Hosts Argentina scored 7 past Japan to set-up semi-final against Netherlands, while trans-Tasmanian neighbors New Zealand and Australia face each others in the other semi-final of FIH Women’s Hockey Champions Trophy 2014 being played in Mendoza (Argentina).
Semi Finals will be played on 6th December after a rest day, New Zealand vs Australia at 16:30 Hrs and Argentina face Netherlands at 19:00 Hrs local time of Mendonza (Full Schedule and results here).
In front of home crowd, host team Las Leonas scored 7 times penetrating Chinese wall to reach to next round of the tournament, where they face Netherlands. The Dutch side managed to scrap through against European rivals Germany thanks to the goal by van der Pols in 46th minute. Noel Barrionuevo (10th minute), Pilar Romang (12th), Carla Rebecchi (16th) and Luciana Aymar (22th) made 4-0 for the Leonas, before china could reply in 24th minute through Wang Mengyu. The Argentine continued to score to as Carla Rebecchi was on target yet again before lemon break, and she completed her hat-trick in 50th minute, while Barrionuevo made it super seven for the hosts in 55th minute. Peng Yang scored second goal of China in 56th minute but it was too little for making it to final four.
In an eventful opening quarter England had the first chance with a deflection from Lily Owsley forcing a save from Sally Rutherford in the Blacksticks’ goal. Despite their fast start, England were put onto the back foot and Maddie Hinch was called upon to keep New Zealand at bay, saving an Anita Punt penalty corner and then blocking well from Petrea Webster. There was nothing the goalkeeper could do to keep out the opener as Rose Keddell deflected another Punt penalty corner into the net to make it 1-0. England levelled straight away as Laura Unsworth slapped home her third goal for England from their first penalty corner of the match.
New Zealand forced a penalty corner at the start of the second quarter but Hinch, on her 50th appearance for England, did well again to see off a deflection from Sophie Cocks. England pressed for a second goal but against the run of play New Zealand took the lead. Punt’s low drag flick beat Hinch via a deflection off Shona McCallin’s stick. England wobbled and but for more heroics from Hinch to keep out Olivia Merry they could have trailed by more than the 2-1 deficit at the break.
In the third quarter, as in the previous quarters, New Zealand forced a penalty corner but Punt’s drag flick was charged down by England’s defence. Chances were increasingly hard to come by as both sides battled for control of a crowded midfield and the 15 minutes passed without any more openings.
Hinch had to be alert in the opening seconds of the final quarter to smother from Merry after good work from Punt. However with four minutes on the clock, the Blacksticks gave themselves a cushion with a third goal. Hinch made a stunning save to turn Michelsen’s deflection onto the bar but the Black Sticks, Stacey Michelsen, reacted quickest to slam home the rebound. Ellie Watton came agonizingly close to scoring her third of the competition in the last 30 seconds as she latched onto an aerial and beat Rutherford, only to see the ball roll just wide, but England were unable to find the goals they needed and New Zealand celebrated as they booked their Semi Final place.
In Australia vs Japan, Georgia Nanscawen’s close range diving block rebounded into the goal to give the Hockeyroos a second minute lead before a penalty corner double from Jodie Kenny put Australia in the driving seat just nine minutes in. Two goalless quarters followed before Japan netted a late consolation through Shiho Otsuka, but there was still time for Australia to add their fourth from Anna Flanagan’s unstoppable drag flick high into the goal six minutes from time.