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Olympic Reports - Day 5
14 Aug 2008 02:18

© FIH / Jeroen van Bergen

In the day's opener, the Netherlands took a big step towards the semi-finals by defeating China 1:0 thanks to a Maartje Paumen first half penalty corner goal. In the second match, Germany took all three points against the USA with a 4:2 victory, meaning that they just need a draw against Argentina to secure a place in the Olympic semi finals. Spain took their first win of the Olympics, defeating Korea 2:1 in the first of the evening matches, while Argentina's 2:1 defeat of Japan ensures that their Olympic dream is still very much alive. Australia and Great Britain were also winners against South Africa and New Zealand respectively.

Netherlands defeat China 1:0 (1:0)

The day started off with the encounter between the Netherlands and China, in what is in all probability going to turn out to be a crucial encounter in the fight for the top positions in pool A of the women's competition.

China took their time to get their feet on the ground, clearly struggling with the improved standard of their opponents. The hosts had been able to dominate the teams in their earlier matches because they were fitter and better than them, but against the World Champions, it was a completely different situation, with the talented and athletic Dutch side putting them under considerable pressure.

The Netherlands dominated the first half but were denied time and again by Chinese goalkeeper Yimeng Zhang, who played a leading role for her side today, keeping them in the game with a number of fantastic saves.

Zhang could not entirely avoid the ball entering the net however, and the teams went into the half-time separated by a Maartje Paumen penalty corner, a fierce flick slotted under the crossbar.

After the break, the home team grew in confidence and had a number of excellent chances in the middle of the second half, but the experienced Dutch defense refused to give way easily. China were still able to create a number of excellent scoring opportunities, which really would have warranted the equalizer, but to no avail.

Holland held on to the scoreline, and with this victory manoeuvre themselves in the currently best position of the teams in pool A to reach the coveted semi-final spots.

Germany defeat USA 4:2 (1:1)

Germany women made it three wins from three games by defeating USA 4:2 in Pool B. Germany now just need a point against Argentina in their next match to secure a place in the semi-finals at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Goals from Natascha KELLER, Fanny RINNE, Marion RODEWALD and Anke KUEHN made the points safe for Germany.

USA opened the scoring in the 27th minute when Tiffany SNOW's quick reactions got the better of Kristina REYNOLDS in the Germany goal, instinctively tapping a loose ball past her head. Natascha KELLER levelled the scores shortly before half time with a brilliant individual strike, running with the ball from the half way line before firing a powerful reverse stick shot past USA keeper Amy TRAN. It was no more than she deserved, having been outstanding throughout the match for her side.

The early stages of the second half were dominated by USA, but Germany fought their way back and moved into a 2-1 lead when Fanny RINNE found the target from a penalty corner in the 49th minute. 2-1 soon became 3-1 in the 55th minute thanks to their captain Marion RODEWALD, who picked up a slip pass from the penalty corner at the post for an easy finish. USA pulled a goal back with ten minutes to go through Angela LOY, but Germany sealed the victory in the 63rd minute when Anke KUEHN drag-flicked a fourth goal for her country.  

Spain defeat Korea 2:1 (2:0)

Korea were defeated by Spain in the first of the evening matches here in Beijing, with Nuria CAMON and Pilar SANCHEZ both scoring goals to secure their first win at Beijing 2008. Korea dominated the latter stages of the match, but could not get an equalising goal thanks to some resilient Spanish defending.

Spain were in outstanding form in the first half, and deservingly took the lead in the 8th minute when Nuria Camon flicked high into the goal from a penalty corner. Pilar SANCHEZ made it 2:0 in the 22nd minute when she brilliantly deflected another penalty corner into the goal that Young Hui MOON had no chance of saving. Korea were struggling to impose themselves on the match, appearing to struggle with the rainy conditions. Korea’s best chance of the half fell to Jong Eun KIM, who smashed a reverse stick shot over the crossbar.  

Korea pulled a goal back through Jong Eun KIM in the 39th minute, cleverly deflecting a cross from Mi Seon KIM into the goal from close range. However, their recovery was halted in its tracks when Jeong Sook PARK was given a yellow card. Despite this, Korea continued to press forward and brought various saves from Maria Jesus ROSA in the Spanish goal. When PARK returned to the field, it seemed that Korea would eventually get the all-important equaliser, but a combination of solid Spanish defending and poor Korean finishing resulted in an important first win for Spain at these Games.

Before today, Spain had not managed to win any of their last nine Olympic hockey matches, a record that they can now finally forget.

