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England’s women endured a baptism of fire…

on their debut in the FIH Pro League losing both games of a doubleheader in Buenos Aires by a 5-2 scoreline at the start of shortened Olympic cycle.

FIH Pro League (Women)

Argentina 5 England 2 (Sat)

Argentina 5 England 2 (Sun)

In the previous editions, Great Britain had competed in the Pro League, but as the highest ranked home country, England took their place for the first time against an Argentinian squad which already had two wins under their belts, having beaten Belgium twice in the same stadium, winning 3-1 on both occasions a week earlier.

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FIH Proleague 2022 (W) 13/02/2022 Buenos Aires, Argentina Match 11 – Argentina v England (RR) Photo: Alexandra Malzer and Giselle Ansley Copyright WorldSportsPics/Rodrigo Jaramillo

There were debuts and milestones in the first match with Darcy Bourne, Olivia Hamilton, Sophie Hamilton, Holly Hunt, Alex Malzer and Flora Peel all making their first appearance in England colours, whilst at the other end of the scale of experience, Hollie Pearne-Webb made her 200th combined international appearance including 104 England caps with Anna Toman making her 100th combined and winning her 47th England cap.

England didn’t get off to the best start when Anna Toman was shown a green card in the second minute for a foul on Maria Granatto and things got worse three minutes later when Sabbie Heesh was beaten by Agustina Gorzelany’s drag-flick via Toman’s stick as Argentina took an early lead from a penalty corner.

Julieta Jankunas doubled Argentina’s advantage in what proved to be an unlucky 13th minute for England, a shot from the edge of circle as Heesh was unfortunate with the Argentinian’s shot taking a feather like deflection off Pearne-Webb’s stick.

It was almost game over in the 22nd minute when Eugena Trinchinetti looked to the heavens after an her outstretched stick hit the right post while trying to deflect Valentina Costa’s drag-flick into goal from another penalty corner routine. Shortly afterwards, England forced their first penalty corner of the match, but after two Pearne-Webb drag-flick attempts and Bourne denied a shot on goal as the whistle blew for a third successive award, Pearne-Webb finally broke through, Belen Succi annoyed with herself after the ball ended up into the roof of the net to bring England back to 2-1

In the third quarter the score changed from 2-1 to 4-2 in a three minute period as the floodlights took effect. Delfina Thome scored Argentina’s third goal, allowing the ball to bounce before smashing the ball against the backboard giving Heesh no chance in the 37th minute. A minute later, Ellie Rayer made the score 3-2 with an angled shot from the left of the circle before Gorzelany scored her second goal of the game from a penalty corner, the ball trickling agonizingly along the line with Giselle Ansley unable to prevent the goal.

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FIH Proleague 2022 (W) 13/02/2022 Buenos Aires, Argentina Match 11 – Argentina v England (RR) Photo: Sophie Hamilton Copyright WorldSportsPics/Rodrigo Jaramillo

The goal of the match came with just five minutes to play, Granatto taking a free hit, dribbling the ball into the circle from the left beating Jo Hunter, Toman, Pearne-Webb and Laura Unsworth before setting up an easy tap in for Jankunas to put Argentina 5-2 up.

On Sunday, Martha Taylor won her first England cap. Argentina wore their pink strip and were definitely in the pink when they took the lead in the fifth minute for the second day running, Agustina Albertarrio taking advantage of Pearne-Webb’s wayward pass to set up a run for Maria Granatto to fire the ball into the top right corner.

Argentina’s penalty corner routine was the source of their second goal in the 26th minute as Costa deliberately hesitated before feeding the ball for Martina Triñanes to deflect the ball into the roof of the net above Amy Tennant.

Two minutes later, England were undone again by a penalty corner as following a Tennant save, Trinchinetti chipped the ball into the net with ease to leave England with a mountain to climb and a 3-0 deficit.

In the 35th minute, Victoria Granatto finished off a well worked attack starting just outside their own 23 and along the right wing before the ball fell perfectly for Granatto to smash the ball against the backboard and raise both arms in celebration.

