Black Sticks women trumped by Germany
The women's Black Sticks have lost 3-2 to Germany in the World League semifinal in Rotterdam.
The Germans made a fast start to the match, opening up a 2-0 lead inside the first 15 minutes thanks to strikes from team captain Julia Müller and Eileen Hoffman.
After a lacklustre first half from the Kiwis, all the action came in the last four minutes, ignited by Charlotte Harrison who got a goal back for New Zealand, only for Germany to restore their two-goal cushion seconds later when Franzisca Hauke sent the ball into an open goal.
Black Sticks co-cpatain Kayla Sharland returned fire and while her side tried to find the equaliser, could not find a third goal.
Black Sticks coach Mark Hager berated his side's poor start against one of the world's top sides.
"We are disappointed with the way we started. We were on the back foot in the first 20 minutes and if you give a side like Germany that much space it is very hard to come back," Hager said.
"Germany is a team with good basic skills and unless you put them under real pressure, they won't make mistakes. There were times when we did have opportunities and we didn't convert, and that's something we will learn from."
Canterbury's Sian Fremaux came close to equalising through a reverse stick shot in front of the goal in the 10thminute and Gemma Flynn, who had an outstanding game, set up a good goal for Krystal Forgesson later on in the half, but it was not to be for the Kiwis.
The game changed dramatically in the last four minutes when Germany were carded and dropped to ten players, with Hager gambling on replacing goalkeeper Bianca Russell with an extra outfield player.
The tactic paid off almost immediately when Cassandra Reid crossed to Charlotte Harrison who slammed one home in the 66th minute. However, Germany were able to exploit the situation soon after.
"With one player off we thought it was a good time to double the advantage and take the goalie off. It worked well, but then we had a lack of concentration and they got one back," Hager said.
The Black Sticks play their next game against Belgium at midnight on Sunday (NZT).
Germany 3 (Julia Müller, Eileen Hoffmann, Franzisca Hauke); New Zealand 2 (Charlotte Harrison, Kayla Sharland). HT: 2-0