The New Zealand women’s hockey team’s march towards the semi-finals was slowed today when they lost to Spain 2-1.

It was a frustrating game for the surprisingly lacklustre New Zealanders, who were unable to assert themselves until the final quarter.

Spain took the lead after six minutes with a goal to Belen Iglesia Marcos, who calmly dispatched the ball past New Zealand goalie Grace O’Hanlon. Things got grimmer for New Zealand when Lola Riera Zuzuarregui added a second in the 17th minute from a penalty corner.

It wasn’t really happening for New Zealand until a slice of fortune led to their only goal. In the 35th minute, Kelsey Smith fired a cross through the circle and it was deflected by a Spanish defender into the goal.

That seemed to put a bit more pep into the New Zealand effort, but Rose Keddell and Hope Ralph shot unsuccessfully. Though New Zealand attacked with intent in the fourth quarter, they were unable to equalise and Spain held on for their first win of the tournament.

The statistics favoured Spain, who had more shots at goal (11 to 7), more field goal attempts (7 to 5) and earned more penalty corners (4 to 2).

The result is not fatal to New Zealand’s chances, but they are yet to play table-topping Australia and China, so the path will be challenging.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games
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