Friday, August 10, 2012

Great Britain vs New Zealand Olympics 2012, Bronze Medal match

Great Britain and New Zealand face off the bronze medal with both knowing that only a medal will be jsut reward for a good campaign.

In the semi finals, Great Britain were well beaten by Argentina while New Zealand were unlucky to lose in the shoot out to Netherlands. How much those matches and losses will have taken out of these two teams is hard to guess but they will both have put the losses behind them and be ready for this game.

Both of the goalkeepers, Storry and Russell have played out of their skins in this tournament and both had two clean sheets in the group phase. Overall, Russell has probably had the better tournament but there is little between them.

Defences have generally performed well and while Great Britain have given away more chances, due mainly to the disruption caused by injuries in their first game.

In the midfield, the battle will be tight with New Zealand playing five across the middle compared to Great Britain's four. Both sides are starting with two players up front but it will be penalty corners that will make the difference. Here Great Britain has the edge with Cullen one of the most prolific scorers in recent years.

Great Britain will be relying on the talismanic Walsh who will again captain this game despite her jaw injury. They will also be looking for big games from Richardson, Danson and Cullen. New Zealand will be hoping Glynn brings her A game and will be hoping that Sharland, Punt and Flynn play as well as they did against Netherlands.

The weather will have an impact. It is very hot out there and both teams will have to use their substitutions effectively.

First Half
New Zealand have first use of the ball but send a long ball off the back of the pitch. Great Britain go on the charge and had a real chance in the D but the bgall wouldn't go to stick. Another Great Britain attack but they can't get past the New Zealand defence.

New Zealand can now work the ball away but only as far as the half way line but they soon get it back. The first aerial ball comes from New Zealand but is easily cut out.

Danson has another attack but again loses out to a great tackle on the edge of the D. Great Britain waste another attack with a long ball off the side.

Danson moving from wing to wing and that is giving her a lot more room. New Zealand seem unable to contain her in the same way Argentina did and that should create more chance for Great Britain.

NEw Zealand find the Great Britain D but the ball is calmly intercepted and cleared. Great Britain can now come again through Walsh and Twigg. The ball is in the New Zealand D but there is no Great Britain player near enough to make anything of it. White and Cooper have a collision in the 23m and the New Zealand player comes off the worst.

Great Britain winning many of the midfield battles but New Zealand are making the key tackles at the back.

With nine minutes gone, Great Britain have started the more positively.

Some basic skill errors there, you need to stop the ball before you can use it. Walsh is very calm at the back and makes an easy interception as New Zealand look to break.

New Zealand come forward again and Great Britain have some defending to do here. The ball break for Forgesson but is wide of Storry's post.

Against Argentina, Great Britain were guilty of panic and trying the long ball rather than build up play. Today, they are making the short passes, coming back to collect the ball and this is giving them more control over this game.

Long ball forward is collected by Danson but Eshuis makes a great tackle. Great Britain hit outside the D but the ball comes all the way back to the halfway before being hit into Rogers who is well marked. New Zealand can clear and begin to build an attack but Bartlett intercepts and forward come Great Britain again. The ball into the D, however, is poor but some persistent work and great dribbling by Macleod in the D forces Russel into a desperate kick which results in a penalty corner for Great Britain.

Cullen shoots, off Russell and just past the prone Macleod who cannot make the rebound. Away come New Zealand but the long ball is deflected for a corner by Great Britain. Free hit on the edge of the D is taken by Cooper and her hit into the D is cleared by Storry.

Another ball in and this time Storry puts it off the back. Punt trying to get this ball in for New Zealand and she wins a free hit. New Zealand move the ball across the field but Walton intercepts and then loses it again.

Great Britain now have the ball on the sideline and win a free hit but the Richardson can't prevent the ball going off the back line.

Great ball into the D from New Zealand but Great Britain get it away and have their own chance at the far end. New Zealand clear the ball and Danson is brought down by Cooper for the penalty corner.

