Day 2: USA were in scintillating form in their 7-0 defeat of Russia, India were stunned by Netherlands Antilles and Belgium defeated France on Day 2 of the Olympic Qualifier in Kazan.
Match 4 – Belgium 5, France 0
Belgium produced a wonderful display in terrible playing conditions to outclass France 5-0 in the first match of Day 2. Belgium dominated the game from start to finish, and will take great confidence from such a strong showing after the disappointment of defeat in yesterday’s fixture against USA.
Belgium took the lead in under two minutes when Charlotte DE VOS tapped into an open goal after France goalkeeper Marion REHBY had been eliminated by a good passing move. The weather conditions at the match slowly worsened due to the heavy rain, which made life extremely difficult for the players. Despite this, Belgium played some outstanding hockey at times, and put together some excellent passing moves to cut through the France defence. Carole DEMBOUR made the score 2-0 from a penalty corner, getting a vital touch from the strike of Valerie VERMEERSCH. It was DEMBOUR again who was on target moments into the second half, but all of the hard work was done by Sophie GIERTS who pass did brilliantly down the left before setting up her team-mate. Morgane VOUCHE scored her sides’ fourth goal, diving full length to deflect a penalty corner into the roof of the net. The scoring was completed when Astrid VERVAET picked up a loose ball from the keeper’s pads and passed into the goal with five minutes left to play. It was a much needed victory for Belgium, but both the performance and the result were extremely impressive.
Match 5 – India 1, Netherlands Antilles 2
Netherlands Antilles achieved an excellent result over one of the pre-tournament favourites, winning a close contest 2-1. The result means that Netherlands Antilles now have two wins from their first two matches, keeping them on track for a possible appearance in Sunday’s Olympic Qualifier final. India are far from out things yet, and know that wins in their last three matches would be enough for a final birth.
The game was a close contest for much of the first half with both teams creating good opportunities, but the game needed a goal to really get things going. This duly came from an India penalty corner, but it was not India who scored it. The penalty corner broke down, and a stunning break forward by Netherlands Antilles was finished off by Clair VISSER, who smashed a shot from the top of the circle into the bottom corner. It was a great goal, but it was more than matched by the second half equaliser from the outstanding Rani DEVI. Picking the ball up wide left, she adjusted her body and fired across the goalkeeper into the far corner, sparking wild celebrations from the India supporters in the crowd. Netherlands Antilles were soon back in front through Maria HINSKINS, who cleverly deflected in a cross from Anika De HAAS. India went in search of the equaliser, and their cause was boosted by yellow cards to Ernestina SCHREUDER and Jolanda CLEMENS. However, despite having two extra players on the field, India could not make the advantage count. Netherlands Antilles held on for an excellent victory, and will be look forward to their next match, against Russia on Tuesday.
Match 6 – Russia 0, USA 7
USA were in scintillating form in their 7-0 defeat of Russia in the final match of the day here in Kazan. The first half saw the team surge into a 6-0 lead after just 22 minutes, including a three goal burst between the 13th and 16th minutes. The result puts them top of the table, and on this form the side will be difficult to beat.
Tiffany Snow scored the opening goal after just three minutes from open play, before Keli SMITH tapped into an open goal four minutes later. Carrie LINGO made it 3-0 after 14 minutes of play, brilliantly deflecting a penalty corner into the roof of the net. This goal was a huge blow to Russia, whose heads visibly dropped. USA saw that their opponents were there for the taking, and soon had goals number four and five registered on the huge scoreboard overlooking the pitch. Tiffany Snow scored the fourth by flicking the ball into an open goal before Angela LOY hit a cracking shot from near the top of the circle. Russia were keen not to let their home supporters down by giving in completely, and worked hard to create chances for themselves. However, it was USA’s day, and the team scored goal number six through a Dana SENSENIG field goal in the 22nd minute. At half time it was clear that the USA team were amazed by what they had achieved, staring up at the scoreboard and shaking their heads in disbelief. A second half goal from Tiffany SNOW completed the scoring for USA, capping off her hat trick and a superb victory for her team. The result puts USA at the top of the round-robin league table, and is a big step towards achieving a place in Sunday’s final.
For more information about all of these matches, including official match sheets and live commentary archives, please click here to visit the FIH microsite.
Tomorrow is a rest day, with play resuming on Tuesday 22nd April.
Match 07 – 12:05: USA v France (local time)
Match 08 - 16:05: India v Belgium
Match 09 – 18:00: Netherlands Antilles v Russia
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