Experienced defender Sam Charlton says the Black Sticks must tackle their final women’s hockey World Cup pool match with more focus if they want to secure a spot in the quarter-finals.
Although the world No.4 New Zealanders opened pool play in London with a solid 4-2 win over Belgium, they were upset 2-1 by 12th-ranked Japan on Wednesday, and now sit equal second, one point behind group leaders Australia.
A win over the Hockeyroos will mean the Black Sticks jump to the top of the group and move straight through to the quarter-finals. If they finish second or third, they’ll have to play a cross-over game to qualify for the knock-out phase.
Charlton says the New Zealanders must tackle world No.5 Australia with the right mindset.
“If you aren’t super clinical in the defensive circle in making sure you limit their opportunities, and likewise in the attacking circle making sure you create really good opportunities, you’re not going to win games,” she said.
“I think that’s something that let us down – we turned the ball over too often and didn’t value enough possession as we were going forward. “
Charlton says it’s especially important for the New Zealanders to convert their penalty corners, after falling short against Japan.
“Converting penalty corners can be the difference betwween winning and losing a game,” Charlton said.
“Switching on to the task at hand, taking control of the game and making sure we dictate the way we want to play, and making sure we do that for the full 60 minutes.”
She said the Black Sticks had to find more consistency if they wanted to threaten the top-ranked nations in London.
“I don’t think its an excuse to have an offgame in a tournament. If we want to be a world class team, we want to be performing consistently in every game.”