Hockeyroos fire back into medal contention

AUSTRALIA 1 d USA 0

Goal: Anna Flanagan

Best players: Toni Cronk, Casey Eastham, Anna Flanagan, Fiona Boyce

KOBIE McGurk and her Hockeyroos team-mates are back in medal contention after a hard-fought 1-0 win over the USA at Riverbank Arena today.

Australian goal-keeper Toni Cronk saved a stroke and played an incredible match to lead the Hockeyroos to victory.

The Hockeyroos didn’t start as well as they did against Germany. The USA had the first look at the goal and Anna Flanagan missed two penalty corner drag flicks before their intensity started to improve.

Cronk inspired her team with scores locked at 0-0 in the first when the NSW veteran, at her second Olympics after playing at Athens in 2004, saved the stroke and changed the games momentum.

Both teams had lots of rotations, keeping fresh legs on the field, and neither was willing to give up as the game got more physical.

Casey Eastham led in midfield, fighting hard for every possession and creating opportunities in front of goal.

USA also had its chances. Things started to fall the Australians’ way when a penalty corner was overturned by the video umpire, deemed not to have hit Teneal Attard’s foot inside the circle.

Australia continued to press, forcing numerous penalty corners but three times Jodie Schulz was off the field.

In the end it was up to ACT defender Anna Flanagan to make something happen and she didn’t disappoint, firing home a superb drag flick.

The Australians went to the break 1-0 up minutes before half-time and were able to hold on to their lead for the entire second half.

The Hockeyroos dominated everywhere but on the scoreboard in the second half and held on for Megan Rivers in her 200th international.

Australia peppered the goals. USA goalie Amy Swensen played a brilliant match, keeping her team within reach.

Rivers, Hope Munro, Emily Smith, Fiona Boyce and Ashleigh Nelson all had chances but could not find the back of the net.

The Hockeyroos now face South Africa on August 4 at 9.20pm(WST)

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