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England – South Africa 4-1 (2-1 halftime)
Host England live up to their top seeding in Group B, making easy work of ,#11 South Africa in a 4-1 win on opening day at the Investec Hockey World League Semi-Final tournament.
England took control of the first half, but had to settle for a slim 2-1 lead at the break after South Africa’s Pietee Coetzee scored in the last minute of action with her signature drag flick. Susie Gilbert and Soophie Bray built the 2-0 lead in a six-minute span mid-half as England. Gilbert batted in a loose ball for the initial strike and Bray received a picture perfect pass from Lily Owsley at the baseline to double the lead.
Alex Danson scored the critical 3-1 goal four minutes into the second half to set the tone with a beautiful reverse stick shot that rammed into the back of the net. South Africa did its best to cut into the lead, including a few close strikes from Coetzee late in the game, but it was England to get the late penalty corner goal when rookie Giselle Ansley put in her penalty corner flick in the waning minutes of the game to bring the final to 4-1.
England now shares a spot at the top of the standings with Australia, which also cruised in their opening game against Spain, 5-0. Tomorrow, the two unbeaten teams will swap opponents as England takes on Spain, while the Hockeyroos face South Africa.
Australia – Spain 5-0 (1-0 halftime)
Sixth-ranked Australia pulled away in the second half to earn a convincing 5-0 win against #15 Spain in Group B action at the Investec Hockey World League Semi-Final tournament in London. Australia put in four goals in a second half surge that ultimately sunk Spain.
It took more than a half hour for the Australians to find the back of the goal when Georgia Nanschawen scored in the 33rd minute to end nearly a half of frustration. The Hockeyroos were strong in the half, but were thwarted time and time again as they approached the D.
The second half was an entirely different story as suddenly the goals started flowing freely for the Aussies. Sic minutes into the half, Claire Messent got things rolling with a penalty corner goal. After Spain made three saves on the play, Messent showed that the fourth time was the charm on the goal. That goal was followed up four minutes later when Kellie White made it a 3-0 advantage.
The final blow for Spain came when Karri McMahon smashed a ball into the D that went careening off a Spanish defender’s foot to make it a clear 4-0 lead with 19 to go in the game. Down by four and with few offensive chances, Spain could do little but watch the clock tick away. Emily Hurtz put in the fifth goal for good measure in the waning moments of the game, sending Spain packing, 5-0.
The win was a far cry from the Group A games, which were nail biters until the end and set up the Hockeyroos as the top team in Group B.
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