Salem Radio Network News Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Sports

Olympics-Hockey-Spain, New Zealand reach women’s quarters, China out

By Daniel Leussink

TOKYO (Reuters) -Spain and New Zealand reached the quarter-finals of the women’s hockey tournament at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday, while China were eliminated despite a 3-2 win over New Zealand, who scraped through ahead of them on goal difference from Group B.

India kept their hopes alive with a 4-3 triumph over South Africa in Group A, though they could still be knocked out of the tournament if debutants Ireland beat Olympic champions Britain later on Saturday.

Spain fell behind to Japan striker Kanon Mori’s goal after six minutes but ramped up the pressure and emerged with a 4-1 victory.

Captain Maria Lopez Garcia said they were extra motivated with coach Adrian Lock returning to the sidelines following his COVID-19 quarantine.

“We have been improving in each game. Now, we scored four goals. It gives us a lot of confidence for the next game,” Lopez Garcia said after taking a celebratory group photo with her team mates.

“In the early game we can improve everything, in defence, in scoring more goals.”

Japan defender Shihori Oikawa shed tears as the hosts ended the Tokyo tournament after losing all five group matches.

“Players of foreign teams are looking for ways to contribute even after making a mistake,” Oikawa said.

The inexperienced players on Japan’s team worried too much after having made a mistake, she said.

Australia topped Group B after their 2-0 win over Argentina and Savannah Fitzpatrick hailed their team spirit.

“I think we just pride ourselves … on playing a real team game,” she added. “The beauty of a team sport is that we’re out there with 10 other girls. We don’t have to do it on our own.

“That’s our secret to our success at the moment.”

Argentina also progressed to the quarter-finals, trailing the Hockeyroos and Spain in third position in their pool.

(Reporting by Daniel LeussinkEditing by Shri Navaratnam/Peter Rutherford)

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