New Zealand were beaten 2-1 by China today, but still advanced to the women’s hockey quarter-finals.
The New Zealanders were fairly assured of progressing, as long as they did not allow in a flood of goals.
From the New Zealand pool, Australia, Argentina and Spain were the top three finishers and New Zealand finished level with China, advancing on goal difference.
In the quarter-finals on Monday, New Zealand faces the Netherlands or Germany, the top teams from the other pool.
China dominated the New Zealanders today. It showed in the statistics, where they had 22 shots at goal to New Zealand’s 10, and 13 penalty corners to New Zealand’s 3. The Chinese had far more possession and made twice as many attacking incursions into the opposition circle.
China also had several referral decisions for goals go against them. They looked more potent for most of the match.
The Chinese forced a succession of penalty corners in the early stages of the game, but New Zealand scored first when Ella Gunson converted a penalty corner in the 20th minute. They weren’t ahead long - China equalised in the 24th minute with a goal to Liu Meng.
In the 37th minute China’s Yang Chen finally converted a penalty corner to take the lead, but on the stroke of 45 minutes Rose Keddell pulled the New Zealanders level again with a nicely taken field shot that she slotted to her left.
China had much the better of the final quarter but managed only one goal, to Liang Melyu.
The New Zealanders were certainly given a thorough test – goalie Grace O’Hanlon saw three goals go past her but made eight saves and was generally sharp and effective.
They will want to regroup before their quarter-final and certainly they will want to make better use of the tine they are in possession of the ball.Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games