England fought down the Jillaroos to reach the semi-final
England fought down the Jillaroos to reach the semi-final
(Photo: FIH / Frank Uijlenbroek)

England gave the big surprise by defeating Australia 1-0 in Thursday’s third quarter-final at the ERGO Hockey Junior World Cup in Mönchengladbach. The winning goal was scored by Grace Balsdon in the 26th minute. In the third 9-16th classification match, Germany stumbled past Russia in blistering heat to stay in the running for 9th place.

Australia v England 0-1 (0-1)

Because of the excessive heat here in Mönchengladbach, this match was played in four quarters of 17.5 minutes each. Despite the heat, both teams played high tempo hockey. Georgia Nanscawen returned to the Jillaroo squad today after recovering from bone bruising on her knee. 

Australia earned two penalty corners in the first quarter but failed to make them count. It was the superb saving ability of goalkeeper Caitlin Jeffries that kept England in the game. England’s first penalty corner came ten minutes before halftime. The first shot was parried by Jillaroo goalkeeper Elizabeth Duguid and Grace Balsdon fired in the rebound.  

In the second half less speed was in the game as both sides struggled with the weather conditions. Australia forced three penalty corners in the last ten minutes but the English defence stood firm with goalkeeper Jeffries ensuring the ball did not get past her. The Jillaroos forced another penalty corner in the last minute but could not get the shot away. 

Voices after the match:

Grace Balsdon, goal scorer England: "I think our team defending has improved day by day and in the end we won the game today. It was not pretty but we did our job and we just defended. It is nice to play countries like Australia, they are very good team and the challenge was there. We were prepared to go, we had nothing to lose. That was our challenge and we made it. It means everything to play for your country and then scoring the goal that takes you to the semi-final, there is no better feeling." 

Germany v Russia 4-2 (3-1)

In their first match on Pitch 2, Germany had advantages from the beginning but couldn't quite break away for much if the first half. An early penalty corner goal from Viola Scharf was matched by a goal from open play by Elena Guseva, and i was only in the last six minutes that Germany established some distance when Charlotte Stapenhorst and Sabine Knüpfer put away two goals in as many minutes for the 3-1 halftime scoreline.

Both halves had had extra water breaks in the middle, and the conditions took a toll on the match in the form of a subdued pace and a certain lack of energy.

Russia played well and was clearly highly motivated, but in the end couldn't quite get the better of a solid and compact German team that played a disciplined game.

Anastasia Miroshnikova brought Russia within striking distance again in the 52nd minute, but Germany were able to create a significant number of opportunities late in the match, one of which yielded a late goal by Rebecca Grote.

When the clock stopped ticking down, Germany had claimed victory in the match with a 4-2 scoreline and moves on to the classification matches for 9th-12th place. In their next encounter, the hosts face Korea, while Russia take on Canada in the 13-16 bracket.