New Zealand Women book spot in Rio quarter finals

By Hockey NZ

The New Zealand Women have claimed a place in the quarter finals following a 1-1 draw with the Netherlands at the Rio Olympic Games.

It was a gritty performance from the Kiwis who pushed the world number one ranked Dutch throughout the entire game.

Trailing by one goal, it was captain Kayla Whitelock who stepped up with a stunning goal just one minute out from fulltime to equalise and secure the draw.

The result handed New Zealand one point which moves them up to second in Pool A on seven points with one match still to play.

Its now confirmed they will play in the quarter finals with the bottom two teams in Pool A, Spain and Korea, unable to overtake them and destined for elimination.

Results on the final day of pool play will determine who New Zealand meet in the quarters, with the women up against China at 11:30am tomorrow (NZ time), with live coverage on SKY Sport 4.

Head coach Mark Hager said it was an impressive result which gives them plenty of confidence going forward.

"The first quarter we were pretty evenly matched, but I thought we outplayed them in the second half and were probably a bit disappointed not to get the win," Hager said.

"Its pleasing to come away with a draw and Kayla really stepped up as we know she can. The point guarantees us a spot in the quarter finals so were happy with that."

Whitelock said it was good to get a reward for their move to bring her up into the forwards late in the game.

"Its always nice when those moves come off and to get a point is absolutely key for us," she said.

"Its going to be tough no matter who we play in the quarters, but thats something we embrace and look forward to."

After a high tempo half of hockey, Maartje Paumen opened the scoring for the Netherlands in the 28th minute with a pin-point drag flick from a penalty corner.

New Zealand lifted the intensity after the break and controlled much of the second half, creating some great scoring opportunities.

With time ticking down, the experienced and skilful Whitelock moved up into an attacking role for the Kiwis in the hunt for an equalising goal.

The move paid off with one minute left in the game when Whitelock received a nice pass from Brooke Neal, pivoted and sent a cracking shot into the goal on the half volley to level the score.

With the Women destined for the quarters, the New Zealand Men are looking to join them when they battle unbeaten Belgium at 9:00am this morning, live on SKY Sport 3.

New Zealand 1: (Kayla Whitelock)

Netherlands 1: (Maartje Paumen)

Halftime: Netherlands 1-0

- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Hockey NZ

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