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OlyWhites' Tokyo run ends in heartbreak with shootout loss

The OlyWhites have seen their historic campaign come to heartbreaking end against Japan, losing their quarter-final at the Tokyo Olympics this evening via a penalty shootout.

OlyWhites striker Chris Wood brings the ball under control against Japan in the quarter-finals of the Tokyo Olympics. Source: Photosport

A tight-fought contest was played out at Ibaraki Kashima Stadium but neither side were able to break the goalless deadlock after 120 minutes of play.

Keeper Michael Woud was a big reason for that, making multiple strong saves against the Japanese who had 21 sots in the match compared to New Zealand's eight.

That wasn't to say the OlyWhites didn't have their chances; their best one in extra time went begging after Eli Just slipped on the greasy, humid surface with an open shot at goal inside the box.

With the 0-0 scoreline, the match headed to a penalty shootout.

Experienced shooter Chris Wood was up first for New Zealand, comfortably scoring to put his side up.

Kaoru Mitoma responded for Japan, finding the back of the net with a shot to the bottom right.

Up next for the Kiwis was Liberato Cacace but his shot to the bottom left was saved by Kosei Tani, giving Japan the advantage.

Japan then went up with Kou Itakura stuttering to get Woud off-balance to find the net.

Clayton Lewis tried to respond for New Zealand but his shot went above the cross bar and Japan's Yuta Nakayama put the pressure on with another successful penalty.

Callum McCowatt kept the OlyWhites in it with a successful penalty but Japan's captain Maya Yoshida came up to the spot and finished the shootout with a shot to the bottom left.

It's a heartbreaking end to a historic campaign for the OlyWhites who recorded their first-ever win at an Olympics and with it, their first entry to the quarter-finals.