Russia take 15th place with a shoot-out win over Ghana
Team USA celebrated a deserved 4-2 victory over South Africa to reach the seventh place at the ERGO Hockey Junior World Cup in Mönchengladbach. In the match for 15th place, Russia claimed victory after taking Ghana into their second shoot-out in as many days.
Placement 7-8: South Africa v USA 2-4 (1-2)
South Africa were put under immediate pressure as Team USA went for an early goal and they got it. Marie Elena Bolles opened the scoring on 15 minutes when deflecting a shot coming from outside the circle. But South Africa stepped up the pace of play forcing their first penalty corner on 28 minutes and converted. After the first shot was saved, Liné Malan managed to follow up and hit the ball towards goal, where Nicole Walraven was waiting to deflect it into the net. However, USA went ahead 2-1 on a penalty corner goal from captain Laura Gebhart. The halftime score was 2-1 in favour of the US girls.
The teams set up a competitive second half that saw scoring opportunities either side. Despite there being no goals, the second half was full of good hockey and both goalkeepers (Lauren Blazing on the US side and second half substitute Nicole La Fleur for South Africa) impressed with their handling. On 60 minutes Nikki Parsley got her name on the scoresheet on the US’s third goal, firing in a penalty corner. The US girls added another goal soon after, when Emma Bozek scored from a penalty corner on 68 minutes. However, South Africa did not give up and Tarryn Glasby pulled another one back to a 4-2 score.
Voices after the match:
Steve Jennings, coach USA: “I think it was a very hard game. We knew South Africa was going to be tough the whole time and we just tried to stick the game as much as possible. In the second half we scored some great goals, which finally separated the teams. This allowed us to finish the game like we wanted to. I think we did a great job here in Mönchengladbach. We tied with the best ever finish of the U.S. in Junior World Cup history. I think three wins and three losses against some of the best teams are okay. It was a great tournament and the organisation was incredible. The girls loved to play in this stadium, they loved the atmosphere.”
Lindsey Wright, coach South Africa: “It was a very competitive game. We knew this before because the USA are a good hockey team. What you learn from losing is that you do better next time. It has been a great tournament, congratulations to Deutscher Hockey-Bund and thanks for hosting us! Every moment for my girls is a great moment. I hope that they learned a lot at this tournament and that they are able to take it home.”
Placement 15-16: Russia v Ghana 1-1 (0-1) 3-1 PSO
After a early goal for Ghana through Elizabeth Opoku, the two teams were equal opponents for the remainder of the first half and into the second. There was much jousting in midfield but few circle penetrations, and neither team could put its stamp on the match.
Midway through the second half, Natalia Kondratyeva put away the equalizer from a crowded circle, and both teams tried to gain the deciding advantage afterwards but no more goals couldbe scored during the 70 minutes, and the match went into a shoot-out - Ghana's second in the event after yesterday's against Belgium. Russia did not miss on the first three rounds, while Ghana could only convert one, and after both teams' takers missed on the fourth round of attempts, the Russian team was declared the winner.
With this victory, Russia take 15th place in the tournament, while Ghana cannot avoid the red lantern despite a marked improvement in their performances throughout the course of the event - the Ghanaian team best demonstrated the kind of learning opportunity participation in an international event can be for teams that don't regularly have the chance to play opponents from different parts of the world.
Voices after the match:
Vladimir Kobzev, Coach Russia: "We can't be satisfied with the 15th place, but currently, we are satisfied with the performance. Unfortunately, it wasn't possible to reach everything we wanted to, but the objective is to take part in the next World Cup."
Edmund Odametey, Coach Ghana: "It's a mix of feelings. Sometimes we played very well and I was happy about our performance, somtimes I wasn't satisfied with the performance of my team. We wanted to win the game against Russie, but there was a lot of unlucky situations for us. And then we lost the game in this way, in the shoot-out, it's tragic. This tournament was a big lesson for us, and we go back to Ghana, find out our mistakes and next time, we come back fto the World Cup and do better."Back