Spain fight past South Africa to qualify for 5th place play-off
Netherlands won the second semi-final 3-0 against India to join Argentina in the ERGO Hockey Junior World Cup final. India will face England in Sunday’s Bronze medal match. In another tightly contested 5-8th place classification match, Spain managed to move away late in the second half to win 3-1 and book their ticket to a clash with Australia for 5th place on Sunday.
Netherlands v India 3-0 (1-0)
Much of the play took place in midfield in the first half as both sides struggled to create promising scoring opportunities from open play. However, the first penalty corner resulted in a goal for The Netherlands. Tournament top scorer Lieke van Wijk’s drag flick found the net beating India’s goalkeeper Chanu Sanarik Ningombam to put her side ahead.
A few minutes later, the Dutch girls forced another penalty corner which went wide. India had a promising scoring opportunity before halftime when they earned their first penalty corner but could not get the shot away.
India stepped the pace up after the break and forced their second penalty corner on 41 minutes but to no avail. The crowd witnessed a very competitive second half without many chances in it. When The Netherlands won their third penalty corner, Indian goalie Ningombam made two tremendous saves against van Wijk to keep her team in the game. However, it was Lisanne de Lange doubling the Dutch lead in the 57th minute.
With six minutes remaining on the clock, Rani had a big opportunity to pull one back but the Dutch goalie Anne Veenendaal parried well. India fought hard to score but the ball did not go in. As time began to run down Lisa Scheerlinck converted a counter-attack securing her team’s 3-0 win.
Voices after the match:
Neil Hawgood, coach India: “We played very, very well today but we got a bit tired in the last ten minutes. We cannot complain, we also had a pretty good defence. Unfortunately we let in a soft goal, this was the 2-0. This match was a good lesson for my players. I think when the girls wake up tomorrow, they will be driven to win the Bronze medal. Playing for Bronze is the best they have done in their life so far.”
Sushila Charu Pukhrambam, Indian captain: “We are disappointed with today’s result. It was very hard to play at these weather conditions. England is a good team but we will try to beat them to win the Bronze medal.”
Rani, Indian player: “We are happy but not satisfied. I hope we will do better tomorrow as there is still the Bronze medal left to play for.”
Lisa Scheerlinck, Dutch player: “In the first half it was a very tied match. India made it difficult for us because they put a lot of pressure on our play. We were very aggressive in the second half and we really wanted to score the second goal. This is what we did. We now face Argentina who are a very technical team. They play very fast and their attacks are extremely good. However, our defence is very strong. I trust in our team.”
South Africa v Spain 1-3 (0-0)
In the first half, the match between South Africa and Spain was a mostly a face-off between equal opponents. Play went back and forth but neither team was able to gain a significant advantage, and no goals were scored. The persisting heat kept making it difficult for the teams, as it has since yesterday.
Midway through the second half however, things started heating up. Quanita Bobbs got South Africa on the scoreboard with a goal from open play, and just as it started looking like that was going to be it, Spain kicked into gear, scoring three goals in four minutes to pull ahead for good.
A double from Marta Bosque who scored two goals in as many minutes set Spain on track, and Cristina Guinea followed up with a penalty corner conversion, establishing the 3-1 final score. South Africa pushed hard in the dying minutes of the match but could not salvage the encounter.
With this victory, Spain move into Sunday's match for 5th place against Australia, while South Africa will clash with USA for 7th place.
Voices after the match:
Berta Bonastre, Team captain Spain: "We did well in the first half because they didn't score. We are not that good physically, but in the second half, we waited for them and we went for counter-attacks, and we scored three goals. Then we held the result until the end. We are satisfied with playing for fifth place because we did't have much preparation. We trained for five days without friendly matches. We didn't expect to make it into the Top , and now we can make it to fifth place and we definitely deserve it. We can learn from every team in this tournament, and for us it was a tournament in which we tried a new attitude with intensity and teamwork and being in the match all the time."
Quanita Bobbs, Player South Africa: "We are extremely disapponted about this. I think we just didn't play as a team today, we played too individually, we should have passed more and run harder. For the next game, we're South Africans, we can come back from defeats. So I think on Sunday, we will come out strong and hopefully end the tournament on a good note."Back