Luciana Aymar, Argentine legendary player, who is retiring after the Champions Trophy, scored only goal for the hosts when she found the target on pass from Agustin Habif in 52nd minute. And scripted the right start for her team in the campaign opener in front of vocal home crowd.
Dutch star Maartje Paumen struck twice on penalty corners to defeat struggling China and got her team a perfect start of the tournament with 3 points from the first match. In the 41st minute Paumen broke the deadlock as fired a precise flick past the Chinese goalkeeper and doubled the lead with exactly same goal a minute later.
While in the second game of the opening day in Mendoza, New Zealand edged past Japan by 2-1 as Olivia Merry (46′) and Ella Gunson (51′) both scored in the final quarter and Japan reduced the margin through Akiko Kato (49′).
Australia came out of the blocks quickly and were ahead after just six minutes through Kenny’s drag flick, which found the back of the net via a slight deflection. However, England, runners-up to the Hockeyroos at the Commonwealth Games in August, equalised five minutes into the third quarter through Ellie Watton, who scored from the edge of the circle after finding herself in behind the Australian back line.
But just as in Glasgow, it was Kenny to the rescue as she struck again – this time five minutes from full time – with a perfectly placed low penalty corner.
Hockeyroos Head Coach Adam Commens said, “It was important to get the win. England are an improving team, they played an aggressive style and competed hard for every ball. They made it difficult for us so to get the result when we played to a level that’s less than we’re capable of is satisfying. I was disappointed with our play in the first quarter. I didn’t think we had contributors right across the group but in the final quarter, at 1-1, I thought we deserved to get the win.”
Looking ahead to match two, against the hosts and defending champions Argentina, Commens said, “Playing against Argentina in Argentina is a fantastic experience. It will be a sell-out crowd and a good experience for our young players who are finding out about what it’s like playing at this level. I know they’ve got the talent but we’ll need them to step up.”
England Head Coach, Danny Kerry, said, “The team and staff are pleased with the level of performance today. We felt we had the balance of play in the second half but you have to credit Australia for converting their corners. I thought the young players did well and I’m pleased at the progression we’ve made in the last three months.”
“I thought we played pretty well for the majority of the game, overall I was really pleased. To win a penalty corner and put it away was good, I’m just happy to get the three points. It’s disappointing that we let Japan equalise, we just need to ensure that we play well for the whole game. We will get punished if we have any defensive lapses.” said Black Sticks head coach Mark Hager after victory over Japan.