|August 10th, 2012|
|37||Bronze||3:30pm||NZL - GBR||1 - 3 (0 - 0)||Final|
Great Britain claimed their first women’s Olympic medal since 1992 as their penalty corner machine put paid to New Zealand’s brave efforts, themselves producing their best ever performance at the Games.
The hosts pulled all their switches out of the bag for Alex Danson, Crista Cullen and Sarah Thomas to all chip in gleefully received second half goals. In doing so, they recorded their second medal since women’s hockey was brought into the Games in 1980.
The first-half ended scoreless with Britain setting most of the tempo but struggling to find their forward runners in the circle. When they did, Hannah MacLeod and Alex Danson raised the crowd’s decibel levels, winning a couple of corners but Bianca Russell produced two decent saves to keep out Crista Cullen.
New Zealand, meanwhile, were lively down the right flank with Krystal Forgesson creating a couple of chances. From Stacey Michelsen’s lay-off, she struck the outside of the goal while she found Cullen’s foot to win her side’s only corner a minute before the break. The deflection move between Clarissa Eshuis and Charlotte Harrison did not quite connect.
And the bruised Katie Glynn – her stitch-protecting head-gear developing a fan club of its own – came within centimetres of earning the lead 40 seconds into the second half. Cathryn Finlayson’s left wing charge bounced her way and she wrong-footed Beth Storry but the ball bounced onto the face of the post just as the kiwi striker began to celebrate.
From there, however, GB were in the box seat and a wealth of second half penalty corners eventually took their toll. Danson won her side’s third from which the wide push-out created a brilliant angle for captain Kate Walsh to push to the flick spot where Danson was sliding in. Her touch was perfect and created a lead her side were not to relinquish.
The game was made safe with two more corner goals between the 59th and 63rd minutes as Cullen took the direct route and, amid a whirlwind phase, MacLeod won a corner which Walsh again located a deflector, this time Sarah Thomas on the mark.
New Zealand got a consolation when Michelsen tipped in an Eshuis’ drive. Their tournament performance proved the biggest rise from one tournament to the next, jumping from 12th in 2008 in Beijing to fourth this time round – a result which also lifts them to third in the world rankings.
But this was GB’s party in front of their raucous fans, equaling their best ever Olympic result as the union jacks waved proudly in every corner of the packed Riverbank Arena.
Danny KERRY (GBR)
On how he feels after Great Britain won a bronze medal: "I'm just really content, it was a lot of hard work. I thought the girls were incredibly thorough and professional. I asked them to play a particular way which doesn't suit us that much, but it was the best way to play against New Zealand, and they were deserving winners today. They didn't allow New Zealand to create opportunities which they have done against every other team. We executed on our corners, bar one. That's seven-and-a-half years of my life, just a contentment."
On the secret to building a close-knit group of players: "The very honest answer is I learned hard from my mistakes in the last Olympics. Leading up to Beijing, I was classically a coach who was driven by understanding hockey better than the opposition coach, and I completely and utterly ignored the most important asset which is your players and your other staff. I tried to defeat the world on hockey alone."
"It was a very tough review process after the Beijing Games. People told me a few home-truths about my way of working. At the time I felt betrayed because I felt I'd given everything to everybody and people were anonymously saying things about me which I didn't feel were actually me at all, it was just my 'work-me'. So it was a process of trying to understand myself better and therefore being able to work better with others."
"I realised how essential that was and so I then set about trying to do that with the girls as well. We went on a systematic process of trying to raise much more self-awareness within the girls. It's been pretty tough. It's not an easy thing to do. You don't often hear about this in high performance sport, you tend to hear about technique, tactics, training hard. The reality is the people who win medals, it just comes down to some character, and being willing to accept you have to change. As a head coach, I had to change and work hard, and work better with everybody. I started to see the results, so I thought 'why not do it with the girls?'. That's why we're such a close group."
