|August 4th, 2012|
|22||Pool A||4:00pm||CHN - GBR||2 - 1 (0 - 0)||Final|
China’s penalty corner prowess saw them reignite their hopes of reaching the semi-finals as they stunned a packed house at the Riverbank Arena, eager to see Great Britain succeed. Their dreams turned to nightmares, though, in a five minute period when Fu Baorong and Yudiao Zhao finished off corner moves in the 42nd and 47th minute.
It lifts them to seven points and a win in their final group game could put the pressure on Great Britain to get a result against world number one side, the Netherlands. Christa Cullen’s late consolation goal could also prove valuable should the group go down to goal difference.
GB welcomed back their captain Kate Walsh just six days since suffering a broken jaw that required a plate inserted and played with a protective chinstrap. Her defence was not overly tested in the first half as both sides cancelled each other out. Helen Richardson created the first attack in earnest just before the half hour mark, bursting into the circle only to be fouled by a mixture of Ma Wei and Li Hongxia to win a corner.
Walsh’s first drag was charged down while a follow-up set-piece saw Zhang Yimeng produce a brilliant series of saves, twice from Christa Cullen and once from Laura Bartlett. But those proved the clearest chances – bar one Sally Walton slap-shot in the second half – as the defensive work of Ma Yibo and Xu Xiaoxu were immense to limit the chances, channeling most moves out to the corner flag. And when they finally emerged from their shell, they won the corners they needed to push ahead. Li Hongxia won the first which was switched left before Fu Baorong was credited with a heavily deflected effort in the 42nd minute.
Their third corner yielded a second goal as Ma Yibo placed her push to the right post where Yudiao Zhao slid home for a shock 2-0 lead. Try as GB might, they found entering the circle a virtual no-go zone until the 68th minute when Sarah Thomas was felled. Cullen’s powerful drag got one back but China took all the spoils.
FU Baorong (CHN), on the performance: "The whole team performed very well and personally I think I performed well as well. Every game depends on team spirit. It depends on the whole team and not on the individual. Today we took advantage of the chances we got but we didn't do that well in our previous matches, so today we got a good result."
ZHAO Yudiao (CHN), on the match: "It was OK, because we missed a lot of opportunities. We could have scored another goal but we did not get it. Apart from that it went very well. Our strategy is to try our best, to maximise each player's spirit, energy and knowledge during the match. In the first half I think both teams played very conservatively because we are all afraid of losing goals first but, in the second half, both teams fought."
Sarah THOMAS (GBR), on the match: "They went a goal up, which of course they're going to defend really tight, and that's exactly what they did. Had they still been chasing after a win the game would have been a lot more free flowing, so it just frustrated us more."
"Had we converted our corners in the first half maybe it would have been a different story, but it's just one of those games. Everyone gave 100% out there today and that's all we can ask. We just have to make sure we are ready for Monday (in their match against Netherlands)."
Ashleigh BALL (GBR), on staying calm ahead of their final pool match against Netherlands: "We'll debrief that game, but it will be about preparing for the next match. We know we are definitely capable of beating the Dutch and I know our team believes that. China are a good side, it's not anything to worry about. It's not lack of form on our side, we now need to turn our attention to the next match."
On the importance of the return of Kate WALSH (GBR) after she fractured her jaw six days ago: "She's a key figure for us on and off the pitch. It's funny her not being around and now she's back and it's exactly what we need and we'll be confident going into the next game."
|August 04th, 2012 at 9:47 am||We're a little under 15 minutes away from China vs Great Britain, the big news is Kate Walsh named in the starting line-up!|
|August 04th, 2012 at 9:48 am||Umpires for China vs GB are C Metchette (IRL) and S Iparraguirre (ARG)|
|August 04th, 2012 at 9:49 am||Should GB get a draw, they will be through to the semi-finals with Netherlands; China need a win to stay in with a chance|
|August 04th, 2012 at 10:00 am||Huddles done, huge cheers greeted Walsh's return from injury and we're ready to go at the rocking Riverbank!|
|August 04th, 2012 at 10:12 am||GB shading the opening exchanges, McLeod almost nipping in from the best chance to date, CHN 0 GBR 0, 12min|
|August 04th, 2012 at 10:27 am||Very tight and cagey at the moment, neither side with a meaningful circle entry to date; CHN 0 GBR 0, 27mins|
|August 04th, 2012 at 10:31 am||Great goalkeeping from Zhang Yimeng who saves twice from Cullen and once from Bartlett from a series of pc, CHN 0 GBR 0, 32mins|
|August 04th, 2012 at 10:36 am||Half-time: China 0 Great Britain 0, a late flurry from GB the highlight of a very tight game to date|
|August 04th, 2012 at 10:53 am||China take the lead with their first corner, Fu Baorong with the shot, its heavily deflected and goes in, CHN 1 GBR 0, 42mins|
|August 04th, 2012 at 10:58 am||And now its 2-0! China work a corner move which Yudiao Zhao guides in at the right post, GB in big trouble, 47mins|
|August 04th, 2012 at 11:06 am||GB now desperately trying to get back into the tie, Walton with a big shot saved by Zhang, CHN 2 GBR 0, 55mins|
|August 04th, 2012 at 11:12 am||Big ten minutes in store; GB need two goals to draw and go through to the semi-finals, China in control, CHN 2 GBR 0, 61mins|
|August 04th, 2012 at 11:20 am||Huge defensive effort from China mean GB have had precious few chances, Ma Yibo and Xu Xiaoxu immense, CHN 2 GBR 0, 68mins|
|August 04th, 2012 at 11:22 am||Cullen pulls one back with just over 60 seconds to go with a corner drag-flick, CHN 2 GBR 1, 69mins|
|August 04th, 2012 at 11:25 am||Final score: China 2 (F Baorong, Y Zhao) Great Britain 1 (C Cullen); really opens up the group, GB now need result vs Netherland|
|August 04th, 2012 at 11:27 am||China have reignited their progression hopes, moving up to seven points with GB on nine points and the Netherlands on 12|