A tenacious New Zealand women’s football team produced their best match of the Olympics in going down 2-0 to high-flying Sweden today.
New Zealand now exit the tournament, having lost all three matches – 2-1 to Australia, 6-1 to the United States and 2-0 to Sweden.
The Swedish match was the highlight. Against a team that had walloped the mighty Americans 3-0 and had outplayed Australia 4-2, the New Zealanders gave little ground.
The Swedes scored first through an Anna Anvegard header in the 11th minute and made it 2-0 on the half-hour when Madelon Janogy slotted a goal.
It seemed as if there might be a flood of Swedish goals, but instead for the next hour the New Zealanders gave as good as they got.
Though the Swedes dominated possession and earned more corners, New Zealand had their moments too.
Midfielders Emma Rolston, Katie Bowen and Betsy Hassett ran hard. All had shots at goal and Bowen, especially, did good work on defence.
The New Zealand defence, particularly hard-working Ria Percival, never buckled despite being put under pressure by a disciplined Swedish attack.
There were a couple of moments when New Zealand threatened to score - forward Hannah Wilkinson, in her 100th outing for New Zealand, could have done so with a header and CJ Bott tested the Swedish goalie with a strong shot.Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games Football