Rio Olympics: Hockeyroos set up quarter-final with New Zealand

Emily Smith celebrates a goal. Photo: Getty
Emily Smith celebrates a goal. Photo: Getty

A 2-0 victory over Japan in their final pool game ensured Australia’s Hockeyroos will avoid a quarter-final clash with the top-ranked Netherlands outfit, and will instead play New Zealand.

The Aussies spread the ball well right across the field and were rarely headed against Japan but again lacked the polish required up-front to put their opponent away.

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Nor were they able to convert any of eight penalty corners – an increasing concern as they enter the knockout phase of the competition.

Their breakthrough goal came early in the second quarter as a direct result of a tackle and steal deep in attack by hard-working forward Emily Smith.

It left her with a clear run to the circle and an easy slip pass to Mariah Williams who put the ball low and left under the keeper.

Smith deservingly added Australia’s clincher with five minutes to play in the match.

Georgie Parker skipped a rocket of a pass off her backstick across the circle to the far post, where a perfectly positioned Smith made the tap-in goal look easy.

Como’s Kathryn Slattery’s had two half-chances during the third quarter, both from the top of the circle but against tight defence and on her reverse.