South Africa vs. New Zealand: 1-4 (half-time: 0-3)
New Zealand cruised to its second win of this Olympics with a 4-1 victory against South Africa. It was the second loss for the South Africans, who have conceded 11 goals in their first two outings.
New Zealand did not waste time to stake their claim on the game, forcing a penalty-corner on their first attack. It was perfectly executed, birthday girl Charlotte Harrison deflecting from close range the initial shot by Kayla Sharland. They then had four unsuccessful penalty-corner attempts before Clarissa Eshuis finally scored on the next one with a direct shot to widen the gap to two goals.
The Black Sticks had a good handle on the game and the South Africans were struggling to get out of their own half. On one of their lone incursions in New Zealand territory, Pietie Coetzee showed why she is a lethal goal hunter, nearly scoring from an innocuous chance created by a pass from Marsha Marescia. The next goal was however again for New Zealand, after a long video-referral to decide if Kayla Sharland’s shot was indeed within the shooting circle.
The second period started with a chance for Coetzee well handled by Bianca Russell in goal for New Zealand. South Africa pushed valiantly to create opportunities and were rewarded by a penalty-stroke when Jennifer Wilson was fouled in the circle. Coetzee scored to celebrate her 250th appearance in a South African jersey in style.
The Black Sticks weathered the storm and Sharland promptly re-established the three-goal lead with a powerful reverse shot blasted from a narrow angle. Theyearned some mixed reaction from the crowd when they started to waste time in the final minutes despite their comfortable lead, but were happy to end the day with maximum points in Pool B standings.
Before the match, Coetzee was honored for her 250th international Cap.
For more information on RSA v NZL, click here.
Argentina v. United States 0-1(half-time 0-1)
The women’s Olympic tournament had its first major upset today when the United States topped defending World Champion Argentina 1-0 in Pool B action. The win splits both teams’ records as each now have a win and a loss.
The meeting highly anticipated as billed as the grudge match after the Americans topped Argentina 4-2 in the final game of the Pan American games to earn their berth to London. That win was one of the biggest upsets that Argentina had ever suffered at the continental level and many expected the Argentines to extract their revenge today.
But America made it two in a row today and staked its claim in both this London tournament and back home in the Pan American continent.
The pace of the first half was quick with the teams evenly matched, but it was the Americans that always seemed to have the upper hand. With seven minutes left in the half, the U.S. was rewarded for its efforts when Michelle Vittese threaded a nice pass to Shannon Taylor who made a sprawling effort for the tip-in goal and the early 1-0 lead.
The Americans opened the second half with three straight unsuccessful penalty corners, and spent the rest of the half fending off an increasingly dangerous Argentine attack. But despite some fantastic opportunities, Argentina could not find a way to get on the board as Lauren Crandall earned her keep and helped the Americans hold on for the 1-0 victory.
For more information on ARG vs. USA, click here.
Germany vs. Australia 3-1 (half-time 1-1)
Australia picked up its first points at the 2012 Olympics after a 3-1 win against Germany. The game was the second surprise of the day in the competitive Group B after the Americans defeated Argentina.
Germany got on the board nine minutes into action, cleanly converting its first penalty corner chance of the game. Katharina Otte played put in the 1-0 goal from the post, silencing the strong contingent of Australian fans.
Australia perked up after falling behind and peppered the German goal. Their efforts were finally reward when Hope Munro tied the game at one after putting in a rebound. This time it was Germany’s turn to bump their efforts up a notch and they did just that, spending the rest of the half, especially the last five minutes keeping Australian goalkeeper Toni Cronk on her toes. But Cronk held her ground and both teams had to settle for a 1.1 draw at the break.
Australia took its first lead of the game 10 minutes into the second half when Anna Flanagan fired the ball into the upper corner of the net on a short corner chance. The lead doubled within another ten minutes when Fiona Boyce deflected in the 3-1 goal on a penalty corner shot by Flanagan.
Australia’s win creates a traffic jam of teams sitting at three points. Argentina, Germany, USA and Australia are all tied with three points in the tightly packed Group B. New Zealand leads the group with six points and South Africa is bringing up the rear with no points.
For more information on GER vs. AUS, click here.
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