LONDON (AFP) –
Three-times Olympic champions Australia finished fifth in the women’s hockey tournament on Friday after chiselling out a 2-0 win over China with with a hard-fought but sometimes rather toothless performance.
It means the Australians have conceded only two goals in six matches all tournament — but once again, despite dominating long periods of play, they found it hard to score.
It was this which more than anything which prevented them reaching the semis.
It took them till the 41st minute for them to take the lead, through Jodie Schulz from a penalty corner, and until ten minutes before the end before Jade Close scored the second after good work by Hope Munro.
The lack of cutting edge left Australia vulnerable to a demoralising counter-attack strike, which almost happened as the tenacious Chinese fought back well in the last 15 minutes.
During this high octane phase Song Qingling hit a post after great work by Li Hongxia, after which China won three penalty corners from which they were unable to score.
From the last of them Song got the ball into the net, and a goal was awarded, only for it to be disallowed after an infringement became evident during the video replay Australia requested.
It was Australia’s first win over China in a major international tournament since 2005.