Rio 2016 | Zalewski & Whetton put Australia back on track in men's hockey on Day 5

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Rio 2016 | Zalewski & Whetton put Australia back on track in men's hockey on Day 5

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Press Release


There were two crucial men’s Pool A matches on day five of the hockey competition at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, with Oceania giants Australia and New Zealand getting important wins as the race for the quarter-final places continued.

Arguably the biggest game was the meeting between Great Britain (FIH Hero World Ranking: 4) and reigning World champions Australia (WR: 1), with the former starting the day third in the standings, one place above a Kookaburras team that had suffered defeats at the hands of Spain and Belgium in their previous two Pool A encounters.

The match was fiercely contested throughout, with little to choose between the sides until the fourth quarter when Australia’s Aran Zalewski benefitted from some superb attacking play from Daniel Beale to break the deadlock in the 50th minute. The Kookaburras added a second five minutes later, with Jake Whetton tapping in from close range after a devastating break forward. Ashley Jackson slammed home a penalty corner for Great Britain in the dying minutes, but it was the Australians who secured a massive victory in their bid to add a second Olympic gold medal to the one they claimed at the Athens 2004 Games.  

While Australia’s title challenge is very much back on track, Great Britain must now get a positive result against Spain – who have won all three of their Pool A games to date – in their one remaining pool match if they are to have any chance of reaching the last eight.

Great Britain now find themselves sitting fifth in the Pool A standings, behind New Zealand (WR: 8), who powered to a 9-0 victory over Brazil (WR: 30) earlier in the evening, on goal difference. The Black Sticks scored in all four quarters to dominate the hosts, with Nick Wilson helping himself to a four-goal haul. Simon Child, Shay Neal, Kane Russell, Stephen Jenness and Nic Woods also registered to massively boost New Zealand’s goal difference, something which could prove crucial when the pool phase comes to a close. New Zealand face current table-toppers Belgium in their final pool match, knowing that a place in the Quarter-Finals hinges on the outcome.

For Brazil, the result ended any hopes of a place in the last eight, and must now face a resurgent Kookaburras team in their final pool match. 

Belgium and Spain, who occupy the top two positions in Pool A, go head-to-head on Thursday (11th August). Both Belgium and Spain have already secured a safe passage through to the Quarter-Final phase, with Germany and the Netherlands having done the same in Pool B.

Rio 2016 Olympic Games Hockey (men) - Day 5Results

Pool ANew Zealand 9, Brazil 0; Great Britain 1, Australia 2.

Pool BNo matches played.

In women's hockey, reigning Olympic and World champions the Netherlands (FIH Hero World Ranking: 1) continue to lead the way in the Pool A standings, but were given a stern test by Beijing 2008 Olympic silver medallists China (WR: 6) before eventually taking a 1-0 win thanks to a late strike from Kitty van Male. A strong defensive performance put China within touching distance of a point against their illustrious opponents before Van Male struck with one minute of the match remaining, putting the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic gold medallists into the Quarter-Final with two matches to spare. A win for China in either of their last two Pool A matches would be enough for them to secure a place in the last eight.

Earlier in the day, Germany (WR: 9) continued their impressive start at Rio 2016 by claiming their second win of Pool A, defeating Asian champions Korea (WR: 8) 2-0 to book their place in the Quarter-Finals. The match seemed to be heading for a draw until two goals arrived in the final five minutes, with Hannah Krüger and Lisa Altenburg both hitting the target as Die Danas held onto second place in the Pool A standings. Although a top four placing in the pool is now guaranteed, they will be determined to claim a top two finish in order to avoid the highest Pool B finishers in the Quarter-Final crossovers.

New Zealand (WR: 4) finished the day occupying third position in Pool A thanks to a hard-earned 2-1 win over Spain (WR: 14). Kelsey Smith scored both goals for the Black Sticks, with Carlotta Petchame grabbing a late consolation for the Red Sticks. New Zealand sit six points clear of bottom sides Spain and Korea, and are looking good for a place in the Quarter-Finals. Barcelona 1992 Olympic gold medallists Spain need to defeat both Germany and Korea in their two remaining pool matches if they are to have any chance of reaching the last eight.

In Pool B, Great Britain and USA continued their imperious form by recording third successive wins to guarantee their respective places in the Rio 2016 Quarter-Finals.

Two goals from Helen Richardson-Walsh helped Great Britain (WR: 7) storm into a 3-0 lead against higher-ranked Argentina (WR: 2), although two goals in two third quarter minutes from Las Leonas star Florencia Habif set up a thrilling final period. Despite Richardson-Walsh missing a penalty stroke that would have sealed her hat-trick, Great Britain hung on for a superb victory over the 2016 Hockey Champions Trophy winners to finish the day with a maximum nine points from three matches.

Speaking after the game, Helen Richardson-Walsh said: “Beating a team like Argentina gives us a lot of confidence. I don't think we're firing on all cylinders yet. Obviously they came back, but towards the end of the game it felt pretty comfortable and so we can take a lot of confidence from that. However, this tournament, with the quarterfinals, once you get to those games anything can happen.”

Like Great Britain, USA (WR: 5) have been absolutely sensational at Rio 2016 and sealed their place in the Quarter-Finals with a third straight win by thrashing Japan’s Cherry Blossoms (WR: 10) 6-1. Katie Bam scored a hat-trick as the team coached by Craig Parnham dominated from start to finish. The result put USA onto nine points, ahead of Great Britain courtesy of a marginally superior goal difference.

Remarkably, both Great Britain and USA are six points clear at the top of the Pool B standings with two rounds of matches to play, meaning that a top two finish is highly likely. The two sides face each otheron Saturday (13th August) in a match that is likely to decide who takes that crucial first place finish in the pool.

Australia (WR: 3) were also in action on day five, and finally found their form with a thumping 6-1 triumph over India’s Eves (WR: 13). Five different players scored for the Oceania champions, with Jodie Kenny (2), Kathryn Slattery, Georgina Morgan, Jane-Anne Claxton and Georgie Parker on target. The result gave the Hockeyroos their first points of the competition and saw them finish the day sitting third in Pool B, ahead of fourth placed Argentina – who they face on Thursday (11 August) – on goal difference.

Rio 2016 Olympic Games Hockey (women) – Day 5

ResultsPool ASpain 1, New Zealand 2; Germany 2, Korea 0; China 0, Netherlands 1.

Pool BIndia 1, Australia 6; Great Britain 3, Argentina 2; USA 6, Japan 1.

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