Australian media has questioned the bravery of the Kiwi women's hockey team, implying players were "soft" after several players wore facemasks during a game at the Rio Olympics.

The Daily Mail Australia asked if "this [was] the moment hockey went soft?" in a story covering the Black Sticks' 2-1 loss to Germany.

The masks were worn as Germany took a penalty corner, where they scored the game-clinching goal.

Wearing facemasks for protection is common practice in field hockey during pentalty corners, with all teams using them.


A representative for the team explained the players use the masks to protect themselves from powerful drag flicks, but they are then taken off and thrown behind the goal after the ball is cleared.

The team also took to social media to voice their disapproval of the claim, tweeting that the story was "one of the most ignorant and unbalanced" of the Games.

That was followed up by Hockey Australia communications manager Lawrence West inviting a journalist at the Daily Mail Australia to face a penalty corner without a mask.