Wednesday, 26 June 2013

England 1 v 1 Spain

Tuesday 25th June 2013
Women’s Hockey World League Semi-Finals Pool B
Quintin Hogg Memorial Sports Ground, Chiswick
Admission: £15.00
Programme: £3.00
Attendance: ??
Match Rating: 3

For the home crowd’s point of view, the best game of the day was saved until last, with England taking on Spain. England would certainly be the favourites for this game, ranked fourth in the World Rankings against opposition ranked 15th, and although England have suffered several retirements from their squad, they still retained a fair number of the squad who picked up bronze medals for Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympics. In their matches so far in Pool B, England beat South Africa 4-1 on Saturday and then drew 1-1 against Australia, whilst Spain lost 0-5 to Australia before drawing 2-2 with South Africa.

Unsurprisingly, a crowd that was rather sparse earlier in the day had filled up considerably now with school children and people coming in after work. The opening stages of the first half were even, as England struggled to impose themselves, however as half time approached, England had more and more possession, forcing several penalty corners and creating some presentable chances although their attacking play seemed to lack conviction and indeed the scoreline remained goalless at the interval.

Nine minutes into the second half and England did finally take the lead. A penalty corner was played to England and Great Britain skipper Kate Walsh, and her powerful shot took a deflection off a defender’s stick and Sophie Bray deflected the ball at head height into the net. England’s lead was to last just five minutes though. A low goal bound shot goal was stopped by the foot of Alex Danson and the resultant penalty stroke was hit home beyond the keeper’s dive by Reira Zuzarregui, despite the keeper getting a stick on the ball. Neither team really threatened to win the game in the remaining minutes, and so England failing to win meant that Australia won Pool B with 7 points and will face the USA in the quarter finals. Second placed England, with five points, will face Italy. Spain claimed third place with their two points and will face China, whilst South Africa have the toughest assignment of all, facing Argentina, with all four matches to be played on Thursday.

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