Black Sticks women narrowly fall to Spain at Tokyo 2020

The Black Sticks women have fallen to a 2-1 Olympic defeat to Spain this afternoon, setting up an intriguing trans-Tasman encounter with Australia tomorrow night.

Spain's Xantal Gine Patsi, left, and New Zealand's Kelsey Smith battle for the ball during a women's field hockey match at the 2020 Summer Olympics. Source: Photosport

The Kiwis were chasing the game from the off, as Spain took an early lead in the sixth minute before doubled it in the second quarter.

The Black Sticks were able to hit back through Kelsey Smith in the opening minutes of the second half, with the playmaker's sharp cross from the right flank creeping into the bottom corner.

But despite applying consistent pressure, the Black Sticks were unable to break through again, consigning them to a one-goal defeat.

They remain in second place in the group on six points, but a winner in this evening's Argentina-China match may jump above the Kiwis.

The result sets up an intriguing encounter with table-toppers Australia tomorrow night, with the Black Sticks likely to need at least a draw to remain comfortable in the quarter-final qualifying spots.

Their final group game is against China on Saturday.

WATCH THE OLYMPICS: TVNZ 1 and TVNZ OnDemand feature 12 hours of free-to-air action focussed on Kiwi athletes each afternoon and evening, while Sky TV has Olympics coverage across 12 channels and streaming platforms.