Black Sticks men's medal hopes over

20:34, Aug 05 2012
Blair Hopping
Blair Hopping loses his shoe as he dives to clear the ball.
Blair Hopping
Blair Hopping sweeps the ball clear against Belgium.
Hugo Inglis
New Zealand's Hugo Inglis is bumped off the ball by a Belgian player.
Phil Burrows
Black Sticks striker Phil Burrows gets a rub on the head from Belgium goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch.
Nick Wilson
Nick Wilson jumps over netminder Vincent Vanasch after scoring the equalising goal for New Zealand.
Black Sticks
The Black Sticks men huddle in the rain before taking their final minute penalty corner.

The men's Black Sticks' Olympic medal dream is over after a 1-1 draw against Belgium.

With New Zealand's chances of reaching the semifinals hanging by a thread - needing to beat the Europeans and also hope other results go their way - the stalemate ends a disappointing tournament for Shane McLeod's team.

The Kiwis struggled desperately against Belgium, ranked four places below them in the world at 11th, struggling to cope for most of the match with goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex keeping them in it a number of times.

Nicholas Wilson
MEDAL DREAM OVER: Nicholas Wilson on the charge against Belgium.

A scoreless first half had New Zealand riding their luck, and that luck ran out in the 54th minute when Tom Boon lifted the ball over Pontifex.

A brilliant piece of individual skill from Nick Wilson brought the scores level 16 minutes from the end, beating two players before tucking past Vincent Vanasch form a tight angle.

But it wasn't enough to prevent the end of New Zealand's slim London 2012 hopes.

The Black Sticks will play one more game to determine their lower ranking, with the team and date dependent on results overnight.


Fairfax Media