Rio 2016: GB women reach Olympic Hockey final

Kate Richardson-Walsh's side reach the gold-medal final for the first time after a dominant display versus New Zealand, winning 3-0

Rio 2016: GB women reach Olympic Hockey final
Photo: Vasily Fedosenko / Reuters

Team GB's women's Hockey team will contest the Olympic gold-medal match for the first time in their history, after beating New Zealand convincingly 3-0 at the Olympic Hockey Stadium on Day 12 at Rio 2016.

A brace from Alex Danson and a penalty from Helen Richardson-Walsh helped the British women to a dominant win over The Black Sticks.  

GB's women remain unbeaten throughout the tournament and are now guaranteed a silver medal. 

Rematch of London bronze medal match

In a repeat of the bronze-medal match from four years ago in London, The Black Sticks were looking to avenge their defeat from The Riverbank Arena, when goals from Danson, Crista Cullen and Sarah Thomas gave the GB women a 3-1 win and Britain's first Olympic medal in 20 years.

The New Zealanders had the psychological advantage after beating GB in their last meeting at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park back in June, when they beat Britain 1-0 courtesy of a Stacey Michelsen effort.

GB however remained unbeaten in progressing to the semi-finals, with impressive wins versus world number ones Australia and Argentina in the pool games. The Kiwis had just the one defeat to their name, with a loss to Germany.

Black sticks make the early running, before GB take lead

The opening quarter was very much a feeling-out exercise. New Zealand however found the front foot early on and frequently looked dangerous in the offensive third.

After a goalless first quarter, it was the British women who began to take the upper hand. After Lily Owsley was obstructed wide on the right wing by Rose Keddell, GB were awarded their third penalty corner.

Danson gives GB the lead (photo:getty)
Danson gives GB the lead (photo:getty)

From it, Georgie Twigg's injection found Cullen on the edge of the D. Her shot was saved in the Kiwi goal by Sally Rutherford, but could only parry to the prowling Danson, who fired home her third goal of the Rio Games to give GB the lead.

As half time approached, the goal spurred on the team in red. Both Helen Richardson-Walsh and Owsley threatened with direct and pacey play, but New Zealand held firm as the hooter sounded for the break.

Kiwis seek leveller

New Zealand sought an equaliser, with both Cullen and Twigg suffered heavy facial injuries to dent the British attacking unit. 

Even with the absence of the key duo, the GB women managed to largely strangle the game in the midfield. 

Late in the third quarter however,  the Black Sticks broke away for with a counter attack. A stray ball found an unmarked Olivia Merry only to fire wastefully wide of Maddy Hinch in the GB goal.

GB double lead from the spot          

As their opponents making more desperate to level proceedings, Britain were left with gaping spaces.

With Danson on the left, a slick reversal found Helen Richardson-Walsh in acres of space running in on goal. The forward was up-ended by Kayla Whitelock who was sent to the sidelines for five minutes, with GB given a penalty stroke. Richardson-Walsh was given the honours and cooly slotted past Rutherford.   

With the player advantage, Britain went on the dominate. Again on the break, Danson bamboozled the Kiwi defence to find Owsley who was tripped as GB won their second penalty. Danson stepped up to convert her fifth of the Rio Games, as the British womens played out time to jubilant scenes in reaching their first Olympic gold-medal match.

They will play the Netherlands on Friday, who beat Germany on penalties in sudden death. After Lisa Schütze gave the Germans the lead, Maartje Paumen equalised for the Dutch women before halftime. Both sides edged towards a extra time and with no goals in over time, the Netherlands came from behind to win out in sudden death penalty strokes.