The Netherlands, Argentina, Germany and Great Britain have qualified for the Semi Finals at the Argentina FIH Champions Trophy. On Day 4 of action in Rosario the Olympic Champions wrestled down New Zealand 3-0 now facing the World Champions from Argentina who beat China 3-2. Germany defeated Japan 3-2 in a close exciting match while Great Britain won 4-1 against Korea.
Full reports on all the matches can be found below, with extensive tournament information available by clicking here.
Netherlands march into Semi-Final
1st Quarter Final - NED 3-0 NZL
The Netherlands extended their unbeaten streak against New Zealand to 17 matches. Being under pressure to win this match both teams needed time to settle and were respectful of each other in the first six minutes. New Zealand played more defensively and kept the Dutch, who had more ball possession, out of their circle. The Dutch were patient enough and attacked in the right moment which led to their first penalty corner in the middle of the first half. Maartje Paumen’s attempt was run down by Stacey Michelsen. Soon after, the Olympic Champions failed to convert another penalty corner when Paumen’s drag-flick was saved by New Zealand’s goalkeeper Sally Rutherford. However, Naomi van As picked up the rebound to hit it on the goal but Rutherford stood up quickly and saved the shot with another brilliant reaction.
The Netherlands stayed the dominant side pressuring the Black Sticks. The deserved lead was scored by Kim Lammers (26’) who tipped in a great pass from Kitty van Male. Lammers is now on 21 Champions Trophy career goals - 18 field goals and three penalty corner goals. Only German Nadine Ernsting-Krienke has scored more field goals (19) in Champions Trophy history. Just before halftime the Black Sticks, who were unlucky to finish fourth in Pool B, missed a big opportunity to equalise when Clarissa Eshuis’ penalty corner flick went wide.
The second half saw the Winners of Pool A being awarded another two penalty corners. Rutherford was able to save the first one but the second one, which was flicked into the right bottom of the goal by Paumen (41’), gave the keeper no chance. The Netherlands were close to scoring the 3-0 but this goal was disallowed because the ball was played with a high stick. New Zealand had a short period of pressure afterwards but failed again to score from a penalty corner. Instead the crowd saw the Netherlands extending their lead when Lidewij Welten (57’) penetrated the circle from the left and shot immediately.
For more information on NED v NZL click here.
Germany secured close win over Japan
2nd Quarter Final – GER 3-2 JPN
Germany have won their sixth successive match against Japan although they were close to giving away a convincing 3-0 halftime lead. Japan never gave up but finally could not equalise and now play off for 5th to 8th position. Germany have reached the top four of a Champions Trophy tournament for the first time since 2010 when they were ranked 4th. This is the 14th Champions Trophy with Germany finishing in the top 4.
The Pool B winners started powerfully into this match. Germany’s first attack led to an early penalty corner thanks to key player Natascha Keller. Germany showed the same variation which has succeeded twice against New Zealand. Team-captain Fanny Rinne passed to injector Nina Hasselmann (7’) who scored her third goal in this competition. A few minutes later Keller failed to double the lead when her strong shot went wide. Japan’s first big opportunity was saved by goalkeeper Kristina Reynolds who dived into Shiho Otsuka’s reverse stick shot. Although Germany stayed the dominant side, Japan were close to equalizing but their shot on goal hit the post. Two minutes before halftime Marie Mävers (33’) doubled the lead scoring her third Champions Trophy career goal, all of them scored against Asian opponents. She net twice in two matches versus China in 2011 and now she scored versus Japan. Nine seconds before halftime Celine Wilde (35’) lifted the score to 3-0 when her deflection went high into the net.
The second half was completely different than the first one. Suddenly Japan were the team who controlled the match and pressured Germany. It did not take long until they changed the result into 3-2 thanks to a double penalty corner strike from Ai Murakami (37’) and Kaori Fujio (44’). Afterwards Germany failed to score from their opportunities which kept Japan in the game. Japan played very aggressively in the last minutes trying to force an equaliser but the German defence marshaled by Rinne stayed very strong and broke up many promising Japanese attacks.
For more information on GER v JPN click here.
Great Britain celebrate strong victory over Korea
3rd Quarter Final – GBR 4-1 KOR
Korea were unbeaten in four Champions Trophy matches against Great Britain, recording three wins and one draw. Both last met in January at the Four Nations Tournament in Cordoba, where Great Britain beat Korea 2-1 in the opening match only to lose 2-3 in the final. This time Great Britain had a phenomenal start and kept the Korean defence busy scoring three times within five minutes. Georgie Twigg (17’) opened the scoring at a penalty corner with her first goal of the tournament. Alex Danson’s (20’/22’) double-strike equaled her best record for most goals in the 2010 Champions Trophy scoring three times. This gave Great Britain a convincing 3-0 lead.
Lee Seon-Ok (31’) struck back late for Korea after a penalty stroke has been awarded after a Korean attacker fell over Great Britain goalkeeper Beth Storry’s stick. Korea could have come closer but they failed two score from eight penalty corners in this match. How to convert a penalty corner was demonstrated by Helen Richardson (52’) sliding into a pass and deflecting the ball into the goal.
