Kiwis claim bronze against brooding Koreans

Amsterdam: New Zealand won their first Champions Trophy medal by beating South Korea 3-2 for the bronze medal at the women`s Champions Trophy field hockey tournament on Sunday.

South Korea had been scheduled to face hosts the Netherlands in the final, but a sensational overnight protest from Argentina saw the South Americans awarded a berth in the decider at South Korea`s expense.

Korea started each half of the bronze medal match with a silent protest, refusing to play for 10 seconds after the starting whistle.

"They told us a minute before the match what they were going to do, so I told our players to give them the ball and Korea could then make their own decision what to do as we respect their feelings," said Mark Hager, the New Zealand coach.

Korean officials did not make themselves available for comment.

Katie Glynn scored inside the right post to convert New Zealand`s second penalty corner, followed a minute later by Krystal Forgesson`s field goal to give New Zealand a 2-0 lead mid-way through the first half.

"Our first 20 minutes were good but after that Korea pressured us," Hager said.

Korea established their ascendancy in the second half, pressing New Zealand in defence and spending long periods camped in the Kiwis` defensive quarter.

Korea`s Kim Jong-eun scored a field goal early in the second half followed by a penalty corner conversion to equalise at 2-2.

New Zealand broke out of Korea`s press in the last minutes to earn a penalty corner, but Clarissa Eshuis could not convert.

Finally, in the last half-minute Samantha Harrison made a pass into the circle for Cathryn Finlayson to push towards goal and Charlotte Harrison edged the ball over the line for the winning goal.

Premature celebrations by New Zealand nearly cost them the match, however, as Korea had a shot on goal as the final siren sounded.

"Korea showed a lot of heart on the pitch today and of course I am disappointed for them not to be in the final as they are a quality team," Hager said.

"We know we still have a long way to go to be at the level of the skills of the top teams."

Earlier, England beat Australia 2-0 to take fifth place and China won 5-3 over Germany for seventh place.


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