A former Hockeyroo has lashed out at the Olympic hockey finals system after the team crashed out in a shock loss to India in Tokyo.
The Australian women’s hockey side and three-time Olympic champions went into Monday’s quarter-final clash as raging hot favourites after they went through their pool group undefeated with five wins from five games.
But that’s where the Hockeyroos’ winning run ended, bombing out of the tournament in a shock 1-0 loss against India, who had scraped in the quarter-finals with just two wins from their five pool games.
Match commentator and former Hockeyroo Georgie Parker was devastated, describing the shock result shortly before full-time as a ‘travesty’ as she called for a ‘fairer’ system that rewarded teams that finished on top of their pool.
The Hockeyroos were inconsolable on the pitch after a shock quarter-final loss against India
Former Hockeyroo Georgie Parker (pictured) says teams who finish at the top of their pool in the group stages be rewarded for the efforts
‘Absolute travesty if they were to lose this,’ she said during commentary.
‘Quarter finals are questioned by so many in the hockey because it just does not reward finishing on top.’
Parker, who played more than 200 games for the Hockeyroos later doubled down on her call while replying to a question on Twitter.
‘I hate quarter-finals so much. Doesn’t reward good performances during the pool phase, and rewards mediocrity,’ she tweeted.
‘In saying that, it’s how it is, and you have to beat everyone to win. India were great today. I’d love the top team to go straight to semis and second and third play-off in quarters.’
Her strong views divided fans online.
‘Really feel for the Hockeyroos. They never looked likely today, but Georgie Parker is totally right. There’s no reward for their excellent undefeated group stage, and that really sucks,’ one wrote.
Another added: ‘India too good on the day. Amazing to think a team with only two wins can make the quarter-finals of an Olympics.
The Hockeyroos (pictured at full-time) were vying for the fourth Olympic gold medal
Former Hockeyroo Georgie Parker made her feelings known (tweet pictured) after the match
The Indians hit the front in the second quarter to lead 1-0 at half-time and denied the Hockeyroos numerous attacking opportunities in a second-half fightback.
In a thrilling final quarter, the Indian goalkeeper saved a Hockeyroos penalty corner with eight-and-a-half minutes remaining.
The Hockeyroos then missed two late penalty corners in the final three minutes as India held on for the biggest boilover of the women’s tournament so far.
The Hockeyroos were inconsolable on the pitch when the full-time whistle blew as their opponents rejoiced of being one step closer to their first ever Olympic medal in women’s hockey.
Parker also later admitted that tears welled up in her eyes seeing the devastation on her heartbroken teammates.
‘From the elation of watching the Kookaburras penalty shoot out win yesterday, to the devastation of the Hockeyroos losing just then. My heart breaks for these girls,’ Parker tweeted.
The Hockeyroos (pictured at full-time) went into the sudden death clash undefeated in the tournament with five wins from five games
Australia has reacted in shock to the heartbreaking loss with Channel Seven presenter Edwina Bartholomew describing the result as a monumental upset.
The Hockeyroos also crashed out in the quarter-finals five years earlier in Rio.
India will progress to Wednesday’s semi-finals while the Hockeyroos will play off for the minor placings between fifth and eighth.
In other quarter-final action on Monday, defending Olympic champions Great Britain will take on Spain while New Zealand will face off against 2016 silver medallists the Netherlands.
India will take on Argentina, who booked their semi-final spot with a 3-0 win against 2016 bronze medallists Germany.
The final and bronze medal play-off will both be played on Friday.
After two wins and three losses in the pool stage, India is through to their first Olympic women’s hockey semi-final
The Hockeyroos were hunting for their first Olympic medal since winning on home soil at the 2000 Games in Sydney.
They previously won Olympic gold in 1988, 1996 and 2000.
The Hockeyroos went to Tokyo determined to put a harrowing six months behind them following the fallout of a scathing review into the national women’s squad.
The external review made 29 recommendations in response to a ‘dysfunctional’ culture in the squad, sparked by claims of body-shaming, bullying and other issues.
It also forced the resignations of Hockeyroos head coach Paul Gaudoin and high-performance director Toni Cumpston.
Hockeyroo star Madison Mae Fitzpatrick was in tears after the shock quarter-final loss