Visit the FIH tournament website of the women's Rabo Hockey Champions Trophy
China and Germany will meet in the decider of the women’s Rabo Hockey Champions Trophy after the home team stumbled at the end to the round robin phase of competition in Amsterdam today.
Needing to win to contest their third straight Champions Trophy final, the Netherlands were unable to overcome an Argentinean team that had lifted for the occasion.
After falling into a two-goal inside 12 minutes, the Netherlands responded and looked the likely winner until the final period of the match when Argentina surged to create Soledad Garcia’s stunning winner.
Garcia was brilliant for Argentina and it was fitting that the striker secured the match for her team with a breathtaking reverse stick shot with little more than one minute remaining.
Almost unbelievably, the loss sent the Dutch tumbling to fourth position on the points table but they will get a chance to make immediate amends when they meet Argentina in the bronze medal match tomorrow.
Argentina finished equal on points with Germany but missed out of the final on goal difference. It is the fourth year in a row that the South Americans have finished third after the preliminary rounds and the second Champions Trophy tournament in succession that they have missed the decider on goal difference.
The home team’s only loss in the round robin phase proved fatal to their title aspirations as China and Germany, despite losing to Australia, qualified for tomorrow’s decider.
The Dutch needed only to win one of two final matches to the earn the chance to defend their dual titles from 2004 and 2005, but couldn’t over come either China on Thursday (1-1draw) or Las Leonas today to crash out of contention.
Earlier, Germany looked to have blown their Champions Trophy campaign with a lacklustre loss to Australia. Australia led midway through the first half and as the match looked headed for full time, it suddenly burst into life with a pair of goals within a minute of each other.
The important first goal however went to Australia and facing a two-goal deficit, Germany were never going to win despite Nadine Ernsrting-Krienke’s diving deflection in reply.
The result was to prove irrelevant however given the outcome of the following encounter, with Germany earning their second spot in the final in the past three years.
China was the day’s only team whose plan followed the script after they scored twice in each half to overcome New Zealand.
The Chinese will now enter the tournament’s final match as favourites, an unthinkable prospect before competition began considering their recent form which included almost crashing out of the World Cup Qualifier in Rome in early May.
The 2002 Champions Trophy winners have regrouped impressively however with a squad that has a distinct mix of highly experienced players and newcomers to the international arena.
Tomorrow’s playoff to avoid last spot will be a battle of Oceania between Australia and Netherlands. The matches will be played at 10:00 (5th place), 12:30 (bronze medal) and 15:00 (gold medal)
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