August 3, 2012
NEWCASTLE, UNITED KINGDOM – The Football Ferns left nothing in the tank but could not get past defending gold medallists USA, who ousted New Zealand with a 2-0 defeat in an Olympic quarterfinal at St James’ Park, Newcastle today.
New Zealand lived up to their confident pre-match talk and matched the three times Olympic champions in most facets although there were a couple of early let offs.
The pacey Alex Morgan broke through the New Zealand defence and although Jenny Bindon’s advance forced the young striker wide she still flashed her shot across an open goal.
Abby Wambach also could have done better with a back post chance that also eluded Morgan at the near post but largely the New Zealand restricted chances for the dangerous pair.
They did combine for USA’s opening goal in the 27th minute with Morgan freeing herself with good feet then playing a ball for Wambach to tap in at the back post for the first goal the Ferns conceded from open play in the tournament.
New Zealand tried their luck from distance and the shots were easily dealt with by American ‘keeper Hope Solo.
USA had two claims for a penalty, but Morgan was offside before the first then clumsily clattered into Bindon – and floored her – before the second.
The strongest penalty shout came at the other end in the 83rd minute when substitute Rosie White was tripped by Carli Lloyd after a cheeky back heel from Hayley Moorwood whose appearance off the bench was her 100th game for New Zealand in all matches.
With New Zealand pressing for the equaliser the USA caught the Ferns on the break with Sydney Leroux landing the knockout blow three minutes from time.
A disappointed New Zealand coach Tony Readings praised the efforts of his team, the calibre of the opposition and described White’s would-be penalty as a turning point.
“We dominated large periods of possessions out there against a very well organised team. They are not number one in the world and three times Olympic champions for no reason so they are a hard team to break down.
“So when you do break them down like we did, and at the end there when we could’ve had a penalty, you need those calls to go your way.
“I said before the match you need to be clinical but you also need your share of luck and a few decisions to go your way. If we had got that call it’s probably 1-1 and it’s a different game but at the same time you have to give credit to the USA as they are a really good team.”
The eighth placed finish is New Zealand’s best-ever result at a FIFA tournament and Readings paid thanks to investment in place since Beijing.
“Over the last four years we’ve had amazing support from High Performance Sport New Zealand who’ve Invested in our programme.
“They’ve done that because the team has showed promise and really backed us. A large part of our success at this tournament can be put down to them so I hope what we’ve done now is shown them that we are worth investing in. I hope they continue to support us because I think we have a group of players who can reward that support. “
Women’s Olympic Football Tournament
New Zealand 0
USA 2 (Abby WAMBACH 27’, Sydney LEROUX 87’)
St James’ Park, Newcastle
August 3, 2012
New Zealand: 1-Jenny BINDON (GK), 2-Ria PERCIVAL, 4-Katie HOYLE (16-Annalie LONGO 90+4’), 5-Abby ERCEG, 6-Rebecca SMITH (captain), 7-Ali RILEY, 9-Amber HEARN, 10-Sarah GREGORIUS, 11-Kirsty YALLOP (8-Hayley MOORWOOD 57’), 12-Betsy HASSETT, 17-Hannah WILKINSON (13-Rosie WHITE 77’).
Substitutes not used: 3-Anna GREEN, 14-Kristy HILL, 15-Rebekah STOTT, 18-Rebecca ROLLS (GK).
Coach: Tony READINGS
USA: 1-Hope SOLO (GK), 3-Christie RAMPONE (captain), 5-Kelley O’HARA, 6-Amy LE PEILBET, 10-Carli LLOYD, 12-Lauren CHENEY (8-Amy RODRIGUEZ 90+2’), 13-Alex MORGAN (11-Sydney LEROUX 81’), 14-Abby WAMBACH, 15-Megan RAPINOE (9-Heather O’REILLY 71’), 16-Rachel BUEHLER, 17-Tobin HEATH.
Substitutes not used: 2-Heather MITTS, 4-Becky SAUERBRUNN, 7-Shannon BOXX, 18-Nicole BARNHART (GK).
Coach: Pia SUNDHAGE
Cautions: 14-Abby WAMBACH 43’, 10-Carli LLOYD 79’