The New Zealand men’s hockey team are walking a tightrope as they target a spot in the Olympic quarter-finals.
The competition is split into two groups of six, with four from each to advance to the quarter-finals. At present New Zealand have played four matches for a win, a draw and two losses. Their final match, on Friday evening, is against Argentina, who they’re jostling with for the prized fourth spot.
New Zealand were hoping for an upset win over the world’s No1-ranked Australians in the late game yesterday, but went down 4-2.
Australia generally built more attacks – three of their four goals were field goals and they made 21 attacking penetrations in the New Zealand circle, compared to nine achieved by New Zealand.
In the first quarter Tim Brand opened the scoring for Australia in the ninth minute, but a Kane Russell penalty corner goal levelled the scores at 1-1, which is how it stayed until the final quarter.
Then there was a splurge of four goals in eight minutes. Unfortunately the Australians scored the first three of them, so by the time Russell converted a second penalty corner in the 58th minute, it was too late.
The New Zealand team is not far away, and showed patches of quality against Australia. They’ll be hoping they can put it together when it counts against Argentina.
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games