Australia & France in action on the final day of the INSEP Hockey Challenge
(Photo: FIH / Violaine Duplessy)
A fired-up Australia, playing their final match of the tournament and their final match of a long European tour, took out their frustrations on France in their 6 – 2 victory on the final day of the INSEP Hockey Challenge in Paris.
In a physical encounter, which saw 5 cards given over the course of the match, Australia rediscovered the strong team-play and fast ball movement that had eluded them in their earlier matches of the tournament.
The French defence held the Australians at bay until the 17th minute, when Jason Wilson was waiting to tap the ball into the goal on the end of a clever pass across the circle.
Despite numerous shots, the Australians were unable to beat French goalkeeper Henri Lhomme from the field for the remainder of the half, but Chris Ciriello converted a 31st minute penalty corner, to put the Kookaburras 2 – 0 up at the break.
Both teams were reduced to 10 men for the first 10 minutes of the second period, but despite some better attacking play from Les Bleus, it was the Australians who had the better of the reduced numbers, with field goals to Jacob Whetton and Russell Ford. With the score at 4 – 0 and 25 minutes to go, it looked like the French may be in for a long afternoon. But they rallied, and in the 54th minute Yannick Schambert fired a penalty corner flick high into the roof of the goal to peg one back for the home team.
The French goal seemed to stir the Australians into action again, and they responded with a penalty corner goal to Joel Carroll two minutes later to go 5 – 1 up.
The World Champions continued to attack, only to be foiled by a string of amazing saves from Lhomme in the French goal and some strong defending from Joost Jansen and Fabien Magner. But the Kookaburras finally got the last laugh with Wilson finishing the way had started, scoring his second goal and Australia’s sixth to put the match beyond doubt in the 66th minute. France managed to force a penalty corner with 2 minutes left on the clock, which Magner duly converted, but it was too little too late, and the Australian’s finished with a dominant 6 – 2 win.
France head coach Scott Goodheart said after the game that his team had learned a lot from the match and the tournament. “The Australians seemed to save their best until last, and unfortunately we had to face a very motivated side – we were taught a hockey lesson,” he said. “Looking at the tournament overall, it has been a week of top quality hockey against some of the World’s best teams. I was disappointed with the match against Ireland, but there are positives to be taken from each of the games,” said Goodheart.
In the other match earlier in the day, South Korea finished the INSEP Hockey Challenge on a high note with a 2 – 1 victory over Argentina. The South Koreans led 2 – 0 at half time with field goals to Nam Yong Lee in the 3rd minute, and Juhun Kim in the 34th minute. Lucas Rossi got Argentina back to within one goal in the second period through a field goal in the 47th minute, but the South Americans were unable to bridge the gap before the final siren.
Ireland were the eventual winners of the tournament. Speaking at the presentations following the final game, Irish Captain Ronan Gormley praised the organisers of the tournament, and the facilities at INSEP. “We’re really grateful to have been invited back to this tournament again. The organisers have done a fantastic job, and the facilities at INSEP are great,” Gormley said.
Tournament organiser Sandra Harik was pleased with the way the tournament had run. “It was a really good tournament, and I’m grateful for all of the support we have had from INSEP (the national sport centre),” said Harik. “It is great for France hockey to have attracted a world class field of teams, and also to demonstrate to the best teams in the world our ability to successfully host a tournament like this,” she added.Table after day 5
Ireland 9pts (+7)
Australia 7pts (+5)
Korea 7pts (0)
Argentina 6pts (-3)
France 0pt (-10)Fédération Française de Hockey Media Release