Football Ferns' Gregorius eyes Brazil after misfire

17:00, Jul 26 2012
Football Ferns at the Olympics
Hannah Wilkinson in action during the Football Ferns opener against Great Britain.
Football Ferns at the Olympics
Sarah Gregorius reacts after missing an opportunity to score against Great Britain.
Football Ferns at the Olympics
The Football Ferns look to protect the ball during their Olympic opener against Great Britain.
Football Ferns at the Olympics
Sarah Gregorius shows her disappointment after missing a shot at goal against Great Britain.
Football Ferns at the Olympics
Team Great Britain celebrate after scoring the only goal of their opening match against New Zealand.

What does a football forward do when she's just missed a sitter at the Olympic Games?

Sarah Gregorius won't make the same mistake if she gets another gift-wrapped chance against Brazil on Sunday.

The Football Ferns midfielder says missing a golden chance against Great Britain in Cardiff yesterday will “haunt" her but she is already focused on the Brazil game.

The 26-year-old was gifted the opportunity to equalise in the 71st minute after a bad blunder by the British defence.

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 goalkeeper Karen Bardsley and Great Britain clung on for a 1-0 victory at Millennium Stadium.

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“It's probably going to haunt me for the next little while," said Gregorius, who is determined to put it behind her.

“Hopefully, it'll be quickly forgotten and I'll put a few away next time."

Gregorius isn't the first New Zealand football international to misfire in front of goal.

Ken Cresswell muffed a free header against the Soviet Union at the 1982 World Cup finals with the score still deadlocked. The Soviets went on to win 3-0.

Cresswell continued to play national league football into his 30s and won many more All Whites caps. But he once quipped he was remembered more for the goal he missed than the ones he got.

That hopefully won't be Gregorius' fate.

She said she wasn't sure who was more surprised, 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."

Football Ferns coach Tony Readings backs her to bounce back from the disappointment.

He said the Germany-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.

Gregorius said the Ferns would have to be on their game on Sunday.

“In terms of individual technique, it doesn't get much better than the Brazil team," she said.

“They present new challenges but, at the same time, new opportunities. We'll analyse them like we did Great Britain. We'll definitely look to nullify their threats and create a few of our own."

Fairfax Media