14 Dec 2015

Black Sticks women win thriller to reach final

8:17 am on 14 December 2015

The New Zealand women's hockey team will play for gold at the World League tournament in Argentina after defeating Germany 2-1 in this morning's semi-final.

The Black Sticks player Liz Thompson in action.

Black Sticks player Liz Thompson in action. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

First-half goals from Kirsten Pearce and Liz Thompson proved crucial for the Black Sticks, while goalkeeper Sally Rutherford was superb under immense pressure.

The Black Sticks' defence was impressive as they held out the Europeans relentless attack in the dying stages of the game.

It's the second time New Zealand have beaten the Germans at the tournament following their 3-1 victory in pool play.

The Black Sticks now progress to Monday's final where they will face Argentina, who beat China in the second semi-final at 11am.

In a televised interview on the International Hockey Federation (FIH) website, the Black Sticks captain Anita Punt said it was another proud effort from her side who now have the chance to win the title.

"It's an awesome feeling. It was a really hard battle out there but to hold on and come away with the win is amazing for New Zealand," she said.

"They came out hard, especially in the second half, but credit to our defence we held them out well and never gave up."

Germany were hot on attack in the opening stages but the New Zealanders looked equally composed in defence.

The Black Sticks were first to light up the scoreboard when Gemma Flynn intercepted a terrible back pass and flicked over the sliding goalkeeper for Kirsten Pearce to slam home into an open goal.

New Zealand kept creating chances throughout the first half and extended the lead five minutes out from half-time with Liz Thompson sending a penalty corner flick into the bottom corner.

Germany responded after the break with Eileen Hoffmann tapping in the deflection from a penalty corner save by Sally Rutherford.

The Black Sticks were tested in defence in the fourth quarter but refused to relent.

Germany won a penalty corner with just 12 seconds on the clock but couldn't force the equaliser.

Australia ended a disappointing World League finals campaign with a loss to the Netherlands to finish sixth.

The world No.2 Hockeyroos went down 1-0 to the top-ranked Dutch in a match delayed during the second half due to lightning.