Football Ferns midfielder Sarah Gregorius says missing a golden chance to open the Olympic Games with a goal will "haunt'' her but she is already focused on the next battle with Brazil.
The 26-year-old was presented with a gift-wrapped opportunity in the 71st minute to equalise against Great Britain in Cardiff today after a defensive blunder by the home team.
Gregorius, who has the respectable strike-rate of 15 goals in 31 internationals, would normally bury the ball in the back of the net.
But she scuffed her shot straight at grateful Great Britain goalkeeper Karen Bardsley and the home team clung on for a 1-0 victory at Millennium Stadium.
"It's probably going to haunt me for the next little while,'' Gregorius admitted. But she said she had to "put it behind me and move on to the next one [against Brazil in Cardiff on Sunday].
"Hopefully, it'll be quickly forgotten and I'll put a few away next time I get them.''
Gregorius said she wasn't sure who was more suprised, herself or the British defenders, when the chance came.
"You dream of those sort of opportunities, that's a defender's nightmare. It felt like a kid on Christmas ... but you saw the result of that.''
She said hindsight was "20-20''. "It's pretty easy to look back and say, 'I should have done this, I should have done that'.
"That's the stuff you train for and sometimes you put those away and sometimes you don't. That's football...''
Gregorius's coach and captain both backed her to bounce back from the disappointment.
Coach Tony Readings said the German-based midfielder was one of the bubbliest personalities in the team.
He could understand her disappointment but stressed the defeat could not be blamed on her miss.
Captain Rebecca Smith agreed Gregorius was "probably one of most optimistic and confident players we have''.
"On and, she worked really hard so that probably took a bit out of her legs. She just needs to focus on her good moments.
"I'm sure she's disappointed, but everyone is disappointed.''
England created and missed more chances than the Football Ferns but Gregorius still felt the game was "there for the taking for us''.
"It was really even and it had its ups and downs. We will walk away disappointed, but yo've got to pick yourself up and move on pretty quickly... we'll look forward to the next game.
She said the Ferns would have to be "really on [our] game'' to beat Brazil: "In terms of individual technique, it doesn't get much better than the Brazil team.
"They present new challenges but at the same time new opoportunities. We'l l analyse them like we did Great Britain. We'll definitely look to nullify their threats and create a few of our own.''
- © Fairfax NZ News