England are through to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Final against Australia at 20:15 local time, following a thrilling contest against world number four side New Zealand which went to a shoot out after full-time finished 1-1.
England goalkeeper Maddie Hinch became the hero, pulling off three saves in the shoot out to take her side through to the gold medal match. Hockeyroos, the Australian Women’s Hockey team, defeated South Africa comprehensively (7-1) to reach their third consecutive final of Commonwealth Games and their sixth consecutive major final since October 2012.
Earlier in the day, India defeated Scotland by 2-1 to take 5th place in the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, while Malaysia and Wales won the 7th and 9th place respectively.
Lily Owsley gave England a 27th minute lead but Katie Glynn equalised for the Black Sticks with just two minutes remaining to take the game into a shoot out. But Hinch kept her nerve, only conceding once from New Zealand’s four attempts. England dominated in attack as well taking the shoot out 3-1 thanks to goals from Georgie Twigg, Alex Danson and Susie Gilbert.
The Hockeyroos have been totally dominant in Glasgow and were 7-1 winners in their semi-final against South Africa, taking their goal tally to 32 from just five matches. But their ‘worst’ result was a 3-0 win over England in the group stages.
While much of the focus has been on Australia’s penalty corner prowess to date, all seven Australian goals came from open play with a devastating ten minute period in the second half bringing the girls in green and gold four goals.
Crookwell duo Emily Smith and Kellie White put the Aussies into a 2-0 half time lead with Smith striking first before White knocked home at the back post. And the pair combined for 3-0 as White finished from Smith’s pass early in the second half.
The move sparked a goal fest as Georgie Parker and Jane Claxton extended Australia’s advantage to 5-0 before Celia Evans pulled one back for South Africa, the first goal that the Australian women have conceded all tournament. Parker doubled her tally soon after before Georgia Nanscawen put Australia in seventh heaven three minutes from time.
Australia played the match with 15 players after Kate Jenner was ruled out with a shoulder injury sustained in training on Thursday.
England’s captain Kate Richardson-Walsh said on facing Australia in the Gold Medal match: “I thought we played well against Australia in the pool stages, we just need to capitalise on any errors they make. I think it will be a race between our midfielders and forwards against their back line players. We have to be brave and take them on. We need to go at them but all games against Australia are good games and I’m looking forward to it.“
Danny Kerry, England Head Coach said on facing Australia in the final: “When we played Australia we had more shots against them than they had against us but they converted their chances and we didn’t. We debriefed that game for a very long time and we’ve done most of our homework already.“
Australian national coach Adam Commens expressed his pleasure with the manner of the victory calling the result “really pleasing”. He said, “I was very satisfied with today’s performance. I thought we were a little bit scrappy in the first half and South Africa really played a high quality game. I thought in the second half, after we were able to regroup after half time, we were outstanding; the way we moved the ball and linked together, the team played with confidence and they showed what they’re capable of. That was the pleasing thing.”