The New Zealand womens footballers bowed out of the Olympics after losing 2-0 to the United States, the worlds No 1-ranked team, at St James Park, Newcastle, today.
The Football Ferns faced a challenging task. They are ranked only 23rd in the world and dont have nearly the pedigree of the Americans, who have won three of the four Olympic womens football tournaments since the sport was opened to women in 1996.
Nevertheless, the New Zealanders fought hard and did well to hold the Americans for long patches.
The United States went a goal ahead after 43 minutes when striker Abby Wambach tapped home after a nice cross by Alex Morgan.
Thats how the score remained for the next half an hour. Then New Zealand had a strong penalty appeal turned down. It turned out to be their best chance, because shortly after Sydney Leroux sealed the match for the Americans with another goal.
The United States had 22 shots at goal, compared to New Zealands 10.
When midfielder Hayley Moorwood took the field as a substitute in the 57th minute, she became the first Football Fern to reach 100 caps.
The New Zealanders had a relatively successful campaign. After their high-profile opening against Great Britain, they ended up winning one match, against Cameroon, and losing three, but reached the quarter-finals, their first goal.