London Olympics Gold Medalists Germany overcame valiant Korean side to win 2nd semi final of Hockey World League being played at Johor Bahru (Malaysia) to set up final against Argentina, who defeated England in 1st semi final.
Highlights of Argentina vs England (Semi Final)
In 2nd semi final, Korea went down to Germany with a fierce flick of Christopher Zeller in 14th minute, but put up a strong fight to equalize in 60th minute through Nam Yong Lee. Germany restored their lead on another PC. Korean goalie Myung Ho Lee saved initial attempt of Zeller; but rebound was sent by Linus Butt. Germany completed their tally with Florian Fuchs and Martin Zwicker combining in Korean D with Zwicker putting it on target in the last move of the game.
Report Semi Final (Argentina vs England):
After a fantastic 5-0 victory against Japan on Thursday England struggled to find the same form today as they were beaten 3-1 by a clinical Argentina side in their semi final in Malaysia. The South American side came out firing and caught England on the back foot, scoring three goals inside 11 minutes. England did pull a goal back in the second half through Nick Catlin, but the damage had already been done.
England will now face either Korea in the third place play-off tomorrow at 12:15 (UK time).
Speaking after the game England Head Coach Bobby Crutchley said, “This was a lesson learnt today for us. If you drop your intensity and standard at this level you will get severely punished and that’s exactly what happened today against a strong Argentina side. I thought after the goals had gone in that we actually played well, but we needed to start better. Ashley Jackson is flying home for an operation on his ankle and Mark Gleghorne will not play tomorrow following his foot injury today, so it will be tough with just 16 players in this climate, but we’ll regroup tonight and hope to learn lessons from today’s game.”
England found themselves 3-0 down inside 15 minutes of the first half. Although England seemed to lack some of the flare they had played with all week, Argentina were in fantastic form. Two goals from open play by Callioni and Garreta in the third and seventh minute certainly gave England an uphill battle which would be hard to come back from. However, another goal just four minutes later, from penalty corner expert Gonzalo Peillat made the task even greater.
As well as the three goal deficit England also lost one of their key forward players, Mark Gelghorne, with what appeared to be a foot injury after 20 minutes.
England were struggling with the ball in defence, Argentina pressing very high throughout the first 35 minutes giving England no time at all to set up their play like they had been doing all week. When England did settle they managed to keep possession and push forward but Juan Vivaldi was excellent in Argentina’s goal and ensured that his side went in at half time with a clean sheet.
In the second half England seemed to find some of their earlier tournament form and were unlucky not to score in the opening period. Holcombe’s Barry Middleton took the ball from Ashley Jackson at the top of the circle across goal and somehow managed to get a shot away which flew towards the far left post, but crashed back off the upright. The loose ball found its way onto a defenders foot giving England a penalty corner, but unfortunately they couldn’t convert.
Minutes later Beeston’s Harry Martin won another penalty corner for his side. The initial strike was saved by the post man and the ball came back to Martin, whose shot was smothered by Vivaldi, but the rebound fell to Reading’s Nick Catlin who made no mistake knocking the ball home to make it 3-1.
Despite the goal and England’s best efforts Argentina continued to look the stronger side, creating several chances on goal in the closing stages. Beeston’s George Pinner has been in strong form all tournament, and again he saved well from both penalty corners and open play to keep his side within two goals of their opponents.
With four minutes to go England brought on a kicking back, but it proved to be fruitless and the score finished 3-1 to Argentina who go on to contest the final tomorrow.