Women’s Hockey World Cup
Spain and the Netherlands 2022
Match Day 8 – Sunday 10th July
Tao MacLeod – The Half Court Press
Ireland 2 – 0 South Africa
China 3 – 0 Chile
England 5 – 0 South Korea
Spain 1 – 0 India
What’s Happened Today
Ireland 2 – 0 South Africa;
The first match of the day saw the start of the classification games. This is where we sort out where the sides, who failed to qualify for the business end of the tournament, into their final standings. Ireland, who finished bottom of Pool A, took on South Africa, who lost their cross over match yesterday, against Germany. Ireland gained the advantage in the first half. They created a greater number of goal scoring chances, but only managed to take one of them. It was a short corner routine that was designed to eliminate the South African goalkeeping star, Phumelela Mbande. Sarah Hawkshaw went wide of the post where she deflected the ball over the line, after a pass from the top of the circle. Roisin Upton, a veteran from the Irish 2018 World Cup campaign, added a second from a short corner on the half hour. She received the Player of the Match award.
China 3 – 0 Chile;
In the second match of the day we saw another classification match. This time it was between China, who finished bottom of Pool B and Chile who lost their second round match yesterday. The South Americans have been quite open about where they are, where they want to progress to and how they want to inspire further engagement in hockey, back in their home country. In a game that lacked attacking bite, both teams had some chances, but China had more. However, they didn’t seem to be able to assert themselves on the Chilean goal. It took them 45 minutes before anybody was able to open the scoring. It came through a penalty corner that was awarded on the buzzer for three quarter time. 21 year old Ning Ma got the all important opener. This broke the seal for the Asians, with two more penalty corner goals coming in the fourth quarter, from Jiaqi Zhong and Qiuxia Cui.
England 5 – 0 South Korea;
We moved to Terrassa to watch the first of the cross over games today. England spent their rest day travelling from the Netherlands to Spain, due to their coming second in Pool B. The opposition was South Korea, who finished third in Pool C. It was the English who took the early advantage, with plenty of high possession and a number of opportunities on goal. Giselle Ansley opened the scoring from a penalty corner, before a typically assertive Tess Howard got the second from open play. Giselle Ansley added a third from another set piece five minutes before half time. In the third quarter, the Koreans looked to press the English in a more positive manner. They gained a bit more of the ball much higher up the pitch, but were unable to convert this into clear cut goalscoring opportunities. England came out in the fourth quarter, after being given a stern talking to from the coaching staff and senior players, to score two more goals. The game finished five nil to the Europeans, who will now face Argentina in the Quarter Finals.
Spain 1 – 0 India;
We stayed in Terrassa for the fourth and final game of the day. This was a match up between co-hosts Spain and one of the big names of Asian hockey, India. Both teams showed some ambition in the first quarter, with Spain producing more clear cut chances. However, neither team was able to find the back of the net. Spain kept coming forward in the second quarter. At one point the Indian captain and veteran goalkeeper, Savita, made three top saves in a row, from a Spanish short corner routine. The Indians then started to come forward themselves, but struggled to score, as well. In fact both goalkeepers make decent stops to keep the scoreline goalless, but in truth neither side seem able to create enough chances, or execute the ones that they did get. There was a nervousness amongst the players, with a winner needed at the end of the day. Eventually, Spain broke the deadlock. Clara Ycart picked the ball up on the right hand side of the circle and drove towards the baseline. Here, she centred the ball across the face of the Indian goal, towards two of her team mates. Marta Segu pounced and tucked it away with four minutes left of the game. At this point the hosts decided that this wasn’t exciting enough and had two of their players sin binned for the remainder of the match, with Begoña Garcia, as well as the goalscorer having received a yellow and a green card respectively. However, India couldn’t capitalise and the score remained one nil to Spain.
Tess Howard’s first goal of the tournament was in her typically forceful style, with some added sugar on top. After having her initial shot saved at the near post, by the Korean goalkeeper Jinmin Lee, she won back possession in the second phase. Howard then spun the approaching defender, using a v-drag to provide herself with more space and a better angle to shoot. At this point, she absolutely smashes the ball into the goal to give her side a two goal lead. Tess Howard has appeared on the Half Court Press Podcast. You can listen to her episode here…
Sarah McAuley is one of the strongest defenders in the Irish squad. She is a tough tackler, with a smart sense of positioning. I also like her desire to look to pass the ball out of defence, hoping to build play from the back. She showed all of these qualities in the classification match between Ireland and South Africa this afternoon. Sarah McAuley recently appeared on the Half Court Press Podcast, describing her three favourite games of hockey from her playing career. You can listen to the episode here…
Ellie Rayer added some much needed creativity to the English attack. She played with a vim and vigour not seen a lot so far from England this tournament. She looked to drive forward with the ball, bring other players into the game and was assertive when in possession. Rayer set up Hannah Martin for England’s fourth goal, after she unselfishly provided the pass, instead of taking a shot. She then scored the fifth herself, with a far post deflection. Ellie Rayer has also appeared on the Half Court press Podcast. You can listen to her episode here…
In the crossover match between England and South Korea, Laura Unsworth won 300th combined cap for England & Great Britain. The Olympic and European champion is currently playing in her fourth World Cup. Her hockey brain is world class, which with a low centre of gravity and a good first touch, allows her to be a talented and dependable deep lying playmaker. Unsworth has been a fantastic servant for English and British hockey and truly deserves any and all accolades today for having had such a long and distinguished career.