Field Hockey Canada > New Zealand tops Canada in third-round matchup in Oman

Olympic hopes dashed as Canada moves into consolation matches

In a spirited match at the FIH Olympic Qualifier tournament, Canada faced New Zealand with both teams already aware of their semifinal fate. Prior to the game, Germany’s victory over Chile had solidified the spots in the semifinals, leaving Canada with a maximum possible point total of three, while New Zealand was clear with four and Germany topping the pool with seven.


Despite the predetermined outcome, head coach Patrick Tshutshani emphasized the importance of the match, stating that crucial world ranking points were on the line, presenting an opportunity for quality international competition. New Zealand, ranked 11th in the world, dominated early possession and broke the deadlock in the fifth minute with a well-executed circle entry and a deflected shot. The first quarter saw New Zealand controlling play, penetrating the circle from the right and distributing passes effectively.

In the second quarter, Canada pressed forward, creating offensive chances with circle entries and penalty corners, but they couldn’t convert. New Zealand weathered the Canadian attack and capitalized on transition opportunities, scoring their second and third goals. After halftime, Canada surged again, earning chances including a penalty corner and subsequent penalty stroke, but New Zealand’s defense and goalkeeper thwarted their efforts. New Zealand added another goal in transition, securing a comfortable lead before controlling the momentum in the fourth.

Quarter-by-quarter thread

Although Canada displayed a brave attacking effort, New Zealand’s early lead was enough to put Canada on the back-foot right off the bat. The Blacksticks capitalized on their chances, securing the victory. Despite the loss, the Canadian defense, led by captain Gordon Johnston, stood out. Johnston played a pivotal role in both defense and transition, quarterbacking the Canadian attack and maintaining defensive control during New Zealand’s assaults. With the loss, the Canadians were officially eliminated from Olympic contention. Johnston said there’s no consoling that fact and that despite having some positives during the pool play, ultimately the disappointment is what stands out.

“It was nice for us to compete hard today. It’s nice to see the team grow within the game. There’s not a lot of positives to draw on. Some of the younger guys are stepping up and taking bigger roles, but honestly, we are just really disappointed and didn’t feel happy with our performance, overall,” Johnston said.

With this result, New Zealand advances to the tournament semifinals, while Canada’s Olympic hopes come to an end. Canada will now have two crossover consolation matches as they battle for fifth place at the event and all-important international ranking points moving forward.


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