Trailing 4-0, England finally troubled the scorers in the 48th minute, Hannah Martin passing the ball from the left for Rayer to score her second goal of the weekend.

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FIH Proleague 2022 (W) 13/02/2022 Buenos Aires, Argentina Match 13 – Argentina v England (RR) Photo: Victoria Sauze (C) and Fiona Crackles Copyright WorldSportsPics/Rodrigo Jaramillo

A team is never more vulnerable than when they have just scored, and Argentina provided the perfect example when a minute later, Jimena Cedres caught Sophie Hamilton in possession, passed the ball to Albertarrio to run into the circle, mirroring Maria Granatto’s run in the previous game before running wide of the right post and smashing the ball into the net to give Argentina a commanding 5-1 lead.

With eight minutes to play, England scored a second consolation goal, Rayer controlling the ball wide along Argentina’s right backline before the ball found its way to Holly Hunt to poke home at the far post and open her international account.

Game 1

Argentina:

Scorers: Agustina Gorzelany 5-PC, 39-PC; Julieta jankunas 13-F, 55-F; Delfina Thome 37-F,

Starters: Belen Succi (GK); Sofia Toccalino, Agustina Gorzelany, Agustina Alonso, Agustina Albertarrio, Maria Granatto, Barbara Dichiara, Victoria Sauze, Eugenia Trinchinetti, Julieta Jankunas, Valentina Costa.

Subs: Rocio Sanchez (Capt.) (5 mins), Valentina Raposo (5), Micaela Retegui (5), Celina di Santo (5), Delfina Thome (5), Jimena Cedres (6).

Sub not used: Cristina Cosentino (GK).

Cards: None

England:

Scorers: Hollie Pearne-Webb 23-PC, Ellie Rayer 38-F

Starters: Laura Unsworth, Anna Toman, Hannah Martin, Holly Hunt, Ellie Rayer, Giselle Ansley, Hollie Pearne-Webb (Capt.), Sophie Hamilton, Sabbie Heesh (GK), Jo Hunter, Flora Peel.

Subs: Darcy Bourne (5 mins), Esme Burge (5), Izzy Petter (5), Olivia Hamilton (5), Fiona Crackles (5), Alex Malzer (5)

Sub not used: Amy Tennant (GK).

Cards: Anna Toman (2 mins), Ellie Rayer (22 mins). Yellow: Anna Toman (26 mins)

Umpires: Catalina Montesino (Chile) and Irene Presenqui (Argentina)

Game 2

Argentina:

Scorers: Maria Granatto 5-F, Martina Triñanes 26-PC, Eugenia Trinchinetti 28-PC, Victoria Granatto 35-F, Agustina Albertarrio 49-F.

Starters: Agustina Gorzelany, Agustina Albertarrio, Maria Granatto, Cristina Cosentino, Rocio Sanchez (Capt.), Victoria Sauze, Eugenia Trinchinetti, Jimena Cedres, Julieta Jankunas, Valentina Costa, Maria Forcherio.

Subs: Agostina Alonso (5), Victoria Granatto (5), Maria Sol Lombardo, (6), Daiana Pacheco (6), Valentina Marucci (8), Martina Triñanes (9).

Sub not used: Clara Barberi (GK).

Cards: Eugenia Trinchinetti (14 mins).

England:

Scorers: Ellie Rayer 48-F, Holly Hunt 52-F

Starters: Amy Tennant (GK), Anna Toman, Hannah Martin, Holly Hunt, Izzy Petter, Giselle Ansley, Hollie Pearne-Webb (Capt.), Fiona Crackles, Sophie Hamilton, Flora Peel, Grace Balsdon.

Subs: Elena Rayer (3 mins), Martha Taylor (3), Laura Unsworth (4), Lizzie Neal (4), Jo Hunter (5), Alex Malzer (5),

Sub not used: Sabbie Heesh (GK).

Cards: Green: Laura Unsworth (5 mins).

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