New Zealand bowed out of Commonwealth Games gold medal contention in the men’s hockey when they were beaten 6-2 by the world’s No 1 team Australia in the semi-finals today.
Though Delhi turned on another hot, steamy day, the two teams played fast-moving, attractive hockey, but the Australians always appeared to have an edge.
They launched a match-defining assault in a six-minute spell just before halftime, scoring three quick-fire goals that meant New Zealand was playing catch-up throughout the second spell.
To New Zealand’s credit, they never gave up and after falling behind 4-0, they fought back with goals by Blair Hilton and, with 10 minutes remaining, captain Phil Burrows, to give the Black Sticks a slight sniff of a chance.
The Australians responded again, however, with two late to seal the issue.
Burrows was disappointed a New Zealand goal with quarter of an hour remaining was disallowed because of height. "I thought it was below shin-pad height," he said. "It went through a gap and I believe it was a goal."
Burrows felt the 6-2 scoreline was not an accurate reflection of the competitiveness of the match.
Australia have dominated Commonwealth Games hockey tournaments, winning all three since 1998. In the 2002 final they beat New Zealand, the only time New Zealand has won a men’s hockey medal at a Commonwealth Games.
New Zealand will play the loser of India v England for the bronze medal on Thursday, the last day of the games.