For more information on GBR v KOR click here.
Luchetti’s late goal makes Argentina qualify for the Semi-Finals
4th Quarter Final – ARG 3-2 CHN
A match worthy of a Quarter Final that kept the spectators fully engaged as four of the five goals were scored during the last ten minutes.
Argentina have won their last three Champions Trophy encounters with China: 2-1 in 2009, 4-3 in 2010 and 4-1 in 2011. China's last Champions Trophy win over Argentina dates back to 2008 (2-1).
Pushed forward by their big home crowd Argentina’s first circle penetration occurred after a few minutes. Guided by their star Luciana Aymar, the World Champions created a lot of promising opportunities but the Chinese defence with team-captain Ma Yibo and goalkeeper Zhang Lei stayed strong. However, Noel Barrionuevo (15’) scored the lead when she converted a penalty stroke which was the outcome of two successive penalty corners. Barrionuevo is the first player since Maria Mercedes Margalot in 2005 to score a penalty stroke goal for Argentina in Champions Trophy competition. Barrionuevo has now scored in each of Argentina's last six matches versus China at world level events.
China had the better start into the second half. Their powerful play resulted in a penalty corner which was smashed in by expert Ma Yibo (45’). She is China's top goal scorer in Champions Trophy competition on 20 goals, all scored from penalty corners. China kept up their pace and the game could have gone either side. When Luciana Aymar was sent off with a green card, China won their second penalty corner which failed. Play got hectic towards the end of the match as both wanted to score still in regular time. Delfina Merino (61’) shot a great reverse stick goal much to delight of their big cheering home crowd. China did not give up and equalised again when Argentina were short in numbers after a yellow card has been awarded to Mariela Scarone. China penetrated the circle quickly after a free-hit, Tang Chunling (62’) picked the ball up in the circle and tipped it in. However, Argentina scored the game-winning goal thanks to Rosario Luchetti (65') who converted their fourth penalty corner.
For more information on ARG v CHN click here.
Flash quotes on Day 4
Mark Hager (NZL coach)
“As happened in the last matches, our performance in both halves is not the same. They played a good first half, but declined in the second. We have to work on it. Today, Netherlands taught us how to manage a match”.
Kayla Sharland (NZL team-captain)
“I agree with the coach. We’ve been shy and harmless in the circle. We couldn’t put any pressure on the opponents. Now our aim is to finish in the 5th place in this tournament”.
Stacey Michelsen (NZL player)
“I congratulate Netherlands for their classification. They played a great match today.”
Max Caldas (NED coach)
“We are really happy with this classification. New Zealand is a great team, strong, the players are really fast and their counterattack is lethal.
Maartje Paumen (NED team-captain)
“I’m happy with our performance. Today we won making the biggest margin.”
Michael Behrmann (GER coach)
“We are really happy with this classification. Japan has improved a lot since the first match in this tournament. They complicated us in the second half. We could have lost this match, but thanks to Rinne and Keller’s experience we could keep the result”.
Fanny Rinne (GER team-captain)
“We could score three goals in the first half, but the second was really complicated. They were very offensive in the second half, we felt heir pressure, so we had to decide which ball was the best, and tried to play as simple as possible”
Zenjiro Yasuda (JPN coach)
“Germany is a great team. We want to thank the local organization and the FIH for let us play here against the best teams of the world. My players make a great effort and played a great match. Now, we would have to work on designing some special strategies and plays so as to surprise our opponents”.
Yukari Yamamoto (JPN team-captain)
“It was a hard match today. We could be solid in the second half, but not enough to win this match. We need to improve for the next one.”
Danny Kerry (GBR coach)
“Korea is one of the best teams in the world. I saw their match against Germany and I knew they we will have a hard match against them. Now after we have beaten them, I’m sure we can beat any team in the next round.”
Kate Walsh (GBR team-captain)
“We were able to play concentrated all the match and were able to stop the Korean attacks. I’m very happy with today’s performance as we handled the match, scored, won and classified.”
Sang Ryul Kim (CHN coach)
“I think the team played better today than in other matches at this tournament. Our performance was really good during the first half and the beginning of the second half, but Argentina have good players, so it wasn’t easy for us.”
Carlos Retegui (ARG Coach)
“This was the most difficult match since I’m the coach. Our defensive system was almost perfect today. Although Luciana is getting older every day, I’m very proud to see how she compensates that with her personality and how she transmits it to the rest of the team. She goes beyond any disadvantage with her enthusiasm. We don’t have a rematch with Netherlands on Saturday as we are not going to play against this team who has defeated us in Amsterdam. This is a new chance and we will do our best. It will be chess”.
Luciana Aymar (ARG team-captain)
“I think we played a great match today. I feel good and physically which makes me feel very well while playing. Playing against the Netherlands? For us, it’s always a rematch.”
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