Match Day 2 Review by Hockey World News Media Partner Half Court Press
Saturday 2 July
New Zealand 2 – 2 China
Germany 4 – 1 Chile
Argentina 4 – 0 South Korea
Netherlands 5 – 1 Ireland
Australia 2 – 0 Japan
What’s Happened Today
New Zealand 2 – 2 China; the first game of the day was between Commonwealth Games champions New Zealand and the promising Asian side of China. The Kiwi team that won their title on the Gold Coast in 2018 is much changed in terms of players and staffing, they’ve also been rather isolated recently, due to their Government’s Covid-19 regulations. China have been touring Europe and have been playing some entertaining hockey under their new coach Alyson Annan. They played the first game at the Wagener Stadium in the tournament’s co-host country, the Netherlands. In a game dominated by penalty corners, both teams could have won it. New Zealand took the initial lead, China came back to take a two to one goal lead. The only field goal of the match came from an Olivia Merry tap in to equalise, after a Hope Ralph drive down the right wing. I like the Chinese, they looked to assert themselves on the opposition defence, although they might leak a goal or two, if their defensive players are isolated, or pressed individually. The first game of the day ended in a two all draw.
Germany 4 – 1 Chile; ranked 17th in the world, Chile are the lowest placed team at the World Cup. Before the start of this match the coach, Sergio Vigil, stated his ambition that his side would be competitive throughout this tournament, hoping to surprise, perhaps, even the most positive of fans. It will be a tough journey, if that’s going to happen, as they have been drawn into a first round group that will be difficult to navigate. Group A also includes the World Cup finalist from 2018, co-hosts the Netherlands and silver medalists from London, Ireland. Their Germans opponents haven’t medaled for a while, but have won this event as a West German team and are currently ranked sixth in the world. Chile were well disciplined, forcing the Central Europeans to work hard to find space in the circle. They even got a goal themselves from a well worked short corner, but found it too much to secure a win themselves, running out losers by three a three goal margin.
Argentina 4 – 0 South Korea; Argentina took an early lead in their match against South Korea. It came in the first minute from an Augustina Gorzelany penalty corner. They went on to dominate the rest of the quarter, without getting another goal. In the second quarter, the Koreans pushed on in search of an equaliser, without success. In the 27th minute, Gorzelany doubled her tally, roofing a drag flick from another set piece to make it two goals to nil for Las Leonas. Victoria Granatto stole a goal on the line from her sister Maria, during another short corner routine, to make it three goals to nil at half time. Julieta Jankunas added a fourth to make it a solid win for the Latin Americans.
Netherlands 5 – 1 Ireland; the fourth game of the day saw a repeat of the World Cup final in 2018. Co-hosts Netherlands took on Ireland, who they beat in the Gold Medal Match in London. The Irish bring a fresh looking team with them to Holland, with a few younger players in their team. Sarah McAuley, who also played in the Junior World Cup earlier this year was recently on the Half Court Press Podcast. You can listen to her interview here. There’s a big turn out for the home side, with many Dutch fans filtering through the gates throughout the day. By the time of the pushback for this fixture there was over 9,200 people in attendance, the biggest crowd of any game so far in the tournament. The first penalty stroke of the competition was awarded to the Netherlands, after Irish goalie Ayeisha McFerran was undone by a bit of Dutch attacking flair and took out a forward with a trailing leg. Frédérigue Matla duly converted it to take a one nil lead. This is something that was repeated, after McFerran was left exposed after a mistake in the Irish midfield. Matla went the same way and scored again, this time making the score four goals to one, after the Irish had scored from a short corner. The Dutch were to add another before the final whistle.
Australia 2 – 0 Japan; Australia have had a tough four years since the last World Cup. They came fourth in London, but since then they have had to take a long hard look at their Women’s Programme after allegations of some serious nonsense and crappiness. This has forced a shake up in staffing and attitudes. Similarly to New Zealand they have also had an enforced isolation due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, Rosie Malone, one of my favourite players from 2018 is still in the squad, so that should be fun. Their opponents Japan are the Asian champions, so provide a team to look out for over the next couple of weeks. It was a frantic match, with a nervous energy that came from the players. There were very few chances created in open play, with Australia failing to score from several short corners. At half time the score was goalless. It took until the 55th minute until we had our first goal of the game. It was a rebound from an open play shot, turned in from about five yards and even then off the bar by Mariah Williams of Australia. At this point the Japanese pulled their keeper from the pitch, in search for an equaliser. The Aussies took advantage of an open goal, with Rosie Malone scoring her side’s second for the two nil win.
The second goal for Germany, in their match against Chile saw the ball travel from one end of the pitch to the other, in just a few passes. The German full back played it into midfield, for a deflected pass forward. Pia Maertens received it, turned and found Charlotte Stapenhorst at the top of the circle. The forward took the ball into the shooting area, made the goalkeeper move and commit herself, before finding space to shoot towards an empty goal and create a two goal advantage for her side. It was a good team goal, that was also fairly direct and efficient, summing up the German style of play.
Julieta Jankunas of Argentina is a strong contender for this. Las Leonas’ attacking player was a constant thorn in the side of the South Koreans this afternoon, as she had plenty of intricate touches in and around the circle in her attacking quarter, including the fourth and final goal for her side. Additionally, Augustina Gorzelany, with her two penalty corner goals and the Granatto sisters showed their abilities in the game.
The Dutch were so completely dominant against the Irish, with so many world class players, that the whole team probably deserves a mention in this section. In particular Frédérique Matla, Lidewij Welten and Sabine Plonissen all had good games, the latter of which actually was awarded the Player of the Match award. However, I was particularly impressed with the attitude and the ambition of Felice Albers. The 22 year old looked comfortable on the ball and was always looking to be adventurous in attacking areas.
However, the German forward Charlotte Stapenhorst is a clever and technically proficient player. She scored two field goals today, against a disciplined Chilean team. Her movement for her second, Germany’s fourth, was smart, being part of the build up play towards the goal that she finished off. Moving into a high left hand position, just outside of the circle, she received a long pass before playing it centrally. At this point she drifted towards the goal, pouncing on a rebound to round off the game.
In the New Zealand versus China match a Kiwi attacking play broke down in the final seconds of the first quarter. Centre forward Olivia Merry was talked out of making a video referral by her team mate, as play carried on. The Chinese quickly counter attacked and attacking player Luo Tiantian used some lovely 3D skills to beat the full back, bouncing the ball on her stick as she glided into the circle. The resulting shot was sent just wide of the far post, but it showed some wonderful ambition from the Asians.
The return of Eva de Goede for the Dutch National Team will be welcomed by everybody, apart, perhaps, from whoever is having to mark her. Apparently, it was touch and go weather or not one of the best players in the world would return from injury in order to grace this World Cup, but over 9,000 fans saw her turn out today against the Irish.
The best moment of the day though came in the second game. Chile’s first goal of the tournament came from a penalty corner in the 26th minute of their match against Germany. It made the game two goals to one, clawing back a deficit to the Europeans for the Latin Americans. What made the goal special was the obvious joy and pride in scoring their opening goal of the World Cup for the biggest underdogs in the tournament. The exuberance was shown on the faces of the team and the goalscorer Denise Krimerman Losada. What was more pleasing to see was the sense of pride on the face of the Chilean coach, Sergio Vigil. As the camera focused on him high up in the stands, he was celebrating like a fan, before beaming his thanks to those sat around congratulating, a very proud and amiable coach. This sums up an ideal that I’ve always thought about festival hockey, that it’s not just for the top teams who will probably medal, but it’s also an opportunity for those sides at the other end of the rankings who want to test themselves against the best of the best.