Cullen fired that in like a rocket but a fantastic dive by Russell and she gets her stick on the ball to deny Great Britain. Some great defending by New Zealand to prevent Great Britain getting another chance on goal and New Zealand can bring the ball away but it comes up off a New Zealand stick and Great Britain make three changes.

Sharland is beginning to assert herself in the middle and New Zealand are beginning to win more of the ball. The final balls into the D, however, are still not going to a New Zealand stick and Great Britain are able to clear easily and put the ball long.

As another Great Britain attack breaks down, Macleod is down having taken a knock. She is soon back on her feet and stays on the pitch. New Zealand are now beginning to win many of the 50/50 balls in the middle and that has to be a concern for Great Britain.

Crowd are starting to get behind the home team who respond with a move down the right. It soon breaks down and New Zealand are in the 23m and win a long corner. New Zealand force away and the long ball from Eshuis goes harmlessly into the Great Britain goal. There were two attackers who just couldn't get a stick to that ball.

Poor clearance from Great Britain, a chance for New Zealand and who else to stop them but Walsh. The more Walsh can exude confidence, the more the rest of the team can feed off of it.

New Zealand bring the ball away from their D and into the Great Britain 23m but it comes off of Flynn's foot and Great Britain get some relief. 30 minutes gone and despite the lack of goals, there have been chances and the game has been exciting.

Walsh gives the ball away but there is some great recovery running from Great Britain and Cullen puts in a timely tackle. Neither side will want to concede in this last three minutes.

Great Britain attack, Walton to Rogers but the ball in to the D is poor. Richardson gets it back for Great Britain but this time the ball is too close to Russell who gets it away. A quick break for New Zealand and with one minute left in the half, New Zealand win a penalty corner.

Clock is still running so this is going to be the last action of this half. New Zealand try the deflected ball. Ball fired in by Eshuis but Harrison cannot get the deflection on goal

Second Half
Great Britain on the attack right from the whistle but New Zealand are the first to get a chance. The ball into the D comes off Glynn and through the legs of Storry and hits the post. A diving Storry gets the ball clear. That was the closest we have come so far to a goal.

Great Britain break through Richardson and White but the ball is soon recovered by New Zealand. That last attempt will boost New Zealand while Great Britain need to be careful not to go into their shell.

Long corner New Zealand but Great Britain push them back to the halfway line. New Zealand the quicker to get the ball now but Great Britain are on the attack. A poor long ball is cut out and while Great Britain get it back, they make a mess of it.

New Zealand are really pressuring the Great Britain defence and chances are starting to appear. That time the ball is knocked away but New Zealand come again. A bit of end to end play with neither side making the most of the ball.

New Zealand are pressing the Great Britain defence when they try and move the ball around the back. This is resulting in some long speculative passes that are just not going anywhere.

Twigg takes a big hit on the foot by a ball from Forgesson. That will sting.

Long ball gets through to Danson who drives into the D. The defence converge upon her but she just cannot get the ball back to Richardson but Great Britain get second prize, a penalty corner.

Great strike from Walsh, Danson gets the deflection and it's a GOAL!

Great Britain 1 New Zealand 0

New Zealand right back at Great Britain but cannot get a shot off. 24 minutes left in this game and there will be more goals at this rate.

Macleod wins the ball on the edge of the New Zealand D but it is cleared by Russell. The next ball in is too close to Russell who makes a much better clearance this time. Great Britain again unable to convert pressure in the D due to great defending by New Zealand.

A New Zealand drive into the Great Britain D is iniitally called for a penalty corner but Walsh asked for a video review for dangerous play. Ball came up off of Michelson's stick but was on goal, leaving Walsh to get her hand to it to prevent another ball in the face. Team referral overturned and the penalty corner stands.

Strike stopped by Great Britain who had a three on one but fast recovering New Zealand defenders get it away and we stay at 1-0.

The speed of this game shows no sign of slowing. Players from both sides are now having to roll on and off more frequently. Sharland fires the ball wastefully into the D and it goes off the back.

