NZ Men book place in quarter finals
NZ-Men-book-place-in-quarter-finalsThe NZ Men have pulled off an outstanding 3-1 win over Belgium to secure a place in the Rio quarter finals
The New Zealand Men have pulled off an outstanding 3-1 win over Belgium to secure a place in the quarter finals at the Rio Olympic Games.
It was a heroic effort from the Kiwis who needed at least a draw against the previously unbeaten Belgium side to avoid elimination from the tournament.
Following a scoreless first half, the flood gates opened with goals from Simon Child, Nick Wilson and Hugo Inglis guiding New Zealand into the top four of Pool A, with Great Britain and Brazil eliminated.
New Zealand are likely to meet Germany in the men’s quarter finals on Monday (NZ time), with the full schedule to be released at the conclusion of all pool matches.
It was a clash to remember for midfielder Arun Panchia who played his 200th international in the Kiwis’ first win against Belgium since 2011.
Head coach Colin Batch said his side really stepped up in the face of immense pressure.
“It’s one of our best ever performances under that sort of pressure,” he said.
“We were patient in what we were doing and denied them on penalty corners which set a strong platform for us going forward.
“The players were responsible for a large part of the planning coming into this game so it was pleasing that everyone was onboard, focussed and had belief in what we were going to achieve tonight.”
Striker Hugo Inglis, who scored his side’s third goal in stunning style, said it’s a result that gives the Kiwis confidence going into the quarters.
“We stuck to task really well, first half they had a lot of possession but we weathered the storm and pulled off a good win,” he said.
“Our press worked really well in the second half, we got them stuck running on the outside and managed to create some steals which helped our attack.”
Belgium had the edge with plenty of possession in the opening quarter but were unable to get past a determined New Zealand defence.
Still scoreless at halftime, the Kiwis drew first blood in the 31st minute when Child connected with a superb forehand shot from a penalty corner variation.
Five minutes later the lead was doubled with Nick Wilson receiving a great pass from James Coughlan before smashing the ball into the back of the goal.
Inglis all but sealed the result nine minutes from fulltime after a brilliant solo run saw him weave through traffic before slipping a shot past the goalkeeper.
Belgium scored a consolation goal with just two minutes on the clock with a strike from Florent van Aubel.
Meanwhile the New Zealand Women, who have also qualified for the quarter finals, play their last pool match against China at 11:30am tomorrow (NZ time), with live coverage on SKY Sport 4.
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New Zealand 3: (Simon Child, Nick Wilson, Hugo Inglis)
Belgium 1: (Florent van Aubel)
- August 12th, 2016 in