Friday, August 15, 2008

Olympic round-up: Day Five

In the women's third round of games, pre-tournament favourites Australia, the Netherlands and Germany took a big stride toward a semi-final place while the second spot in Pool B looks to go down to the wire with GB, Japan and Argentina - who got their first win - in contention.

In the day's opener, the Netherlands defeated China 1-0 thanks to a Maartje Paumen first half penalty corner goal to end the hosts 100% record and maintain their own.

The Netherlands dominated the first half but Chinese goalkeeper Yimeng Zhang played a leading role, her side in the game with a number of fantastic saves and whilst the score was tight, there was no particularly hairy moments.

Australia took top-spot in the table with a 3-0 win over South Africa. Nikki Hudson, Angie Lambert and Casey Eastham all hit the target in a supremely professional performance from the Hockeyroos, with Hudson in particular looking back to her very best. Holland and the Ozzies look comfortable but a win for either in their match-up on Saturday could throw a lifeline China's way.

In the battle for the minor placings in the group, Spain beat Korea 2-1, 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.

They pulled a goal back through Jong Eun Kim in the 39th minute, cleverly deflecting a cross from Mi Seon Kim but it was not enough as their momentum was bogged down by indiscipline.

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

Pool A (Points, goal difference) 1. Australia (9, +9), 2. Netherlands (9, +8), 3. China (6, +5), 4. Spain (3, -7), 5. Korea (0, -3), 6. South Africa (0, -12)

In Pool B, Germany made it three wins from three games by defeating USA 4-2. They now just need a point against Argentina in their next match to secure a place in the semi-finals. Goals from Natascha Keller, Fanny Rinne, Marion Rodewald and Anke Kuehn made the points safe for Germany.
Beneath them, the table is bubbling up nicely. Argentina beat Japan 2-1 for their first win of the campaign to jump into second place. Las Leonas' two second half goals grabbed the points after a goalless first half, in which the Argentines were clearly the better team.

Alejandra Gulla released the tension with a deflection that gave Argentina a well deserved lead before Claudia Burkart took the result to a safer level, 2-0. Keiko Miura pulled one back with six minutes to go as Argentina's nerves began to resurface, Gulla picking up a late yellow.

Great Britain also got their first win, with a come-from-behind win over New Zealand 2-1. GB’s Alex Danson and Crista Cullen came in response to Gemma Flynn's opener for New Zealand, taking the side into fourth place in the table.
Argentina, now, have the advantage on points but still have to play Germany as do Japan while GB have the easiest final two games on paper against USA and Japan leaving every result vital from here on in.

Pool B 1. Germany (9, +7), 2. Argentina (5, +1), 3. Japan (4, 0), 4. Great Britain (4, -3), 5. USA (2, -2), 6. New Zealand (0, -3)

No comments: