New Zealand now guaranteed a place in 2014 World Cup
Argentina – China 3-2 (0-0 halftime)
China had its 2014 Hockey World Cup fate in its own hands today in the third place game of the Investec Hockey World League Semi-Final tournament but ultimately could not overcome World #2 Argentina in the make-or-break match, falling 3-2 China must now rely on the Continental Championship in Asia to earn its spot in The Hague. Thanks to the result World #3 and fourth-place finisher from Rotterdam New Zealand is into the 2014 Hockey World Cup. Argentina was already qualified before today’s game.
Carla Rebecchi was the hero for Argentina scoring the bookend goals in the game. She gave Argentina some much-needed momentum with the opening goal six minutes into the second half and then scored the game winner on a last minute marker that flattened the Chinese team and dashed their hopes to be the second team to upset Las Leonas at the tournament.
The first half was a tepid affair with solid scoring chances coming few and far between. But the second half was an entirely different story as the teams matched each other stride for stride and goal for goal. No sooner had Rebecchi scored her first goal of the game than Hongxia Li erased the lead with a penalty flick of her own. It was Li’s sixth goal of the event.
Three minutes later Luciana Aymar struck with the key, go-ahead 2-1 goal, but it was again quicky erased by a determined Chinese side that saw Meiyu Liang equalize the game yet again this time with a mere five minutes left.
Everyone was ready for the shootout showdown when Rebecchi scored the heart breaking goal for the Chinese, sending the Argentina bench into a frenzied celebration.
New Zealand is the beneficiary from today’s match. They finished in fourth place at the other Hockey World League Semi-Final tournament and needed Argentina to finish in the top-three to become the lucky loser of the fourth-place teams. China is still in relatively good position to make it to the 2014 Hockey World Cup with their high finish here in London, but their place in The Hague is not secure yet.
Italy – United States 0-6 (0-1 halftime)
Powered by five, second-half goals, the United States earned a 6-0 win against Italy in the fifth-place game at the Investec Hockey World League Semi-Final tournament.
The U.S. held a slim 1-0 lead at the break as the game looked like it could tilt either way. But the Americans’ offense erupted in the second half, paced by Paige Selenski, who netted the natural hat trick, scoring an amazing three goals in a 10 minute span. The goals lifted the U.S. to a solid 5-0 lead and left no doubt about who would claim bragging rights in the placement game. The goals also bumped Selenski up to being the second-highest scorer at the event with five goals.
The Americans will look to build on the momentum from the strong finish at this event with their next test being the Pan American Games, where they will look to secure a berth to the 2014 Hockey World Cup. 17th-ranked Italy can hold their heads high despite today’s loss. They entered the event as the Cinderella team and finished well above expectations and opened many people’s eyes about the level of women’s hockey in the European nation.
South Africa – Spain 3-2 (3-1 halftime)
Lilian Du Plessis scored twice to lift South Africa to a 3-2 win against Spain in the seventh-place game at the Investec Hockey World League Semi-Final tournament in London.
Du Plessis’ pair of goals came in the first half and helped lift the South Africans to a 3-1 lead at the break. Spain came out firing in the second half and closed the gap to one and had several chances to put in the equalizer, but a series of near misses allowed the South Africans to hold on for the narrow 3-2 win.
The win was South Africa’s first of the event and ends the tournament on a high note as they will now turn their focus to earning a World Cup berth through the Africa Cup. Spain finishes the event in last place without a victory, despite some strong performances. Spain’s final record is two draws and three losses.Back