QUARTER-FINAL: HOCKEYROOS 4-1 (HT: 4-1) USA
For Hockeyroos: Emily Smith 7 (F), Kellie White 12 (F), Karri McMahon 22 (PC), Jodie Schulz 25 (PC)
For USA: Rachael Dawson 19 (PC)
Highlights of the Match between Hockeyroos (Australia) & USA.
A clinical performance of Australia’s Women’s Hockey team, Hockeyroos, helped then to reach semi finals Investec World League in London with a 4-1 win over USA. The Hockeyroos will now face China in the semi-final, who defeated Spain 3-0 with 3 second half goals.
The result guarantees the Hockeyroos a berth at the World League Finals tournament in Argentina later in the year and keeps them in contention for a valuable World Cup qualification spot should they win their semi-final in the early hours of Sunday morning.
First half goals from Emily Smith, Kellie White, Karri McMahon and Jodie Schulz did the damage for the Australian women with White’s spectacular tomahawk strike a serious contender for goal of the tournament.
Head Coach Adam Commens was delighted with his side’s professional approach to the game, saying afterwards, “It was a quality performance in the front third, particularly in the first half, and the result was beyond doubt by half time. We were able to play more relaxed, comfortable hockey in the second half so we didn’t throw everything at them, although I was slightly disappointed with our final 15 minutes and that will need to be better in the semi-final.
“We scored some really high quality goals today. It was a great finish from Kellie White and from Jodie Schulz, too. And with Karri McMahon scoring we can say we have four genuine threats from the top of the D [at penalty corners] in Karri, Emily Hurtz, Jodie and Anna [Flanagan]. It’s been a long time since Australia could say that.”
Commens acknowledged the importance of qualifying for the final round of the World League competition in December, adding, “You can only improve by playing more often in high quality matches such as the World League finals and the Champions Trophy.”
“I was pleased with the way we played today,” said Craig Parnham, the head coach of U.S. Women’s Field Hockey Team. “Australia is a very good team and they are at a different point in their journey than us. I thought we had a good first half although the scoreline wouldn’t reflect it. We had a number of short corners and good opportunities.”
“It was a feisty, hard fight,” said U.S. midfielder Rachel Dawson. “Australia was precise and executed in the first half and put a few more goals in than we did. We put on some pressure but didn’t quite get the ball in the back of the net. We now have to refocus, and plan for our next opponent and come out fighting hard and strong.”
Things began well for the Hockeyroos when Smith swivelled at the top of the circle and fired a shot low into the bottom corner of the goal to give Australia a seventh minute lead but the USA, who failed to win a match in the pool phase, struck back just three minutes later. American Rachael Dawson sent her drilled penalty corner shot into the bottom right of the goal to restore parity.
Back roared the Hockeyroos with White’s wonder-strike to retake a lead they never lost. Firing a powerful tomahawk effort across the goal from the edge of the circle, White’s second goal of the tournament gave American goalkeeper Jackie Kintzer no chance on its way to nestling in the far side of the net.
The Hockeyroos survived a scare at the USA’s second penalty corner before Karri McMahon’s corner strike made it 3-1 just over midway through the half. It took a while for the goal to be awarded after the umpire consulted her video colleague to ensure the ball had travelled outside the circle but Teneal Attard’s excellent readjustment and McMahon’s flat strike were judged to have fairly extended the lead. It was McMahon’s second goal for Australia.
Ten minutes before the break Jodie Schulz struck for the second time in the tournament with her own unstoppable flick from a penalty corner; this one flying high into the goal for 4-1.
A controlled and professional second half by the Hockeyroos stifled any attempts by the USA to find a way back into the match although half chances fell to both sides, including a series of unconverted penalty corners.
The Hockeyroos will be guaranteed a spot at the 2014 World Cup if they win their semi-final against the winner of the China v Spain quarter-final. However, defeat would not close that avenue completely with the third placed team in London also qualifying.
Earlier in the day Argentina beat South Africa 3-1 to become the first side through to the semi-finals. They will play the winner of the quarter-final between England and Italy. (Detailed Schedule and Results of the tournament are here)