Great Britain attack with Rogers. Feeds the ball to Bartlett who can't get the ball to the players on the far post but she does win another penalty corner. A real mess by Great Britain at the top of the D allows New Zealand to bring the ball away. The missed tackle count for both sides is rising and too many balls are going to the opposition stick. The short passing game of the first half is being slowly replaced by long, hopeful, balls to no-one in particular.

Good attack by New Zealand but they are beginning to snatch at the ball when inside the D. A little more composure from New Zealand could well see the equaliser. It is far too early for panic.

Danson in the D plays the ball to Twigg. Russell out quickly and closing it down but the ball hits a New Zealand foot and its a penalty corner. Drag flick from Cullen and that's the second goal for Great Britain giving them some measure of control over this game.

Great Britain 2 New Zealand 0

New Zealand try hard to strike back immediately but Great Britain defend well and are now back on the attack. That ball into the D could have gone anywhere. Instead New Zealand get it away and start an attack of their own through Sharland. The aerial ball is cut out by Cullen who wins a free hit.

Great Britain have nine minutes to hold on to a 2-0 lead.

Wasted ball into the D from Sharland. Nobody was going to get on the end of that and it relieves the pressure New Zealand were trying to create. Great Britain charge up the pitch, Macleod drives into the D and it's another penalty corner through poor defending from Eshuis.

Walsh hits the ball wide of the post and Thomas is there with the stick on the ground for the deflection. Classic, text book deflection. Record it and teach it to your junior players.

Great Britain 3 New Zealand 0

Under seven minutes left in this match and it would take a complete collapse by Great Britain to let New Zealand in. White drives the ball down the base line but Danson just cannot deflect it in for a fourth goal.

Danson dances down the left sideline and goes through several New Zealand players, eventually winning the free hit. Great Britain not letting up at all. Any thoughts of defending this lead have been forgotten. Great Britain want more goals and so do the crowd.

New Zealand have a chance to get a goal back. Excellent drive into the D by Michelsen and its a penalty corner for New Zealand. The ball is fired low and to the right of Storry by Eshuis and Michelsen gets the final touch to deflect it into the goal.

Great Britain 3 New Zealand 1

Under two minutes and New Zealand come again but this time Great Britain bring the ballaway down the right with Danson. Ball turned over and Punt tries a quick shot from the top of the D but it is a long way over the bar.

Great Britain have the ball with 30 seconds remaining and will use all the time that they can.

Final whistle
Great Britain 3 New Zealand 1
Bronze for Great Britain

That was a busy first half from both teams. Great Britain came out meaning business and took the game to New Zealand. Good pressure from the midfield resulted in attacks on the New Zealand goal. Russell looked tentative at the beginning of this match but was still able to clear the ball and prevent Great Britain taking the lead.

About 20 minutes in, the game started to change. New Zealand were beginning to win more ball in the middle of the pitch but their final ball into the D has been poor. Right at the end of the half, Harrison should have stolen a goal for New Zealand when she was unmarked from the penalty corner but just couldn't deflect the ball into the net.

Both sides came out for the second half looking to take an early lead. New Zealand should have taken the lead but Glynn was unlucky to see the ball come back off of the post. It was Great Britain who were broke the deadlock from a penalty corner. The ball was struck in by Walsh and it was a diving Danson who deflected it past Russell in the New Zealand goal.

New Zealand were determined not to give up and first Michelsen and then Eshuis were denied before Russell made a good save to deny Walton. By now, Great Britain were beginning to turn the screw and had a penalty corner but failed to use it. Harrison then had a chance to equalise but the shot was blocked and within two minutes, Great Britain had another penalty corner and Cullen buried it in the corner.

Now New Zealand were chasing the game and that game Great Britain space to get the ball up the field and four minutes later it was 3-0 when Walsh fired the ball in from a penalty corner and Thomas got the deflection.

It looked like Great Britain could get more. Danson had a great chance but couldn't control the deflection. By now New Zealand were running out of time and although Michelsen scored a late consolation goal from a penalty corner, it was Great Britain who finished the game with the bronze medal.

This was a fast and hard game with both sides showing enterprise but in the end, it was Great Britain who took their chances from penalty corners who won

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