Published Monday 06 August 2012

New Zealand bowed out of the running for an Olympic men’s hockey medal today.
The Black Sticks drew 1-1 with Belgium, but after previous defeats by Korea and The Netherlands, are now out of contention for a medal.
Belgium outplayed New Zealand and it required some heroics by Black Sticks goalie Kyle Pontifex to keep his team in the running.
Though the Belgians dominated the first half, the score was locked at 0-0 at halftime. However, Tom Boon put the Belgians ahead in the 48th minute. New Zealand levelled again six minutes later after a fine piece of individual work by Nick Wilson.
Amazingly, New Zealand could have won the game in the final moments when they had two penalty corners and went close to scoring.
However, a look at the statistics emphasises the Belgians’ superiority. They had 18 shots at goal to New Zealand’s eight, and made most of the play.
New Zealand coach Shane McLeod conceded afterwards his team had been well beaten. “We nearly stole it at the end. It would have been a bit of a burglary,” Mcleod said.
The New Zealanders final game is against Germany on Tuesday.