Mark HAGER (AUS) - coach
On New Zealand's performance today: "We were outplayed for the whole game, I think. That had to do with discipline, we had people not running in the right spots. But all credit to Great Britain, they were the better team by far today."
On Great Britain's performance today: "They were desperate, they came to the ball first, they won the 50/50s and then the crowd started roaring. When that happens we tend to struggle, they manipulated us too well. We haven't played like we played the rest of the week. We had players thinking it was going to happen, instead of making it happen. Because we had such a good tournament and a great game against the Netherlands, we thought it would just flow on. So unfortunately, we learned that lesson today."
"When I see Kate WALSH with her broken jaw diving into the defensive circle, it is obvious that they are desperate and really want it. We couldn't turn it around."
Kate WALSH (GBR) - bronze
On winning bronze: "I don't think it's going to hit me for a couple of weeks to be honest. I've been so focused on our job that I don't think I've thought about anything other than the next game, recovery and the next game after that. Once I stand on that podium I think it may hit me and a couple of weeks later it's going to sink in."
On what happened between the semifinal and today's match: "We were heartbroken after our semifinal. The team was devastated. People couldn't talk. They were absolutely gutted. Everything we dreamed of was that gold medal. We knew we couldn't get it, but we vowed that we weren't going to go home empty-handed. We knew that we had the game. We knew that we had the mental capacity. We just had to put it all together."
On who she will dedicate her medal to: "The squad first of all. We've got a squad of 28. They've all been stood up there cheering us on and that's hard. Those girls missed out on a place in the squad. We did it for them. Also our friends and family who we've put through the mill at times. We've been so focused on our job and everything gets put by the wayside."
Katie GLYNN (NZL)
On New Zealand's performance: "We just sat back in the first half and were not our normal, aggressive selves. It is hard to reflect on this, it could turn out to be a left out opportunity. We made it into this match, so at least we've got that to be proud of."
On their future: "We will have a break before we regroup and continue training with this team."
Gemma FLYNN (NZL)
On the loss: "There wasn't much in it, but they came out firing, took their corners and the crowd helped them a little bit as well today. We were pumped up and up for it, and if that ball hadn't of hit the post it would have put us in the right direction, but it just didn't fall our way today."
On New Zealand's overall performance in the tournament: "It is a pretty hollow feeling coming fourth as we were so close, but we'll take a lot from it, in particular the importance of basics."
On New Zealand's improved position in the world ranking: "We did want a medal and that was our goal, so coming just short of it is pretty disappointing. Overall, it's good to have moved up in the rankings. We've moved forward as a unit but it didn't work for us in the way we wanted, so it is pretty hard to be happy at this stage as it is so raw."
|August 10th, 2012 at 9:17 am||Bronze medal match between New Zealand and Great Britain just about to start at the Riverbank Arena in London|
|August 10th, 2012 at 9:17 am||Umpires for NZL vs. GBR are Soledad IPARRAGUIRRE (ARG) and Chieko SOMA (JPN)|
|August 10th, 2012 at 9:23 am||Laura Bartlett (GBR) is honored before the match for her 50th Cap for Great Britain (she also has 56 for Scotland)|
|August 10th, 2012 at 9:24 am||New Zealand lost in semi-final to The Netherlands after prolongation (2-2) and shoot-outs (1-3)|
|August 10th, 2012 at 9:25 am||Great Britain lost in semi-final to World Champion Argentina (1-2)|
