Germany 4-2 Ireland
Despite being 3-0 down at one point, Ireland showed their battling qualities to make a game of it against Germany, before going down 4-2 in their Pool A hockey match at Tokyo 2020.
With games to come against India (on Friday) and GB, Sean Dancer's side still have a chance to make the quarter-finals.
Goals from Lisa Altenburg and Cecile Pieper had the Germans 2-0 up by half-time. With Ireland's Anna O'Flanagan receiving yellow and 10 minutes in the bin, and Altenburg subsequently making it 3-0 from the spot, things did look bleak.
However, goals from Elena Tice on 42 minutes and Hannah McLoughlin eight minutes later had the Irish back in it.
The Germans restored their two-goal advantage with a controversial score as Franzisca Hauke flicked home mid-circle. A video review was called for obstruction on Ayeisha McFerran but the goal stood.
Hannah McLoughlin's precise strike got Ireland back into the game at 3-2, but Germany would get a fourth to secure victory#olympics #tokyo2020 #RTESport— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) July 28, 2021
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"Games against Germany are always quite physical and they’re quite fun too, so I think we enjoyed that game," Chloe Watkins reflected.
"I think 4-2 is probably not really a fair reflection, we probably deserved a point if I’m honest. One or two things didn’t go our way but I think we played really well, we came up to it, they’re world number 3 and I think it was a really good battle, we matched them in a lot of areas.
"We could have rolled over in the fourth quarter and let them come in but we didn’t. We fought hard and we knew goal difference is really important. They were really good goals, really well worked and it just showed our fighting spirit to give us confidence going into the next game."
Despite a 4-2 loss, Ireland hockey coach Sean Dancer felt the way his side battled back against Germany was more important than the result of their Pool A group clash at #tokyo2020 #RTESport #olympics @IreWomenHockey pic.twitter.com/vwxhwS7UaF— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) July 28, 2021
Ireland sit fourth in the group with two games to go, with four teams advancing to the quarter-finals. India fell 4-1 to GB to leave them with three losses on their record and targeting the Irish game as one they need to win to keep their tournament hopes alive.
"India have strong elimination skills, the ability to crash the ball [direct] is something they are well known for," coach Sean Dancer’s said of the upcoming showdown.
"Understanding their structure but also willing to front up well and I think we match up nicely against them. We will try and get on the front foot and punish them any way we can.
"We knew the Dutch and German games would be difficult and probably take care of themselves. I suppose the hard work starts now – we always knew India and GB would be where the tournament gets really interesting and we have to step up and that is the main challenge."
Speaking afterwards to RTÉ Sport, Irish coach Sean Dancer looked beyond the result when saying: "Going down a couple of goals at the start made the day a bit more difficult. If we had been in a position of 0-0 or a little bit closer in the second half, things might have been a little different.
"As you said the comeback and the way we played was more important than the result."
On the yellow card for Ann O'Flanagan and the subsequent penalty, he added: "You always think you're correct as a coach and the decisions should go your way. I haven't seen the video referral for the corner.
"The call on Anna was a bit tough but it's written in the rules - if you're on the ground and take a player then that's what your fate is."