The New Zealand women’s hockey team bowed out of the Olympics when they were outplayed 3-0 by the classy Netherlands team in their quarter-final match.
Though the New Zealanders fought doggedly right to the end, they never looked comfortable. The Dutch ball control and ability to attack incisively kept them off balance.
A look at the statistics of the match reveals why New Zealand looked some troubled.
The Netherlands had 16 shots at goal to New Zealand’s four, had nine field goal attempts to none, had six penalty corners to four and, perhaps most tellingly, the Dutch had 69 percent of the possession to New Zealand’s 31 percent.
The Netherlands took the lead after seven minutes with a goal by Lidewj Welten. At 21 minutes Frederique Malta converted a penalty stroke to make it 2-0 at halftime.
The third Dutch goal came after 37 minutes, courtesy of Lauren Stam from a penalty corner.
One of the busiest New Zealand players was goalie Grace O’Hanlon, who capped off a good tournament with another fine effort.
New Zealand ended the tournament with wins over Argentina 3-0 and Japan 2-1 and losses to Spain 2-1, Australia 1-0, China 3-2, and te Netherlands 3-0.
For a team that has finished fourth in the last two Olympics and is the current Commonwealth Games champion, it was not quite the record the New Zealanders would have been looking for.
New Zealand captain Stacey Michelsen described the result as "pretty heartbreaking".
"We knew it would be difficult against the world No 1 team," she said. "We worked hard but they were the better side today. They are a tough team, because they move the ball so well."
Michelsen felt New Zealand had a few opportunities early in the match. "If we'd able to convert a penalty corner then, it might have made a difference, but the goal never came."Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games