Hockey: Kiwis in first semis as Germany go out | india | Hindustan Times
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Hockey: Kiwis in first semis as Germany go out

india Updated: Aug 06, 2012 21:24 IST
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New Zealand's women booked their first ever ticket to the Olympic hockey semi-finals on Monday, knocking out Athens champions Germany with a goalless draw.

In the other pool, Britain can progress to the last four with a draw in their final preliminary match against favourites the Netherlands (1800 GMT).

However, if China beat Japan by five goals or more at 1345, Britain will need a victory over the Netherlands, who are already through to the next round.

Germany only had an outside chance of going through to the semi-finals, having already lost to Australia and Argentina.

They would have needed to beat New Zealand, pre-tournament outsiders ranked sixth in the world, by a three-goal margin to proceed.

A bit of bad luck - having two goals disallowed - and a strong Kiwi defence held the Germans back.

The Kiwis, only needing a draw, started off positively and hit the post but then focused mostly on defending and launching counter-attacks.

Germany had the ball in the Kiwi net two minutes before halftime but it was ruled out after a video referral called by the umpire failed to prove Maike Stoeckel had got a touch inside the circle.

In the second half, Germany enjoyed a strong passage of play, managing to hold the ball in the New Zealand half, but could not convert any of their six set-piece penalty corners and a slew of free game chances.

Germany called - and lost - their video referral on one corner, the first push-in from the left in this tournament, when Janne Mueller-Wieland raised the ball above the goal board.

At the final whistle, New Zealand's women cheered and high-fived in front of a near-full Riverside Arena, while most of the German girls cried over their country's worst result since the Sydney Games in 2000.

"We were total outsiders before the tournament," New Zealand goalkeeper Bianca Russell told reporters. "The attitude of the team is thrilling to see, such a talented bunch of girls. I think half of Auckland is in London at the moment."

Australia and Argentina will compete for the remaining semi-final berth in Group B. Australia need to beat world champions Argentina in their match at 2015 if they want to prevent Argentina and New Zealand taking the two top spots.

At the lower end of Group B, South Africa sent the United States to the bottom of the table by thrashing them 7-0, South Africa's first win in the tournament having only scored two goals in their previous four games.

The United States had caused an upset when they beat world champions Argentina 1-0 earlier in the competition.