Rio Olympics 2016: Hockey side's pride pricked in 2-1 loss

By David Leggat

New Zealand line up for the anthem before the Black Sticks hockey match against Korea, Deodoro Stadium. Photo / Photosport
New Zealand line up for the anthem before the Black Sticks hockey match against Korea, Deodoro Stadium. Photo / Photosport

They began impressively but hit a speed bump second time out.

Now the world No4 New Zealand women's hockey team face a tall order to get a favourable quarter-final draw when the Olympic tournament reaches the sharp end.

Having dealt to South Korea 4-1 in their opening match, New Zealand were beaten 2-1 by Germany in their second pool A game in Rio. And dynamic midfielder Anita McLaren isn't happy.

New Zealand hadn't "turned up" mentally, she said.

"We just seem to do this a lot, it's really disappointing.

"We just have to learn how to be consistent. We have to prepare well and turn up for every single game.

"It's an Olympic Games, it's not just a club match back home. We have to take pride in our performance."

The Black Sticks have three games left before the knockout stage, including one against the world's top ranked Dutch team. Ideally they'd want three wins to push them up the ladder and therefore hand them an easier quarter-final.

There could be no complaints yesterday.

The Black Sticks started assertively, with Petrea Webster scoring early after good lead-up work by Charlotte Harrison.

However ninth-ranked Germany equalised through Pia-Sophie Oldhafer before Anne Schroder got the winner with a strong shot from a penalty corner in the third quarter.

New Zealand had six penalty corners and converted none. Coach Mark Hager acknowledged the result was a setback. "We fought hard but in the end our set pieces were poor, they ran us down and we just need to execute better," he said.

"They outplayed us in three of four quarters. We needed to get at least a point out of this game and we're now stuck back in the pack, which is disappointing."

Goalkeeper Sally Rutherford had to be on top of her game as the Germans, gaining in confidence as the game progressed, exposed New Zealand's defensive frailties.

The Blacks Sticks now have a day off to ponder their situation before facing world No14 Spain early tomorrow (NZT).

After the Spanish, beaten 2-0 by China in their last match, New Zealand play the Netherlands and sixth-ranked China. Suddenly it's not looking the smooth sailing the opening win suggested it might.

- NZ Herald

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