The Indian football team etched themselves onto the world football map when they defeated the mighty Australia in the 1956 Olympic Games. December 1, 1956, stands as a red-letter day for Indian football.

This captivating narrative not only recounts the sheer brilliance displayed on the field but also delves into the profound depths of skill, indomitable determination, and the enduring legacy of India's prowess on the international stage in football.

Blue Tigers Conquer Melbourne's Olympic Park

This was the Blue Tigers' third participation in the Olympic Games where they also marked their best outing. Coached by Syed Abdul Rahim, affectionately known as "Rahim Saab", the team reached the semi-finals after a triumphant victory over the formidable Australian side. Rahim Saab had previously coached the team in the 1952 and 1960 Summer Olympic Games.

India received a walkover from Hungary in the first round and then confronted hosts Australia in the quarter-finals. Samar Banerjee, popularly known as "Badru Banerjee", led the side as captain during the Games.

In a remarkable display, forward Neville Steven Joseph D'Souza netted a hat-trick, propelling India to a convincing 4-2 win against the Socceroos at the Olympic Park, in Melbourne. The teams were closely matched in the opening half, which ended 2-2. D'Souza scored the opening goal from a rebound, placing the Blue Tigers in the lead. However, Bruce Morrow levelled the score in the 17th minute.

India regained the lead in the 33rd minute when D'Souza converted from a PK Banerjee cross. However, the hosts managed to get back into the game with Morrow scoring his second before the half-time whistle.

The second half belonged entirely to India. D'Souza completed his hat trick, putting India ahead for the third time in the 50th minute and with that, the Goan forward became the first Asian to score a hat-trick at the Olympics. 

J. Krishnaswamy, popularly known as Krishna Kittu, scored the fourth goal for the Blue Tigers in the 80th minute, marking a significant victory for the nation.

This achievement earned Team India worldwide fame, and the victory is still remembered as one of their significant achievements in world football. However, India's journey at the 1956 Olympics couldn't have been more joyful as they faced defeat to Yugoslavia with a 4–1 scoreline in the semi-finals and also suffered a loss in the subsequent Bronze medal match to Bulgaria by a 3-0 scoreline.