China – Argentina 2-3 (0-2 halftime)
Argentina took over sole possession of first place of Group A at the Investec Hockey World League Semi-Final tournament after earning a last-minute 3-2 win against China. Carla Rebecchi had two goals in the win, including the last-minute gasp that lifted Argentina to their second straight close-call victory.
Argentina looked to be in control early in the game, owning a 2-0 lead at the break after Rosario Luchetti went to the low corner on a penalty corner 12 minutes into action. Rebecchi followed up with the 2-0 goal in the 27th minute to give Argentina breathing space at the half.
China mounted its comeback seven minutes into the second half when Hongxia Li fired in a field goal to get China on the board and cut the lead in half. The goal woke up both sides as the pace dramatically increased. Mengyu Wang scored the equalizer going to the lower corner to make it a 2-2 affair with nine minutes left. It looked like the teams would split the points and end in a draw, until Rebecchi scooped up a ball bouncing around in front of the Chinese net and slammed it home for the last-minute 3-2 win.
Argentina now has six points in two games. China and Italy are deadlocked with three points in their two outings. Bring up the rear is USA with no points for their efforts.
United States – Italy 1-2 (1-1 halftime)
Both Italy and the United States were looking for their first point at the Investec Hockey World League Semi-Final tournament in London and in the end Italy stole the three points right out from under the Americans with a last-minute strike in a 2-1 decision.
The win was the first upset of the tournament as the U.S. came in ranked 10th in the FIH World Ranking and the Italians are the lowest ranked entry at 17th.
Italy’s chances were few and far between, but they made their opportunities count. They scored the game-winner with 24 seconds left in the game when their initial penalty corner chance was stopped, but the ball continued to careen through the D until Stefina Tosco popped it in from beside the post.
The U.S. had a strong start to the game, but took nearly 20 minutes to be rewarded for their efforts when Michelle Kasold ended the frustration. The U.S. continued to dominate the action, but the next goal went to the Italians as Macarena Ronsisvalli found herself on a breakaway and took the shot from the top of the D that evened the game at one.
After continuing to dominate the action the U.S. was finally handed a golden opportunity to take the lead when Caroline Nichols lined up to take a penalty stroke. But Italian goaltender Martina Chirico came up with the huge save, making the initial stop with her leg pad and batting the ball away just before it was about the cross the line.
Both teams will have their hands full on Tuesday. The Italians will meet World #2 Argentina, while the Americans have seventh-ranked China on tap.
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