The men’s Olympic football team made history tonight by reaching the quarter-finals for the first time, drawing 0-0 with Romania at the Sapporo Dome.
The draw, combined with a defeat for Honduras in the other group game against South Korea, meant the team finished second in their group, becoming the first men’s side to qualify for a quarter-final at a World Cup or Olympics.
Head Coach Danny Hay, and captain for the game Chris Wood, spoke to media after the match:
“It really came down to desire tonight and the boys really dug in and showed a lot of that” said Head Coach Danny Hay.
“I’m really proud of the performance. It’s historic and we look forward to a quarter-final for a New Zealand men’s team”.
The team saw a number of changes from the previous game, bringing in Callan Elliot, Marko Stamenic, Joe Champness and Matthew Garbett for Dane Ingham, Clayton Lewis, Callum McCowatt and the injured Winston Reid.
The team dominated possession throughout the contest, carving out a number of good chances they were unlucky not to convert. Keeper Michael Woud was also called upon on occasion, making a number of crucial saves to keep his clean sheet.
The team will next face hosts Japan in the quarter-final. The game will be played at 6pm (Japan) / 9pm (NZ) on Saturday 31 July 2021 at Ibaraki Kashima Stadium.
Article added: Wednesday 28 July 2021