Argentina climbed to the top of the tournament standings with a 4-0 win over the USA Field Hockey women while Australia edged its way back into contention with a 3-0 victory over The Netherlands on day four of the AstroTuf March on Madrid Tournament here in Virginia Beach USA.
The second round of the double round-robin tournament concludes with matches on Saturday featuring Australia vs. Argentina and the USA vs. The Netherlands. The championship and consolation games are scheduled for 27 August in Virginia Beach.
Argentina 4, USA 0
Luciana Aymar scored three goals and Argentina avenged a first round loss to the United States with a decisive 4-0 victory.
After suffering its first loss in 15 years to the United States on Sunday, Argentina erupted for three goals in the first 10 minutes of play to re-establish itself as the dominant team in the Pan American region.
"These are tough lessons to learn," said U.S. coach Lee Bodimeade after his team allowed an early goal for the second consecutive night. "These are all good teams and when you play like we did in the first half, you're going to get beat up. We had some good things in the second half. The thing we have to remember that this is about World Cup preparation."
The two-time FIH Player of the Year, Aymar scored the first two goals of the game in the first six minutes as Argentina jumped to a quick 2-0 lead. Mariana Gonzalez Oliva continued the onslaught with a goal in the 10th minute for a 3-0 Argentina lead at halftime.
After a dormant first 35 minutes, the USA attack awoke in the second half but could not get on the scoreboard after Tiffany Snow's penalty stroke attempt was easily saved by Argentina keeper Mazriela Antoniska and the team could not convert on a pair of penalty corner attempts.
"The difference tonight was the first 20 minutes of the game," said Argentina coach Gabriel Minadeo. "We had success in the short corners which gave us a cushion. In the second half however, the U.S. attack increased their play and we couldn't handle their pressure."
Australia 3, Netherlands 0
Australia scored three goals for the second straight night in an impressive 3-0 win over No. 1 ranked The Netherlands.
After going winless in the first round of the tournament, the Australians (2-2-1, 7 pts) put together back-to-back wins to climb back into the thick of the tournament race. Meanwhile the Dutch (2-2-1, 7 pts.) have lost two straight games and have not scored a goal in the second round of the tournament.
"I was happy we were able to score opportunistic goals today," said Australian coach Frank Murray. "We need to take advantage of situations like that. I'm pleased with the development of our younger players and to get a good result against a top side."
As the team had done the previous night, Australia struck in the early moments of the match when Claire Messent knocked in a goal past keeper Eveline De Hann in the 5th minute to give Australia an early 1-0 lead.
Australia continued to pressure the Dutch throughout the first half and added another goal in the 29th minute on Madonna Blythe's blast from the far left side of the circle for a 2-0 halftime lead.
The Aussie domination continued in the second half when Suzie Faulkner tipped in a pass from Messent in the 58th minute to secure the win.
"We made it too easy for the Australians today," said Netherlands coach Marc Lammers. "It was too easy for them to break through. You can't let that happen with these top countries."
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