Argentina defeat Japan 2:1 (0:0)

Japan held up well in today's game with Argentina, but eventually gave in to the Leonas' two second half goals that they could not keep up with.

After a goalless first half, in which the Argentines were clearly the better team and created plenty of opportunities, albeit fruitlessly, Alejandra Gulla released some of the tension with a deflection off a free hit that gave Argentina a well deserved lead and set them on the path to victory.

Claudia Burkart took the result to a safer level when she added a penalty corner goal on a variation some 13 minutes later, a goal the South Americans celebrated wildly.

As time wore on, Argentina kept dominating open play but turned a little sloppy. Japan made good use of this and won a penalty corner that yielded their first game when Keiko Miura hit the ball into the left bottom corner of the goal.

Japan went on to push hard for the elusive equalizer, and Argentina were struggling, especially when they suddenly found themselves one woman down when Alejandra Gulla picked up a yellow card with less than three minutes to go.

Nonetheless, Luciana Aymar's side held the score line, and the game ended with a 2-1 win for Argentina - finally, their first three points. An all-important win for the Champions Trophy holders, which puts them in a better position to reach the semi-finals than opponents Japan.

Australia defeat South Africa 3:0 (1:0)
Australia went top of the table with their 3:0 win over South Africa. Nikki Hudson, Angie Lambert and Casey Eastham all hit the target. It was another supremely professional performance from the Hockeyroos, with Hudson in particular looking back to her very best.
It was HUDSON who gave Australia the lead in the 10th minute with a darting run into the circle from the right. She clearly attempted to cross the ball, but the South Africa player standing on the goal line deflected it into her own net. The Hockeyroos had to wait until the 44th minute to get their second of the match, when Angie LAMBERT (formerly Skirving) sent a penalty stroke just inside the post. Goal number three arrived courtesy of Casey EASTHAM, who dragged the ball out from the backline only to be presented with a lose ball which she slammed into the goal emphatically.
3:0 was a comfortable scoreline for Australia, suggesting that they have plenty more in the tank for the big games ahead.

Great Britain defeat New Zealand 2:1 (1:1)

Great Britain claimed their first win of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games with a 2:1 win over New Zealand. Goals from GB’s Alex DANSON and Crista CULLEN came in response to a Gemma FLYNN opener for New Zealand, taking the side into fourth place in the table.

The Blacksticks went 1-0 up when Great Britain’s Anne PANTER deflected Lizzy IGASAN’s penalty corner strike directly to Gemma FLYNN who was waiting just outside the right post. FLYNN made no mistake, finishing well from a tight angle to give New Zealand a 1:0 lead in the 28th minute. Great Britain were back on level terms just three minutes later, when Alex DANSON showed all the qualities of a true goal-poacher, instinctively volleying a rising ball into the back of the net from close range.

Crista CULLEN’s winning goal arrived in the 50th minute, with a well-executed penalty corner variation that saw the ball slipped right and flicked into the bottom corner by the powerful defender. CULLEN ecstatic celebration indicated just how much the goal meant to both the team and to her personally. New Zealand chased hard to get an equaliser, but Great Britain were solid in defence and secured an important victory in their Olympic campaign.

2008 Olympic Games, Men - Beijing, China
Results Thursday August 14

China - Netherlands 0:1 (0:1)
NED Maartje PAUMEN (PC) 21min

USA – Germany 2:4 (1:1)
USA Tiffany SNOW (FG) 27min
GER Natascha KELLER (FG) 34min
GER Fanny FINNE (PC) 49min
GER Marion RODEWALD (PC) 55min
USA Angela LOY (PC) 60min
GER Anke KUEHN (PC) 64min

Spain – Korea 2:1 (2:0)
ESP  Nuria CAMON (PC) 8min
ESP  Pilar SANCHEZ (PC) 22min
KOR Jong Eun KIM (FG) 37min

Argentina - Japan 2:1 (0:0)
ARG Alejandra GULLA (FG) 38min
ARG Claudia BURKART (PC) 51min
JPN Keiko MIURA (PC) 64min

South Africa - Australia 0:3 (0:1)
AUS Nikki HUDSON (FG) 10min
AUS Angie LAMBERT (PS) 44min
AUS Casey EASTHAM (PC) 62min

New Zealand – Great Britain 1:2 (1:1)
NZL Gemma FLYNN (PC) 28min
GBR Alex DANSON (FG) 31min
GBR Crista CULLEN (PC) 50min


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