Olympics: Men's Black Sticks finish strong

New Zealand's men's hockey team have finished their Olympic campaign on a high, defeating Argentina 3-1 in ther playoff for ninth and 10th positions.

A confident opening 30 minutes proved to be the difference between the teams - the Kiwis opening a 3-0 lead at the break that was never broken.

Argentina scored a consolation goal in the 59th minute but they never looked like overturning the scoreboard.

Head coach Shane McLeod acknowledged that the team played a good game and was pleased for his side to go out with a win.

"It's nice to have a win under the belt to finish off. What the Olympics brings out is the closeness of the games. There is always just one thing that will make a difference between second or first in your pool and finishing sixth or fifth in your pool. It's part of the excitement of sport. It's never a foregone conclusion," said McLeod.

It was a disappointing campaign for New Zealand overall - they came into the tournament ranked seventh but were hoping to punch well above their weight with recent good form under their belt.

"We are all disappointed where we have finished in the table. The players have high expectations of what they want to achieve and it tests their resilience when they don't get the results they are after," said McLeod.

Captain Dean Couzins said although frustrated not to finish higher up the table, he was proud of his side's performance today.

"Today in the first half we played really well, which is nice, because it's a difficult game to get yourself up for in some respects. There was some good hockey and some good pride shown by the boys," said Couzins.

New Zealand 3 (Stephen Jenness, Richard Petherick, Nicholas Wilson) Argentina 1 (Pedro Ibarra)

- HERALD ONLINE

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