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Rio Olympics 2016: Black Sticks stun world's best

The Black Sticks celebrate after scoring their goal against the Netherlands. Photo / AP
The Black Sticks celebrate after scoring their goal against the Netherlands. Photo / AP

A stunning strike and a surprisingly comfortable victory combined today to guarantee both Black Sticks sides quarter-final places in the Olympic hockey tournament.

Captain Kayla Whitelock's cracking late goal earned the women a 1-1 draw with world number one Netherlands while the men beat previously unbeaten Belgium 3-1 knowing defeat would have eliminated them.

Whitelock powered home a shot from the top of the goalmouth with just 68 seconds left in the women's match after Dutch skipper Maartje Paumen had given her side the lead just before half-time.

The number four-ranked Kiwis sit second in Pool A with seven points, behind the unbeaten Dutch on 10. Both sides have one more pool match.

are assured of a place in the last eight with one pool match left to play.

Paumen had given her side the lead after crashing a penalty corner shot past goalkeeper Sally Rutherford and in off the post.

The Kiwis produced an impressive performance and hit the post from a penalty corner, but looked likely to go unrewarded until Whitelock's late strike.

With her back to goal she hit a bouncing ball first-time to send it past the outstretched Joyce Sombrek in the Dutch goal.

The men guaranteed their spot in the knockout phase after goals from Simon Child, Nick Wilson and Hugo Inglis gave them an unassailable 3-0 lead. Belgium replied late on with a goal to Florent van Aubel.Belgium went into the match with a 100 per cent record and having conceded only two goals in their previous four games.

After a scoreless first half, the New Zealanders went ahead in the first minute after the resumption through a Child penalty corner effort.Wilson, who scored four goals in their previous outing against Brazil, doubled the lead six minutes later. Then Inglis rounded off a mazy run that left the defence befuddled with a fine finish.The men will play Germany in the knockout phase on Sunday. The women will learn their opponents after the final pool matches.

- AAP

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