|August 10th, 2012 at 9:30 am||Princess Kate is attending the match!|
|August 10th, 2012 at 9:37 am||Both teams are tentative in this beginning of match. GBR is pushing harder, with a few incursions in Kiwis circle|
|August 10th, 2012 at 9:41 am||Black Sticks play calmly. Krystal Forgesson is left alone in the circle and unleashes a surprise shot just wide. NZL-GBR 0-0|
|August 10th, 2012 at 9:45 am||Penalty-corner for GBR after a dangerous clearance by the NZL keeper. Crista Cullen's direct shot is saved and cleared.|
|August 10th, 2012 at 9:50 am||Gemma Flynn finds Katie Glynn in the circle. She tries to turn but is swamped by defenders before shooting. NZL-GBR 0-0|
|August 10th, 2012 at 9:51 am||2nd penalty-corner for GBR: Crista Cullen's low flick is inches wide. NZL-GBR 0-0 after 22mn|
|August 10th, 2012 at 9:55 am||NZL is getting more pressing in the last few minutes. They play very collectively and run less with the ball than GBR|
|August 10th, 2012 at 10:02 am||4 minutes to go. Play is less intense in this end of period. Both teams are cautious. NZL-GBR 0-0|
|August 10th, 2012 at 10:04 am||Penalty-corner for NZL with 1 minute on the clock.|
|August 10th, 2012 at 10:06 am||NZL try a deflection to Charlotte Harrison on the post but she sends the ball just wide.|
|August 10th, 2012 at 10:06 am||Half-time with no goal between New Zealand and Great Britain in this Bronze Medal match|
|August 10th, 2012 at 10:15 am||2nd period under way. 35mn to a Bronze Medal. Or will we need to go to overtime and shoot-out? NZL-GBR 0-0|
|August 10th, 2012 at 10:17 am||In the opening minute, Cathryn Finlayson (NZL) finds Katie Glynn. Her deflection hits the post.|
|August 10th, 2012 at 10:26 am||After a long run by Alex Danson on the right, a messy situation in the NZL leads to a penalty-corner for GBR|
|August 10th, 2012 at 10:27 am||Alex Danson deflects on the post the initial shot by Kate Walsh. The crowd erupts! NZL-GBR 0-1 with 25mn togo|
|August 10th, 2012 at 10:28 am||The Brits are suddenly flying high, buoyed by a crowd in 7th heaven.|
|August 10th, 2012 at 10:32 am||Reaction by the Black Sticks. They earn a penalty-corner, but GBR appeal to the video-umpire.|
|August 10th, 2012 at 10:32 am||Penalty-corner stays. GBR lose their right to video-referral.|
|August 10th, 2012 at 10:33 am||NZL scramble the penalty-corner. NZL-GBR still 0-1 with 20mn to go|
|August 10th, 2012 at 10:37 am||The NZL defense struggles. Another penalty-corner for GBR but they also scramble it. NZL-GBR 0-1 15mn to go|
|August 10th, 2012 at 10:38 am||Each touch of the ball by a GBR player is now assisted by a huge roar from the crowd.|
|August 10th, 2012 at 10:41 am||Another penalty-corner for GBR. Can the make it count this time?|
|August 10th, 2012 at 10:43 am||No finess this time. Crista Cullen slams the ball in goal to increase the lead to 2 goals and 10 minutes to go. NZL-GBR 0-2|
|August 10th, 2012 at 10:44 am||Princess Kate is showed on the giant screen cheerfully applauding the goal.|
|August 10th, 2012 at 10:47 am||yet another penalty-corner for GBR: Kate Walsh passes to Sarah Thomas on the post for the deflection. NZL-GBR 0-3|
|August 10th, 2012 at 10:48 am||Down 3-goal with 6 minutes to go, there does not seem to be a way back in the match for New Zealand|
|August 10th, 2012 at 10:52 am||New Zealand pull back a penalty-corner goal by Stacey Michelsen. NZL-GBR 1-3|
|August 10th, 2012 at 10:54 am||One minute to go. The crowd is standing and singing. The British women have their medal!|
|August 10th, 2012 at 10:56 am||GBR earns their first medal since the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona and finish 1 step higher than their entry ranking (4th)|
|August 10th, 2012 at 10:57 am||New Zealand finish 4th after a strong tournament. They finish two spots higher than their entry ranking of 6th.|
|August 10th, 2012 at 10:58 am||NZL have the largest improvement between 2 Olympics, going from 12th in Beijing (2008) to 4th in London|