Australian goal keeper Toni Cronk saved a penalty stroke
and played an incredible match to lead the Hockeyroos to a hard fought 1-0 win
over the USA at Riverbank Arena today.
They didnít start as well as they did against Germany
with the USA getting first look at the goal and Anna Flanagan missing 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 by example in midfield fighting hard
for every possession and creating opportunities in front of goal.
USA also had its chances but things started to fall the
Australians way when a penalty corner was overturned by the video umpire,
deemed not to have hit Teneal Attardís 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 didnít 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 Rives in her 200th international.
Australia peppered the goals and to USA goalie Amy
Swensenís credit she played a brilliant match, keeping her team within reach.
Rivers, Hope Munro, Emily Smith, Fiona Boyce (AIS-WAIS)
and Ashleigh Nelson (AIS-WAIS) all had chances but could find the back of the net.
The Hockeyroos now face South Africa on August 4 at 3.20pm