Shorn of proper tournament play following the pandemic, Australia completed their Pool B campaign with a perfect record of five wins from five matches, beating Argentina 2-0 to set in stone their status as Tokyo Olympics pool winners.
Remarkably, it is the first time that the Hockeyroos, who are triple gold medallists, have finished an Olympic pool phase with a 100 per cent record.
Not only that but goalkeeper Rachael Lynch and her defence have not been breached since the 33rd minute of their opening match against Spain.
That’s four hours and 27 minutes of playing time – 267 minutes – beating the previous record of 239 set by the Netherlands in Rio 2016, according to commentator Ashley Morrison, although the Dutch hadn’t conceded in the London 2012 final either and went 330 minutes without an opponent scoring.
Back in 1996 the Hockeyroos lasted 250 minutes without conceding en route to gold and Jane-Anne Claxton said it was vital momentum as the Aussie women strive for a first podium since Sydney 2000.
“It’s pretty special. It’s not every day that you win five out of five at an Olympic Games,” said the midfielder.
“But unfortunately, this is now the business end and that won’t count if we go into a quarter-final and aren’t successful.
“We said going into this game we want momentum, we want to win. When you’re winning you’re confident, you’re playing with freedom, you’re playing with a calm mindset.
“We’ve definitely done that and set ourselves up well.”
Claxton heaped praise on their tough-as-nails backline and goalkeeper Lynch, who was reinstated in time for Tokyo after being axed under the previous regime.
“We’re pretty lucky to have two dual Olympians in our backline in Eddie (Edwina) Bone and Kate Jenner, and we have the world’s best keeper (Lynch) so it’s gonna be pretty hard to get past them.”
Lynch joined four other greats – Ugandan Julius Achon, American Donna de Varona, Japan’s Koji Murofushi and Brit Alan Pascoe – inducted into the Olympians for Life on Tuesday, a nod to her work as a nurse at Perth’s Fiona Stanley Hospital in fighting the Covid pandemic.
“I am incredibly proud, honoured to be recognised as one of five global Olympians for Life,” Lynch said.
“I guess the thing that’s most special to me is that it’s about the conduct off the field rather than the sporting achievements.”