|August 4th, 2012|
|23||Pool B||7:00pm||USA - NZL||2 - 3 (2 - 2)||Final|
A Clarissa Eshuis drag-flick five minutes from time fired New Zealand to a crucial win over USA that keeps them very much alive in the semi-final hunt. That it took so long for the critical goal to finally come was a surprise as the kiwis pace and guile up front should have had them clear earlier but for the goalkeeping exploits of Amy Swensen.
She saved a glut of chances to keep the US in the hunt, grabbing two equalisers in the first half to cancel out strikes from Kayla Sharland and Gemma Flynn. But Eshuis got the only goal of the second half to claim a third New Zealand win of the campaign. They wasted no time in establishing a lead, Kayla Sharland sweeping home – via a defender’s stick – from a penalty corner just 70 seconds in.
Their direct running, especially down the right flank, was causing all manner of problems with Alicia Punt to the fore. But they were stunned by the concession of a 17th minute equaliser as Katie O’Donnell impudently snuck a stick in to flip the ball over Bianca Russell. The chance appeared to have petered out after Paige Selenski’s great run but Melody Cooper dallied allowing the striker to nip in. New Zealand’s lead was restored soon after as another Sharland shot created havoc, pinballing off a defender to Stacey Michelsen to volley across goal to Gemma Flynn to tap in. The US argued danger but the video review denied that avenue.
Amy Swensen kept the US in the tie with saves from Punt and Katie Glynn while Samantha Harrison swept over a gilt-edge chance. But, once again, the Americans sucker-punched. First, Michelle Kasold’s strike just got away from Shannon Taylor a yard out before Claire Laubach levelled in the 33rd minute. She did not seem to get full power behind her corner push but it ricocheted off Russell and her post-woman to dribble over the line.
The second half was equally open with the black sticks making most of the play after an early flurry from Paige Selenski and Michelle Kasold. Glynn again drew a fine reactions save from Swensen while Charlotte Harrison smashed the post from a corner rebound. A third goal was disallowed on umpire’s referral when Stacey Michelson – twice sin-binned in the game, too – fired a high reverse which Glynn redirected into the goal. That touch was deemed dangerous by the video umpire to keep New Zealand nervy for the closing phases.
But Eshuis came to the rescue from the sixth corner, a key goal to push her side up to nine points and ahead of Australia on goal difference.
Gemma FLYNN (NZL), on narrowly beating USA: "We just kept at it and didn't give up. It's great to have the three points. It was a bit closer than we would have liked but we have come away with the win and that's what we set out to do."
On how much the win means to her: "Quite a lot. It gets us up and running for the semifinals. We have got a big game next (against Germany on Monday) but we are in good stead now."
Stacey MICHELSEN (NZL), on the improvement of the USA team: "They have definitely improved since we first played them in a test series, so we knew it would be a tough match. We should have put away a lot more opportunities in the first half which would have put us in a better position going into the second half though."
Katie O'DONNELL (USA), on what USA coach Lee BODIMEADE said to the team at the end of the match: "It doesn't stop here. There are still two games left and we have everything to prove in them. We want to go out with the highest possible scores and with our heads held high."
On USA's strengths: "Speed and naivety. We're not scared of reputations, we don't put anyone on a pedastal. We keep playing our game and go out to win every time."
On USA failing to progress into the next round: "It's a pretty tough loss. Coming into the tournament we had really high expectations and we are falling short of those expectations. But it doesn't stop now. We've lost a game, we're not going into the medal rounds, but we move forward and we still have to win the rest of our games and finish as high as we can."
Claire LAUBACH (USA), on how USA approached the game against NZL and the result: "We knew it would be a tough game and of course the result was not what we wanted. We are a close team and often drawn closer in defeat. We didn't get ahead of ourselves though. We played our game, the best we could and we feel we have nothing to prove. We have more games to go and we will do our best."
|August 04th, 2012 at 1:02 pm||New Zealand have wasted no time, scoring after 70 seconds vs USA with Sharland, NZL 1 USA 0, 2mins|
|August 04th, 2012 at 1:06 pm||Umpires for the NZL vs USA game are C de la Fuente (ARG) and HY Kang (KOR)|
|August 04th, 2012 at 1:08 pm||New Zealand finding plenty of joy down the right wing, using that avenue of attack three times, winning two corners, NZ 1 US 0|
|August 04th, 2012 at 1:13 pm||Glynn embarks on a powerful run, her cross-shot just evades C Harrison at the back post, USA 0 NZL 1, 14mins|
|August 04th, 2012 at 1:18 pm||O'Donnell levels with a cheeky finish after Selenski's brilliant run down the left, NZL 1 USA 1|
|August 04th, 2012 at 1:22 pm||On review, NZ back in front, Flynn volleys home after pinball in the circle, Sharland and Michelsen involved, NZ 2 US 1, 19mins|
|August 04th, 2012 at 1:24 pm||Great move from Glynn to Eshuis, her smash at goal is well saved by Swensen brilliantly, NZL 2 USA 1, 21mins|
|August 04th, 2012 at 1:25 pm||Another huge save required from Swensen as NZ again clean through with Punt shooting, all action, NZ 2 USA 1, 22mins|
|August 04th, 2012 at 1:35 pm||NZ's direct running creating umpteen chances, Glynn, Punt and S Harrison all with good openings, NZ 2 USA 1, 31mins|
|August 04th, 2012 at 1:36 pm||Now USA miss a great chance, Kasold hits to Taylor but she can't get the ball from her feet from a metre out, NZ 2 USA 1, 33mins|
|August 04th, 2012 at 1:38 pm||Laubach equalises again, this time for a corner; a switch which bounces off GK and defender and in, NZ 2 USA 2, 34mins|
|August 04th, 2012 at 1:39 pm||Half-time: USA 2 (O'Donnell, Laubach) NZL 2 (Sharland, Flynn); Michelsen given a yellow on the hooter, cracking match!|
|August 04th, 2012 at 1:51 pm||Second half just underway, NZ win puts them into the top two; a US win gets them back in contention for the final four|
|August 04th, 2012 at 2:01 pm||USA start the second half in assertive fashion, Selenski and Kasold have creative some great chances so far, USA 2 NZL 2, 47mins|
|August 04th, 2012 at 2:09 pm||C Harrison hits the post with a rasping pc rebound to see the tie remain level, NZ 2 USA 2, 55mins|
|August 04th, 2012 at 2:17 pm||NZ have a third goal disallowed, Michelsen reverse goes high and Glynn deflects just over shoulder height, NZ 2 US 2, 61mins|
|August 04th, 2012 at 2:21 pm||Eshuis finally drags NZ in front after a wealth of chances, a low flick which Swensen got a knee to, 65mins, NZ 3 USA 2|
|August 04th, 2012 at 2:21 pm||USA have pulled their keeper for the last five minutes with Crandall making it 11 outfielders, NZ 3 USA 2, 66mins|
|August 04th, 2012 at 2:23 pm||Michelsen gets yellow for slowing play, NZ down to ten for last four mins, NZ 3 USA 2, 67mins|
|August 04th, 2012 at 2:27 pm||Final score: New Zealand 3 USA 2, lots of late drama as C Harrison almost makes it 4-2|
|August 04th, 2012 at 2:28 pm||They made it hard work but New Zealand won this lively tie, their third win to move joint top of Pool B with Australia for now|
|August 04th, 2012 at 2:29 pm||For the US, their semi-final dream is over and face a battle to move above fifth place in Pool B for the rankings matches|