Crista Cullen scored against Argentina
(Photo: FIH / Frank Uijlenbroek)
Great Britain’s women pulled off an excellent victory over World Champions Argentina at the Cordoba Four Nations late on Thursday night as goals from Leicester duo Kerry Williams and Crista Cullen moved GB to the top of the standings.
In an open encounter and spurred on by an enthusiastic South American crowd, Great Britain rose to the challenge, sticking to the game plan and demonstrating their experience to take all three points against a team that included seven times World Player of the Year Luciana Aymar.
Great Britain rotated the goalkeepers with Scottish goalkeeper Abi Walker replacing Beth Storry in goal. Slough’s Ashley Ball also came in having sat out the opening night win over Korea with clubmate Nicola White sitting the match out.
While she might not have made the score sheet herself, Reading’s Helen Richardson played a significant role in the victory. With 21 minutes on the clock the 30 year old from Nottinghamshire fed her former Leicester colleague Kerry Williams (below right) for the opening goal. A week earlier Williams had been drafted into the squad to replace the injured Vikki Bunce and she took her opportunity well giving Great Britain the lead.
And less than five minutes later Richardson showed more of the aptitude that saw her voted into the International Hockey Federation’s World All Stars team as she cleared a goal-bound penalty corner effort off the line, preserving Great Britain’s lead to the break.
Great Britain enjoyed the better of the opportunities in the match and from one such chance, a 48th minute penalty corner, Crista Cullen fired home a trademark low drag flick to give GB what would become an unassailable lead.
After the match Head Coach Danny Kerry was pleased with his squad for the result and the performance: “It was a thoroughly professional and disciplined performance against a full strength Argentina side. We should excellent concentration, which allowed them very few opportunities while we created good chances of our own.
Kerry singled out 22 year old Dilly Newton and 23 year old Laura Unsworth for particular praise, saying: “Dilly had a game of maturity beyond her years while Laura Unsworth grows with every game. She is becoming a world class player. Looking at their ages it bodes well for the future and our development.”
The result takes Great Britain to the top of the tournament standings, three points clear of Argentina and Korea, who beat New Zealand 6-4 earlier in the evening. Great Britain’s last pool match is against New Zealand on Saturday. The result also guarantees them progress to Sunday’s final, with the opposition for the tournament trophy as yet unknown.