The New Zealand women’s hockey team suffered their second successive loss when they went down 1-0 to Australia in the late match last night.
Following their 2-1 defeat by Spain, the New Zealanders had hoped for more, but found it difficult to make inroads against the tight Australian defence.
The scores were deadlocked at 0-0 until the 34th minute when Emily Chalker showed sharp reflexes to accept a pass and slot it past New Zealand goalie Grace O’Hanlon.
New Zealand were able to create few chances – they earned only one penalty corner in the match, to Australia’s three and could not put the Australian defence under sustained pressure.
The Australians seemed more likely and on a couple of occasions only good keeping by O’Hanlon kept them at bay.
As New Zealand became more desperate for an equaliser in the closing minutes they removed O’Hanlon from the game, but even then did not really threaten.
New Zealand have beaten Argentina and Japan and lost to Spain and now Australia. They have one match remaining, against China tomorrow, and seemed assured of advancing to the quarter-finals unless they concede a flood of goals against the Chinese.
But by finishing only midtable in their group they will face a more difficult quarter-final opponent. They have injury concerns too about their captain, Stacey Michelsen, who missed the Argentina game with injury, then resumed playing but sat out last night’s match.Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games