|Umpire||DELFORGE Laurine (BEL)||Umpire||PRESENQUI Irene (ARG)|
|Reserve Umpire||BLOCK Frances (ENG)||Video Umpire||ESKINA Elena (RUS)|
|Judge||LIJS Adrienne (NED)||Judge||KLEIN NAGELVOORT Eric (NED)|
|Technical Officer||RUTTEN Edna (NED)||Technical Director||BROWN Sheila (RSA)|
A neat finish for Punt
Two goals from the Black Sticks speedster puts paid to China challenge
Result Women's 5/6th: New Zealand v China 4-0 (1-0)
A brace for the Black Sticks queen of speed Anita Punt helped New Zealand record a 4-0 victory over China in the 5/6 classification match at the Kyocera Stadium.
Punt (6') opened the scoring with a trade-mark drag flick penalty corner as New Zealand sought to end their World Cup campaign in fifth place, a position that matches their FIH World Ranking. It was not all one-way traffic however, and New Zealand have Bianca Russell – who replaced Sally Rutherford in goal for this match – to thank for the clean sheet. China came close to equalising through, firstly, Yan Yan and then Huang Ting in a period of China pressure in the first half.
At the other end, the China 'keeper, Li Dongxaio, was kept busy as New Zealand kept pushing for more goals. One particularly fine save came as Kayla Whitelock unleashed a fierce shot that the 'keeper reacted on to bat away. Just before half time the Black Sticks had a scare as Xi Xiayun was left unmarked in front of goal, but her shot went just wide.
Straight after the break, New Zealand went on the attack through Krystal Forgesson, her shot whistling just wide and although the Black Sticks kept the pressure up, it was a further 10 minutes before Whitelock (45') scored from a penalty stroke. The instigator of the move that led to the stroke was Punt; she nicked the ball and fed Stacey Michelesen, who found Whitelock in the circle. Whitelock was felled as the China defence rushed to defend the goal and the captain had no problem slotting the ball home.
China are not a team to give up and had any of their series of penalty corners managed to get past the excellent Russell then it would have been very different game. However, where China have managed to outlast their opponents in previous games, the New Zealand team are not a side to let the intensity levels slip at any stage of the game. The last two goals for New Zealand were scored by Punt (60'), through a penalty corner dragged low into the goal and then Krystal Forgesson (63'), who topped an energetic display off with a well-taken goal from open play.
After the match, the China coach You Baodong, said: "The New Zealand team played well. They used their speed to good effect. We didn't play as well. But we played to our target, which was to finish in sixth place. From this tournament we have learnt a lot about ourselves. We know we must improve our dribbling skills. Also, defensive skills and the ability to intercept better are things that we can work on."
New Zealand's coach, Mark Hager said: "I am a little bit disappointed that we didn't get to the finals, but we are happy to finish top six. We grew over the tournament but we still have a bit to go." Asked how New Zealand could break into the top four, Hager replied: "We have to hold onto players and develop depth. After every major tournament we have a turnover of players, so it is all about finding a way to hold onto players for longer."Official Match Report (PDF)