the podium

Argentina’s hopes of winning their first gold medal in the women’s game were dashed by a dominant Dutch display.

The Netherlands, who knocked out GB in the semi-finals and have won a medal at every Games since 1996, took the lead in the second quarter after an imposing opening 30 minutes.

Margot van Geffen opened the scoring after 23 minutes and Caia van Maasakker added two more moments later, all from penalty corners of which the Dutch scored three from five.

Argentina’s consolation came as the last action of the first-half to make the score 3-1, but as the second-half wore on the Dutch experience shone through.

Goalkeeper Josine Koning, who had only faced 11 shots in seven games leading up to the final, was well protected once again by the Dutch defence who shot down any flicker of Argentina’s attack, holding their nerve and lead to stroll to their fourth Olympic gold medal.

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