Australia’s Hockeyroos produced yet another sensational performance at the Argentina Hockey World League Final, powering to a glorious 3-0 semi-final win over England in front of a capacity crowd here in San Miguel de Tucuman.
The result puts Australia into Sunday’s Gold medal match, where they will face the winner of this evening’s mouth-watering meeting between the Netherlands and host nation Argentina.
The win was Australia’s second victory over England in the inaugural edition of the Hockey World League, having beaten the Europeans by the same score-line at the Investec Hockey World League Semi Final event in London.
England were forced onto the back foot for long periods of the first half, and would certainly have fallen behind were it not for some masterful goalkeeping from Maddie Hinch. The England shot-stopper denied the Hockeyroos on numerous occasions, blocking penalty corners as well as making a trio of brilliant reaction saves to deny Aussie striker Ashley Nelson.
The Australian pressure intensified in the latter stages of the half before an inevitable opener arrived from the stick of Jodie Schulz, who slammed a penalty corner just inside the right post in the 32nd minute. England felt that there had been an infringement and decided to get a second opinion from the video umpire, but the appeal proved to be unsuccessful and Australia’s lead remained intact.
England earned two penalty corners in the final stages of the half but failed to make the most of their opportunities, a wastefulness which was ruthlessly punished by their opponents in the early stages of the second period. Georgie Parker bundled home a second goal following an intense goal-mouth scramble, with Karrie McMahon taking the score to 3-0 with a ripper of a penalty corner that gave Hinch no chance.
England tried valiantly to get a foothold in the match, with the ever dangerous Alex Danson going close with an inspired backhand volley after a typically mazy run. However, Hinch remained the busier of the two keepers, making more impressive blocks to deny the dominant Australians before the hooter sounded to mark the end of the game.
Australia were worthy winners of the contest and will take some stopping in their quest to become the first ever Hockey World League champions.
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