Chinese women's hockey team made an history at the 28th Olympic
Games with a 3-0 win over Spain on Wednesday, making it the first
team in the semi-finals.
The Chinese team, whose previous best was fifth place at the
Sydney Games four years ago, secured the top four spot with three
consecutive wins in Group A.
Sydney bronze medallists the Netherlands virtually assured
themselves of a place in the last four, their 4-1 victory over
Germany taking them to the top of group B.
The Dutch, who play defending champions Australia in their last
match on Sunday, have won all three matches so far.
Australia, South Korea and Germany have one win each from two
games and any two could surpass the Dutch on goal difference if
they win their remaining matches with huge margins.
The South Koreans, beaten by the Dutch in their first match,
resurrected their campaign with a 3-0 demolition of South
China are the only team in the 10-team event yet to concede a
goal, but coach Kim Changback was not impressed by his team's
"They all want to score goals instead of communicating with each
other," Kim said.
"They do no co-operate with each other. Each one of them is
tooambitious. If they play as a team they can do much better."
China, virtually unknown in women's hockey till the 1990s, hit
the headlines when they won the elite six-nation Champions Trophy
The Chinese play world champions Argentina in the last match
onSunday, a match that could decide group A winners.
Kim conceded the maiden semi-final appearance will give
women'shockey a major fillip in China.
"Hockey, especially by women, is not very popular back home," he
said. "Hopefully these Gams will make people more aware of it.
"Till four years ago, there were only about 200 men and women
hockey players in China. It was very embarrassing.
"Now there are about 400-500 players in a country of more than a
billion and 11 women's teams."
Spain, who won the gold at home in Barcelona in 1992, are out of
contention for the semi-finals with their second consecutive
defeat. They lost to Argentina 0-4 in the first game.
The Netherlands scored all four goals in the first half against
Germany, who upset Australia in their first match.
The Germans kept the Dutch at bay in the second half and earneda
consolation goal through Nadine Ernsting against the run of
In Wednesday's last group A match, Japan defeated New Zealand
2-0 for their first win in three matches. Tomomi Komori scored once
in each half.
New Zealand captain Suzie Muirhead denied her team their first
goal in the competition when she failed to convert a penalty
Both Japan and winless New Zealand are out of the semi-final
(Xinhua News Agency August 19, 2004)