The women in blue upset Australia 1-0 to reach their first ever Olympics semi-final at Tokyo.

The parallels are too stark to ignore, as the Indian women’s hockey team stormed into the semi-finals of the Tokyo Olympics defeating Australia 1-0. India were facing a team that was yet to lose a game in Tokyo, had scored 13 times, while conceding just one. However, a resolute defence and unparalleled work ethic from Sjoerd Marijne’s saw them over the line.

Social media erupted into a frenzy, as the Indian eves made it to the last four of the Olympics for the first time in the nation’s history. However, the Dutch coach, after taking over, had promised surprise performances from his team and they delivered just that.

“The way the defence played today, combined with Savita [our goalkeeper] was impressive. This is like a dream come true. I think this is the true Chak De India!” said Marijne after India setup a semi-final encounter against Argentina, one of the world’s fiercest sides and currently World No. 3. India are currently ranked ninth in the world rankings.  

The turnaround under Marijne

When Marijne was appointed the coach after the Gold Coast debacle in 2018, this team was low on confidence and wasn’t as cohesive as a unit. However, he was quick to turn things around, working on both fitness and understanding between the players. India won the 2018 Asian Champions Trophy in South Korea. They followed that with a silver medal at the Asian Games in Jakarta that same year.

In 2019, the eves assured their presence at the quadrennial event, with some heartening displays. Marijne was the mastermind and the team implemented his plans to the T. They played their hearts out, they fought when they needed to and attacked when they could. That attitude has rubbed off well on the team, as they continue to outwit and outrun their opponents.

Marijne was in tears after the victory against the Kangaroos. Subsequently, people drew a parallel of the coach with Shahrukh Khan, who played the role of coach Kabir Khan in ‘Chak De India.’

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The team’s journey

In Tokyo, the team began on the worst possible note, losing 5-1 against the World No. 1 the Netherlands. This was similar to how the Indian team had started their journey in the ‘Chak De India’. The team in reel had lost the game 7-0 against the world’s best team. In reality India lost their subsequent games against Germany and Great Britain, only to defeat Ireland and South Africa later to finish fourth in the pool. A slew of results went their way and helped them into the quarters.

In ‘Chak De India’, a series of victories over England, Spain, South Africa and New Zealand took the team into the quarterfinals after the first defeat. In the quarters, they faced the physically robust Argentina, something the Indian team will have to do in the semis in Tokyo. The scriptwriter of the movie must be scratching his forehead right now! Obviously, India won the quarters, the semis against Korea and the final against Australia.

The show of resilience and unity after overcoming internal politics also form the crux of the movie’s storyline. Moreover, under Marijne, this Indian team looks as knitted as ever and is willing to give everything for each other – a trait of any great team in any sport. The dramatics are way too uncannily similar to ignore!

Can they pull off another one against Argentina? We’ll have to wait and watch. For now, you can play tracks such as ‘Chak De India’ and ‘Badal pe Paaon hain’ and completely vibe with how our girls have performed! Also, we hope the ’70 minutes’ moment for Marijne comes as late as possible.

India face Argentina at the Oi Hockey Stadium in semi final of the Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday, 04 August 2021 at 3.30 pm.

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