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New Zealand women confident of Olympic progression

Football Ferns captain Rebecca Smith doesn’t think the quarter-finals are out of reach, despite the team dropping their first match of their Olympic campaign.

 
 

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Football Ferns captain Rebecca Smith doesn’t think the quarter-finals are out of reach, despite the team dropping their first match of their Olympic campaign.

New Zealand went down 1-0 to Great Britain in Cardiff yesterday in what was the opening event of the London 2012 games.

Despite a bright start it was a disappointing performance by the Ferns as they were generally outplayed by the host nation.

The format of the 12-team competition means NZ can still move out of their pool, despite coming up against Brazil at the weekend, with the top two teams from each of the three pools progressing, as well as the two best-performing third-placed teams.

It’s possible a win against Cameroon in their final outing would see them through.

Cameroon went down 5-0 to Brazil later yesterday.

Smith said they weren’t satisfied with the loss to Britain, having come to the games with the intention of claiming a medal.

 “Having lost three points in the first game is obviously not something we wanted,” she told APNZ.
“It’s gutting.
“It’s heart-wrenching losing in front of your fans and family and friends who have come all this way and all the Kiwi fans back home.”

About 25,000 were at Millennium Stadium but it was the occasion that proved a weightier burden for the home side and Great Britain looked nervous.

They soon found their rhythm however, putting New Zealand under considerable pressure.

The Ferns didn’t cope well, often giving away possession in bad areas.

They conceeded in the 64th minute, courtesy of a Stephanie Houghton freekick.

They had a great chance to grab an equaliser but striker Sarah Gregorious shot straight at the goalkeeper when alone in the box.

Smith is confident they will bounce back quickly, especially with close to 900 caps in the squad.

“We are confident still. This team has a lot of confidence because we have a team unity not a lot of teams have and we have played so much together. We know what we are all about and that’s really important coming up against a team like Brazil who have really quality players.”

 

 
 

 
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