Penalty shootout heartbreak for Black Sticks women in semifinal loss to England

New Zealand players deal with the heartache of a semifinal loss to England at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Aijaz Rahi/AP

New Zealand players deal with the heartache of a semifinal loss to England at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

“Sport can be an absolute beauty and it can be a beast – and it’s a beast of a day for us today.”

Black Sticks captain Megan Hull summed up her team’s heartbreaking semifinal defeat to hosts England which ensured the defence of their Commonwealth Games women’s hockey title is over.

New Zealand lost to the host nation in a penalty shootout in Birmingham on Saturday morning (NZ time) after the scores were locked 0-0 at fulltime.

Hope Ralph missed the first penalty before Rose Tynan, Katie Doar and Olivia Shannon all had their attempts saved by outstanding England goalkeeper Madeleine Hinch.

New Zealand keeper Grace O’Hanlon saved England’s first two attempts before Isabelle Petter and Hannah Martin both scored to clinch a place in the gold medal match against Australia or India and spark jubilant scenes for the victors and a delighted home crowd.

“There’s a lot of hurt and a few shattered hearts out there,” said Hull, one of NZ’s standout players in a game which started brightly but looked destined for a shootout before halftime.

“We’ll go home tonight and take the time we need, but I know the character of our group and I know we’ll be back fighting for that bronze.

England's Hannah Martin scores the deciding goal in the penalty shootout to win the women's semifinal hockey match against New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games.

Aijaz Rahi/AP

England’s Hannah Martin scores the deciding goal in the penalty shootout to win the women’s semifinal hockey match against New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games.

“One word that comes to me is proud,” Hull said with her voice shaking soon after the defeat.

“Because that performance out there tonight was nothing short of incredible from our girls.”

The Black Sticks had beaten England 3-1 at the World Cup last month despite England being ranked four places higher in the world standings at No.4.

While the home side had a couple of early penalty corners, New Zealand’s pressing game was causing them problems at the back.

England went the closest to scoring in the first two quarters with a shot from Holly Hunt hit the outside of the post, while both sides had players yellow-carded for 10 minutes.

Rose Tynan of New Zealand in the women's hockey semifinal against England on day eight of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Rose Tynan of New Zealand in the women’s hockey semifinal against England on day eight of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The Black Sticks stunned Australia in the 2018 final on the Gold Coast, winning 4-1 in the gold medal match for their first Commonwealth title after defeating England in the semi in a penalty shootout in which both teams also had trouble finding a way past the netminders.

New Zealand will play the beaten side in the second semifinal on Sunday night (NZ time).

“We’ll have to make it a beauty in that bronze medal [game],” Hull added defiantly.

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