Australia’s Hockeyroos produced a rampant display in their Pool B opener at the FINTRO Hockey World League Semi-Finals, while Netherlands and Japan were winners in Pool A at the crucial HWL Final and Rio 2016 Olympic Games qualification event in Antwerp.
Australia 9-0 Poland
Jodie Kenny produced a goal-scoring masterclass to ensure that Australia’s Hockeyroos started their campaign in the best way possible, netting four goals in her team’s 9-0 triumph over Poland on the first match of Day 2.
The result put the World Cup Silver medallists level on three points with New Zealand and Belgium at the top of Pool B.
The Hockeyroos were in sparkling form against their European opponents, with Kenny scoring three penalty blistering corners and a penalty stroke, with strikes also coming from Georgie Parker, Emily Smith, Kathryn Slattery, Georgia Nanscawen and team captain Madonna Blyth.
“It was a really convincing win for the team and it was nice to slot some goals as well”, said four-goal heroine Jodie Kenny after the match. “I went for ‘round the world’ with my flicks but I missed, but I’m really happy to get the majority on target and working well.”
The Australian women were wearing black armbands during the match as a mark of respect for Jackson Tudhope, a talented young hockey player from South Australia who tragically lost his life in a car accident last week.
Korea 1-2 Netherlands
Maria Vershoor bagged the winner as the Netherlands made it two wins from two Pool A matches in Antwerp.
The Netherlands were certainly the better team in the opening stages and it came as no surprise when Eva de Goede slapped into an open goal before Park Seunga levelled the scores at 1-1 with a penalty corner.
The two sides were evenly matched in the second and third quarters, but Netherlands’ Gisela Zerbo capitalised on a defensive mistake and set up Vershoor’s winning goal.
Netherlands Head Coach Sjoerd Marijne said: “We played well in the first and fourth quarters but not so great in the second and third where we made too many individual mistakes, but of course I am pleased that we came good in the end.”
On the occasion of her 200th international match, Korea’s Kim Jongeun said: “It is a really good feeling to have played so many games. I’m sad about the result, but life as a hockey player is perfect.”
France 1-6 Japan
Japan made a winning start to their campaign by defeating France 6-1 in the final match of Day 2 in Antwerp. Shihori Oikawa netted a hat-trick for the team from Asia, with Akane Shibata, Yuri Nagai and Hazuki Nagai also registering.
The result meant that France remain bottom of the pool with zero points, although it was certainly not all doom and gloom for the side that came into the competition as late replacements for Azerbaijan.
The world number 24 rallied hard against the 10th ranked Japanese team, and eventually got their reward when Elyse Lecas found the target from close range with two minutes of the match remaining.
It was a sweet moment for the girls who only a few days ago had no idea that they would be competing on this incredible stage, with the crowd also enjoying the goal.
More information about the competition including video clips, imagery and official tournament information can be found on the event website.