Germany and New Zealand advance to semis

15th August 2016

Germany set up their fourth Olympic women’s hockey semi-final since reunification with a 2-1 win over USA, meaning they will play either the Netherlands or Argentina on the horizon on Wednesday.

Germany got off to a great start with Marie Mavers opening the scoring in the eighth minute when she reacted quickest to a loose ball and shot into a half-open net.

Soon after, Lisa Altenburg smartly opened up space in a tightly-packed circle, moving the ball onto her backhand to double the lead at 2-0.

The US pressed forward in the second quarter and had a couple of chances, notably when Julie Reinprecht was initially awarded a goal but, on video review, saw her effort disallowed.

Germany, meanwhile, looked the more incisive and went close to going three ahead when Hannah Kruger’s low drive was brilliantly saved by Jackie Briggs’ out-stretched stick.

Chances came and went for both teams in the closing quarter and USA got one back with four minutes remaining courtesy of Kate Falgowski’s push from mid-circle.

But Germany’s young side – with an average age of just 24 – held their nerve, crucially blockeing Katie Bam’s big chance with a perfectly timed tackle to see off their more experienced rivals.

New Zealand were the first side to make it into the women’s Olympic semi-finals when they saw off Trans-Tasman rivals Australia 4-2 in the opening match of the morning session in Deodoro.

Anita McLaren’s pin-point drag-flick into the top corner set things in motion before Kelsey Smith nabbed a second from another set piece.

Kathryn Slattery pulled one back for the Hockeyroos only for Gemma Flynn to restore the two-goal advantage from a Stacey Michelsen cross. Olivia Merry was credited with the last touch from Charlotte Harrison’s shot across the face of goal.

Slattery got one back but New Zealand were well clear and advance to their second successive semi-final, keeping alive hopes of a first ever medal. They will face the winner of Great Britain and Spain in Wednesday’s semi-final.

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