Britain take field hockey bronze for best finish in 20 years

Great Britain, inspired by skipper Kate Walsh who broke her jaw just a week ago, beat New Zealand 3-1 on Friday to earn an Olympic bronze medal, something they last achieved 20 years ago in Barcelona.

It did however take a long time to break down the well-ordered and fiercely motivated Kiwis who were as close to a women's Olympic hockey medal as they have ever been and already certain of their best finish.

The crucial phase of the match began 10 minutes into the second half, when Great Britain began to make their extra pressure count, and during which they scored three goals in 17 minutes.

All of them came from penalty corners, as befitting a team with the best conversion rate in the tournament, of more than 40 percent.

And all of them were taken by Walsh, who fractured her jaw last week and yet came back to play an influential part.

"I don't think it will hit me what a crazy fortnight it's been until a few weeks' time," Walsh said.

"We were heart-broken after the semi-final (with a 2-1 loss to Argentina) and vowed we would not go away from here empty-handed.

"The result was that we played our best game of the tournament by miles. It's amazing."

Walsh also claimed that fitness was a factor in their being able to break down the Kiwi defence more often in the last quarter of the game, though also important was scoring the first goal, which enabled the under-pressure home team to play with more freedom.

When that happened the goals came amidst bursts of extra support and adrenaline with Alex Dawson, Crista Cullen and Sarah Thomas all netting, though even then the New Zealanders' resistance never slackened.

They were were rewarded with a goal three minutes from the end when a Stacey Michelson instigated attack produced a penalty corner from which she herself scored.

Three-times Olympic champions Australia finished fifth after chiselling out a 2-0 win over China.

It means the Australians have conceded only two goals in six matches all tournament -- but once again, despite dominating long periods of play, they found it hard to score.

It took them till the 41st minute for them to take the lead through Jodie Schulz from a penalty corner, and until ten minutes before the end before Jade Close scored the second after good work by Hope Munro.

The lack of cutting edge left Australia vulnerable to a demoralising counter-attack strike, which almost happened as the tenacious Chinese fought back well in the last 15 minutes.

During this high octane phase Song Qingling hit a post after great work by Li Hongxia, after which China won three penalty corners from which they were unable to score.

From the last of them Song got the ball into the net, and a goal was awarded, only for it to be disallowed after an infringement became evident during the video replay Australia requested.

It was Australia's first win over China in a major international tournament since 2005.

Britain's Kate Walsh (L) is challenged by New Zealand's Cathryn Finlayson during the women's field hockey bronze medal match at The Riverbank Arena in London. Great Britain, inspired by skipper Walsh who broke her jaw just a week ago, beat New Zealand 3-1 to earn an Olympic bronze medal, something they last achieved 20 years ago in Barcelona.

Britain's Crista Cullen shoots a goal during their women's field hockey bronze medal match against New Zealand at The Riverbank Arena in London. Britain won 3-1.

Jodie Schulz of Australia (L) fights for the ball with Zhao Yudiao of China during their women's field hockey match at the Riverbank Arena in London. Three-times Olympic champions Australia finished fifth in the women's hockey tournament after chiselling out a 2-0 win over China with with a hard-fought but sometimes rather toothless performance.