- Hockeyroos, Black Sticks, Oranje and Korea reach women’s competition semi-finals
- Line-up for end-of-year women’s showpiece Hockey World League Final is revealed
- Antwerp’s ‘Final Four’ set to do battle for three guaranteed places at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands and Korea sealed their places in the final four on a baking hot, drama-filled women’s quarter-final day at the FINTRO Hockey World League Semi-Final 2015 in Antwerp.
They overcame the respective challenges of Italy by 2-0, Japan by 5-1, India by 7-0 and host nation Belgium by 3-0 in shoot-out after 2-2 draw in full-time. The four winners of quarter-final stage has reached semi-finals (to be played on Thursday, 2nd July) dand booked their tickets to the prestigious end of year Hockey World League Finals that will be played in Argentina. They will be joined in that event by Great Britain, China, Germany and Argentina, who all achieved qualification by securing top four finishes at the recent Hockey World League Semi-Final event in Valencia.
The game of the day at Antwerp’s KHC Dragons stadium was undoubtedly Korea versus Belgium, with the Red Panthers being just seconds away from a place in the competition semi-finals before the Asian Games Gold medallists broke Belgian hearts with a late equaliser followed by a dramatic shoot-out win.
Though, India lost the quarter-final game 0-7 against Netherlands, brilliant saves by Goalkeeper Savita were the positive one could take out of the Indian team’s game. she ensured that Netherlands did not score easily.
Netherlands going on the attack in the very first minute, Naomi van As was successful in scoring the first goal leaving the Indian eves stunned. Trailing the game 0-1 India were seen on the attack in the 4th minute and Vandana Katariya taking a shot at the goal was saved by the Netherlands goalie. In the 8th minute Netherlands got the first penalty corner of the game in their name and Willemijn Bos taking the flick hit the ball hard towards the nets and Lidewij Welten standing right near the goal post deflected the ball taking the score to 2-0. 12th minute and Netherlands had another chance at the penalty corner but was saved by Namita Toppo as she ran out to clear the danger.
Right into the second quarter, Netherlands had another penalty corner in their name and was slapped by Caia van Maasakker towards the goal and going on to register the third goal for her team. Not wasting time, Netherlands was yet again in the D of India and a good pass to Ginella Zerbo was hit by her into the goal box in the 18th minute and with this goal the score read 4-0. Continuing their attack Netherlands through another penalty corner opportunity scored their fifth goal in the 26th minute, coming from the stick of Caia van Maasakker. Same minute, Netherlands had one more penalty corner in their name but this time Savita goalie made a brilliant save and clearing the danger. With this the half time scores stood at 5-0 in favor of Netherlands.
With sides changed, India increasing their tempo of attack looking for the opportunity to score but were unsuccessful in finding the nets. Four minutes into the third quarter, Netherlands taking a shot at another penalty corner was yet again brilliantly saved by Savita. Six minutes into the third session, India got the first penalty corner in their name and a chance to open their scorecard but they missed on the opportunity. Next minute Netherlands with another penalty corner chance, was saved yet again by Savita. India counter attacked immediately and were seen taking a shot at another penalty corner but was hit directly at the opponents goalkeeper who averted the danger for her team. With no goals scored in the session the third quarter scores were 5-0 with Netherlands leading.
In the 48th minute Lidewij Welten entered the D from the left flank and was tackled by the Indian goalie but she still managed deflect the ball into the nets, taking the sore to 6-0. Five minutes later, Netherlands with a penalty corner in their name was converted successfully by Xan de Waard as she did no mistake in finding the nets for her team. The two goals by Netherlands helped the team to register a 7-0 win over India.
The women’s semi-finals will take place on Thursday 2nd July, with Australia facing a mouth-watering clash against the Netherlands while Korea will go head-to-head with New Zealand. The four teams will be fighting it out for three guaranteed tickets to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. (Full Schedule here)