The Ireland Women’s hockey team were beaten 4-2 by Germany in Pool A on Thursday morning at Oi Stadium.
The result leaves Ireland with two more chances to ensure a spot in the top four of the pool and subsequent progression to the tournament’s quarter-finals.
The side produced an impressive display against the Rio 2016 Bronze medalists but Germany were clinical in attack.
Sean Dancer’s Ireland was at a disadvantage from the beginning after Lisa Altenburg put the Germans in the lead.
The 31-year-old latched on to a smart lob pass and opened up a goalscoring chance for herself with a smart run.
That particular lob through to the right-wing was a common feature of Germany’s game plan throughout the match.
Sean Dancer’s women did not have a response for the Germans in the first quarter and finished the 15 minutes looking a level below their unbeaten opposition.
Ireland upped the ante in the second quarter and began to bring the game to the 2004 Olympic Champions.
A second penalty corner for the side almost birthed an equaliser with Hannah Matthews’ touch causing panic among the Germans.
However, it was the Germans who got the second goal of the game after a cross from Kira Horn found Cécile Pieper who scored with a lovely flick.
Chloe Watkins moved into a pocket of space which almost led to a first goal for the girls in green but the chance flattered to deceive.
Ireland goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran was great against the Germans and pulled off some strong saves throughout the match.
However, the German’s added a third via a penalty stroke when they had a woman advantage – Anna O’Flanagan received a 10-minute yellow moments before.
Altenburg made no mistake from the spot and put her side into a commanding lead.
Ireland fought their way back into the game, opening their scoring account for the game two minutes after Altenburg’s second.
Elena Tice saw her strike find the bottom corner of the German goal with Ireland third penalty corner.
The fourth quarter started as the third ended with Ireland visibly confident and pushing for a second goal to bring the tie back within reach.
Sarah Hawkshaw and Zara Malseed caused the German defence problems, with the latter forcing a penalty corner.
The side’s fourth penalty corner ended with a fifth being given and Hannah McLoughlin scored her first goal for Ireland with a lovely shot that went beyond German keeper Julia Sonntag.
Controversy marred the final minutes of the game with two questionable video-call referee decisions going in favour of the Olympic mainstays.
Franzisca Hauke put the tie beyond Ireland’s reach when she scored Germany’s fourth goal of the game, even though replays appeared to show Ayeisha McFerran was obstructed in the build-up.
Zara Malseed had put the ball in the German net to get what would have been her side’s third but the video-call referee deemed it to be back-stick and disallowed it.
Germany has advanced to the quarter-finals with their win against Ireland.
The Irish comeback was not to be but the two goals against the Germans could prove important if progression came down to goal difference.
Ireland faces India next on Friday, July 30th at 3:45 am, with a win guaranteeing the side a quarter-final spot.