FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup Pool B
England 2 China 0
England secured their place in the crossover matches in the Women’s World Cup, two first half penalty corner conversions and their first clean sheet of the tournament giving them a 2-0 win over China in Amstelveen and runners-up spot in Pool B.
China’s defeat, combined with India’s thrilling 4-3 loss to New Zealand saw China eliminated on goal difference with India taking their place in the crossover matches courtesy of a -1 goal difference compared with China’s -2, both teams finishing on two points.
China’s coach, Alyson Annan, was far from happy with the decisions which led to both England goals being awarded, China losing their right to a video referral challenging whether Grace Balsdon’s tenth minute goal was dangerous, and then unable to query whether Giselle Ansley’s insurance conversion in the 27th minute should have been disallowed because the ball didn’t go outside the circle after the injection and trap.
England’s Hannah Martin won her 100th combined cap in a match in which both teams made a cagey start: England needing a win to progress and China needing just a draw.
China won their first penalty corner in the ninth minute after England were judged to have deliberately played the ball over their own back-line, but after the corner was successfully defended, England went to the other end of the pitch, forced their first penalty corner of the game, and for the second successive match, converted their first set-piece, before China unsuccessfully challenged Balsdon’s finish.
China didn’t have reason to worry at that stage as when the teams had last met in the FIH Pro League at Lee Valley, Balsdon had given England an 11th minute lead before China fought back to win 3-1. However, with World Cup qualification on the line, England were determined to secure their first win over China in 2022.
To add insult to injury, after falling behind, China had an immediate opportunity to restore parity from a penalty corner, but the award was reversed after England used their video referral wisely.
Early in the second quarter, England had the chance to double their lead from open play after Lily Owsley found Tess Howard in the circle, only for Howard’s shot to be straight at Ping Liu in the Chinese goal.
Three minutes before half time, Ansley doubled England’s lead from their second penalty corner of the match, with China frustrated having already lost their video referral. China had an opportunity to pull a goal back before the interval, Sophie Hamilton having been penalized with a penalty corner after playing the ball after the whistle. Bingfeng Gu’s drag-flick was well blocked to keep England’s two goal lead intact.
Two minutes into the third quarter, it was England’s turn to lose their right to their video referral, challenging China’s third penalty corner award. Izzy Petter’s bravery as lead runner led to her needing to leave the pitch for treatment to a bloodied hand.
England had further chances with Darcy Bourne playing the ball from the right, Martin’s deflection just evading Hamilton at the left post.
Maddie Hinch in the England goal had little to do, something China will be very disappointed about considering that they dominated possession for some of the third quarter and most of the final quarter, with England successfully running the clock down towards the end of the game to clinch their place in the crossover matches.
England will play Korea at 2030 BST on Sunday 10 July in Terrassa. Korea lost 4-1 to Spain to finish third in Pool C.
China will play the loser of the crossover match between Belgium and Chile in Amstelveen at 1430 BST, also on Sunday 10 July.
Scorers: Grace Balsdon 10-PC, Giselle Ansley 27-PC
Starters: Maddie Hinch (GK); Laura Unsworth, Anna Toman, Hannah Martin, Ellie Rayer, Izzy Petter, Giselle Ansley, Hollie Pearne-Webb (Capt.), Fiona Crackles, Sophie Hamilton, Lily Owsley.
Subs: Darcy Bourne (3 mins), Tess Howard (3), Grace Balsdon (3), Shona McCallin (4), Holly Hunt (5), Lily Walker (5).
Sub not used: Sabbie Heesh (GK).
Starters: Bingfeng Gu, Jiaqi Li (Capt.), Ying Zhang, Quizia Cui, Ning Ma, Xindan Zhang, Hong Li, Xiaoxue Zhang, Yang Chen, Tiantian Luo, Ping Liu (GK).
Subs: Yangyan Gu (4 mins), Meiyu Liang (4), Jiali Zheng (4), Na Wang (4), Haoting Yang (4), Jiaqi Zhong (4).
Sub not used: Xinhuan Li (GK).
Cards: Green: Haoting Yang (15 mins).
Umpires: Irene Presenqui (Argentina) and Wanri Venter (South Africa).