Captain Kate Walsh described a feeling of devastation as England’s gold medal hopes in the women’s hockey were dashed today by Australia’s Hockeyroos.
“I thought we had a large amount of possession,” said Walsh, her cheeks stained with tears. “They defended deep. It was about trying to get that final corner, that final goal. We’re just devastated. We came here wanting to win gold, to make the final.”
Having outplayed the Australians in the first half, England were dealt a cruel blow shortly after the interval when Australia captain Madonna Blyth deflected home a penalty corner for the game’s only goal.
After falling behind, England coped well with a short spell of Australian possession before rallying to spend the final ten minutes of the match camped in high in Australian territory. As England worked hard to conjure an equaliser the Australians sat deep, defending with ten players and making it difficult for England’s forwards to profit from their teammates endeavors.
England head coach Danny Kerry said: “It’s very difficult to score with 19 bodies in the circle. Australia had about four circle penetrations and didn’t really threaten but unfortunately a weak penalty corner was deflected past Beth [Storry] in goal.
“We need to understand that if teams don’t want to play hockey against us then we need to learn to break them down. It happened in the World Cup and it happened here.”
Wednesday’s bronze medal play-off against the loser of the second semi-final between New Zealand and South Africa will be England’s third of the summer following bronze medal victories at the Champions Trophy and the World Cup. The match starts at 10.30.
In the men’s hockey tournament, England look forward to Tuesday evening’s semi-final against the hosts.
India, who beat Pakistan 7-4 in a thrilling game last night to seal their semi-final place, will be backed by 19,000 boisterous supporters. The game gets underway at 17:30.