Black Sticks women draw 0-0 with Hockeyroos

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 07:39 10/06/2014

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The New Zealand women's team will play China for fifth place at hockey's World Cup this weekend.

The Black Sticks needed to beat Australia last night in The Hague to have any chance of qualifying for the semifinals, but were unable to upset the Hockeyroos and drew 0-0.

After losing to the top ranked Dutch (2-0) and being upset by Korea (1-0) earlier in the tournament, New Zealand needed to beat Australia to have any chance of making the semifinals while Australia needed just a draw.

The goalless stalemate - and Korea's 3-0 loss to the Netherlands - meant New Zealand finished third in Group A.

On Sunday night they will play Group B's third-placed team, China for fifth place while the semifinals will be fought out between Netherlands and Argentina and between the United States and Australia.

Last night's match was a largely scrappy one in the Dutch heat with neither side able to assert any real domination.

Most of the game was played in the middle third of the turf and when teams did move forward they were quickly shut down. There were only three penalty corners in the entire match.

Australia did find the back of the New Zealand net early in the second half in controversial fashion.

New Zealand captain Kayla Whitelock was having an enforced breather after being green carded when Australia were given a free hit in a dangerous position.

They took it quickly and Emily Hurtz deflected past Kiwi goalie Sally Rutherford into the goal.

Immediately the Australians celebrated and New Zealand appealed that their opposition had made no attempt to stop the ball before the free hit.

Much to the Australians' dismay - and to New Zealand's relief - the television umpire eventually ruled in the Kiwis'  favour.

New Zealand had the more clear cut chances of the first half, but Australia could claim to have had the best of the first 35 minutes overall.

The Australians had more ball and more territory, but only one shot to New Zealand's six in the first spell, though only one of New Zealand's was on target.

Australia had two penalty corners - to New Zealand's one - but bombed one altogether with a miss-trap.

New Zealand's best chance came from Krystal Forgesson.

Kiwi speedster Anita Punt blitzed down the right side of the turf and found Forgesson alone in the Aussie circle.

Forgesson struck first time, but went wide.

That was the best chance either side had in the ugly match and while New Zealand threw everything forward at the death they were unable to create any more chances.

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- Fairfax Media

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