A superb evening of hockey has drawn to a close at the Argentina Hockey World League Final in San Miguel de Tucuman, with England and Argentina securing their places in the semi-finals with victories over Korea and China respectively.
England have set up a semi-final meeting with Australia thanks to a 1-0 win over China in the third quarter-final. A second half penalty stroke from Georgie Twigg ended 46 minutes of intense resistance from the well organised and hard-working Asians, but it was a victory that England fully deserved.
In the final match of the day, Carla Rebecchi scored twice to help Argentina fight-back from a goal down to defeat Korea 3-1. Another huge crowd turned out to watch the home favourites seal their place in Saturday’s semi-finals, where they will face reigning Olympic champions the Netherlands in a mouth-watering clash.
More information about the matches can be found below. For extensive information about the Argentina Hockey World League Final including videos, action images and statistics, please click here.
England beat China to set up Australia semi-final meeting
England have set up a semi-final meeting with Australia thanks to a 1-0 win over China in the third quarter-final of the day here at the Argentina Hockey World League Final event in San Miguel de Tucuman.
A second half penalty stroke from Georgie Twigg ended 46 minutes of intense resistance from the well organised and hard-working Asians, but it was a victory that England fully deserved.
Saturday’s meeting between England and Australia – winners against European champions Germany in the morning session – will be the third time that the two sides have met in the inaugural edition of the HWL following two clashes at the Investec Hockey World League Semi Final tournament in London earlier this year. The first match ended in a 1-1 draw, with the Hockeyroos being convincing 3-0 winners of the tournament final.
England applied almost constant pressure on the China defence throughout the first half, but did not manage to find a breakthrough against their opponents from Asia. Striker Alex Danson – who was playing in her 200th senior international match – saw a couple of efforts blocked, while two penalty corner chances came and went for the European Silver medallists. England youngster Lily Owsley also had a decent chance, but fired over the crossbar following excellent play from Nic White.
The English pressure continued in the early stages of the second half, with team captain Kate Richardson-Walsh encouraging her troops to press high in the hope of forcing an error from the structured China team. A trademark driving run from Danson earned England a 40th minute penalty corner, but Kate Richardson-Walsh’s goal-bound drag-flick was touched around the post by a Chinese stick.
The long-awaited opener arrived when Susie Gilbert – another player celebrating a caps milestone by competing in her 100th international match – earned a penalty stroke when her goal-bound shot hit the body of a China player on the goal-line. Georgie Twigg saw her weak effort saved by China keeper Wang Mengyu, but the umpire spotted an infringement from the shot-stopper and order the stroke to be re-taken. Twigg made no mistake with her second attempt, sending a low effort past Wang’s right foot to give England the advantage.
China’s best chance of the game came with less than three minutes of the match remaining. A rare defensive error gifted possession to China’s Yan Yan, who raced into the circle and slipped a pass to the waiting Liang Meiyu. A goal seemed inevitable, but Liang’s control let her down and the danger passed.
It was the last significant chance of the game, sealing England’s place in Saturday’s semi-finals.
Leonas victory sets up Dutch semi-final date
Carla Rebecchi scored twice to help Argentina fight-back from a goal down to defeat Korea 3-1 in the Argentina Hockey World League Final in San Miguel de Tucuman. Another huge crowd turned out to watch the home favourites seal their place in Saturday’s semi-finals, where they will face reigning Olympic champions the Netherlands in a mouth-watering clash.
The home favourites made a lively start to the game, with Delfina Merino going close before a dazzling solo effort from Leonas legend Luciana Aymar brushed the side netting.
Korea were certainly not without their chances and could easily have been the team to break the deadlock. Cheon Seul Ki fired high and wide from a penalty corner before Argentina keeper Belen Succi delighted the 6000 strong crowd with a terrific save from Kim Jong Eun’s angled strike.
Argentina went close to opening the scoring early in the second half when Carla Rebecchi scuffed an effort towards goal. However, it was the Koreans who eventually grabbed the opener thanks to a glorious close range deflection from ace striker Park Mi Hyun in the 46th minute.
The goal brought a deafening silence to the stadium, but that all changed in the 51st minute when a brilliant pass from Aymar picked out Rebecchi who made no mistake with a lofted finish.
The goal gave an added spark to the Leonas attacking play, with Aymar continuing to show exactly why she has been named FIH Player of the Year on seven different occasions with a number of breathtaking solo runs. A second goal for Argentina seemed inevitable, and it duly came when Noel Barrionuevo clinically dispatched a penalty stroke in the 58th minute.
Korea rallied hard in the final stages and almost pulled a goal back when Kim Jong Eun rattled the side of the goal, but Argentina put the game to bed when Rebecchi touched into an open goal in the dying seconds to seal a place in the semi-finals.
Before the game, three players were recognised for reaching significant markers in their playing careers. Korea’s Park Ki Ju was honoured on the occasion of her 100th senior international appearance, with Ana Macarena Rodrequez Perez and Mariella Scarone both making their 150th appearenced for Argentina.
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