Women’s Hockey World Cup
Spain and the Netherlands 2022
Written by Tao MacLeod – Half Court Press
Match Day 3
Sunday 3 July
Belgium 4 – 1 South Africa
England 1 – 1 India
South Korea 3 – 2 Canada
Germany 1 – 3 Netherlands
Spain 1 – 4 Argentina
What’s Happened Today
Belgium 4 – 1 South Africa;
In the first game of the day, the commentators kept talking about how hot it was. South Africa arrived here as continental champions and are the sole representatives from Africa in the World Cup. They came in as the second lowest ranked team in the tournament. South African goalkeeper Phumelela Mbande is arguably, with her opposite number today Aisling D’hooghe, the best named goalie at the World Cup. The game remained fairly even handed. South Africa played to their strengths trying to create defensive overloads when out of possession and then attacking quickly with numbers when going forward. They looked a tad vulnerable to the counter attack in the initial breakdowns, but largely speaking Belgium weren’t able to capitalise on this. In fact Phumelela Mbande came out to make a good sliding save on midfielder Michelle Struijk, when Belgium did come forward at pace. South Africa were undone by penalty corners, with three of the four they conceded coming from these set pieces. Although no longer in the National Team, former Belgium international Jill Boon is a former guest on the Half Court Press Podcast. If you want to hear more about hockey in Belgium, you can listen to the episode here.
England 1 – 1 India;
The second fixture of the day saw a repeat of the Tokyo Olympics Bronze Medal Match. England, who won that game last summer, took a one goal lead through an Izzy Petter field goal in the eighth minute. The Indians are fun to watch, with 22 year old attacker Lalremsiami showing the ability to run at defenders, with the ball. They swarmed forward in numbers and earned a well deserved equaliser from a Vandana Katariya penalty corner, in the second quarter. England’s focus in the third quarter was more about the build up play in midfield, using Laura Unsworth as a pivot player. In truth it was a stale game, with both teams showing an element of caution not to lose their first game. The closest that any team came to scoring in the second half was when a cross come shot across the English defensive circle hit an Indian attackers foot, when it seemed easier to score than to miss. Two England players have appeared on the Half Court Press Podcast; Tess Howard and Ellie Rayer have both given us their back stories.
South Korea 3 – 2 Canada;
South Korea and Canada faced off in what was the second game of the tournament for both sides. It was an important fixture for the two teams as they lost their opening matches earlier in the week. South Korea got off to the perfect start with a Minji Kim goal from a short corner in the first minute. The Canadians provided an almost instant reply through Madeline Secco, within a minute of the Korean’s opener. The game calmed down significantly after the initial burst of activity. This is often the way, it’s almost impossible to maintain that level of intensity for an entire match. It came alive again in the final quarter, with the Koreans having taken the lead twice, with a Canadian equaliser in-between the goals for the Asians. The final score was three goals to two for South Korea.
Germany 1 – 3 Netherlands;
The early evening game saw two Central European rivals matched up together in a Group A encounter. The winner of this game would expect to top the pool and qualify directly to the Quarter Finals. Marloes Keetles opened the scoring with a rebounded field goal, after a drive down the left wing. She had looked to centre the ball to a team mate, but the ball bounced off the stick of a German defender and went straight back to her. Keetles was alive to the opportunity and found a space to score from close range. It proved to be one of the better games of the day, with both teams battling it out in a tightly contested event. It finished three goals to one in favour of the host nation, with both teams looking for control of the midfield.
Spain 1 – 4 Argentina;
The final match of the day was a Latin derby in Group C. Co-hosts Spain took on Pro-League champions Argentina, and both teams enticed a number of fans to come down and support their teams. In fact it was the noisiest and fullest that we have heard and seen the Olympic Stadium, in Terrassa, so far in this tournament. Argentina started the game the stronger of the two sides, peppering the Spanish goal with short corner routines and rebounds. The Spanish defence held firm and gave a riposte or two themselves. It was a fast paced match that could almost be considered end to end. Argentina thought that Eugenia Trinchinetti scored a deflection in the final seconds of the first quarter, but Scottish umpire Sarah Wilson made her own video referral and we saw that the injection from the penalty corner had never left the circle and the goal was disallowed. The first half finished goalless, but felt like it should have had three or four goals in it, due to the pace of play, the execution of skill and the general intensity of the match. The Argentines had the superior chances, but had been unable to capitalise against a brave Spanish defence. Argentina turned it on in the third quarter, scoring two short corners through Augustina Gorzelany and Valentina Raposo, with Gorzelany scoring a penalty stoke as well, after Maria Granatto was bundled over in the circle. In the fourth quarter Maria Granatto got a goal of her own, after taking a deflection off a Gorzelany penalty corner.
The Canadians had an almost instant reply to going behind early in their match against South Korea. A long aerial pass from midfield found Madeline Secco upfront. She brought it down, fed Brienne Stairs, who played a one-two with her team mate. Secco committed the Korean goalkeeper, before scoring a confidence building equaliser for the North Americans.
The best goal, though, came in the last match of the day. Argentina put on an attacking spectacle in their Group C game against Spain in the night time game. They looked free flowing in open play and proved to be dangerous from set pieces, scoring three penalty corners and a penalty stroke. The pick of the bunch has to be Agustina Gorzelany’s second of the match, which was a drag flick from the top of the circle to give her side a three goal lead. It was powerful and accurate, well into the corner. You don’t save those.
South African goalkeeper Phumelela Mbande made several good saves to keep her side competitive in their game against Belgium this afternoon. She stopped shots from close range and far out, at different angles, as well as in one versus one situations. As one of the foremost goalkeepers at the London World Cup in 2018, she is proving that she is able to show consistency and longevity at this level. Her good positioning comes from a level of intelligence and experience, that some other keepers lack, which makes her saves look easier than they do might otherwise.
The Canadians are a decent team. They aren’t as fun to watch as an India, or an Argentina. They aren’t in the same league as the Netherlands (well who is?), but they are well organised, work for each other and are worthy of their place in this tournament, ahead of their North American rivals the USA. Hannah Vaughn looks okay upfront, she’s trying to some good things, without necessarily an end product every single time. The best player in this team, however, is their captain Natalie Sourisseau. Most of the good attacking play that has come from the Canadians, in their match against the Koreans, passed through their half back and leader. She got around the pitch, placing herself in good positions like somebody who wants to take responsibility for others. If you get to watch Canada later on in the tournament, look out for the number 16, with the frizzy hair in midfield.
The Spainish – Argentine game was one of the finest games of hockey that I have ever had the privilege to watch. The Spanish captain, Gigi Oliva was magnificent, however the Latin Americans were too strong for her team. Augustina Gorzelany took the lead in the goalscoring charts during this fixture, Augustina Albertarrio and Eugenia Trinchinetti looked adventurous and the Granatto sisters showed some proper skills. While Viktoria’s ill discipline cast a minor shadow over her performance (she received a green and then a yellow card), it was Maria who received the Player of the Match award in this fantastic spectacle, scoring a goal in the process.
In the Germany versus Netherlands match several players might have taken the chocolates on this one. Freeke Moes had good games for the host nation and Marloes Keetles earned the Player of the Match award. Nike Lorenz looked strong for the Germans, scoring from a penalty corner. However, the best player of the day for me has to be Lidewij Welten. She is truly a world class player and one of the stars of the Dutch team. She was a constant thorn in the side of the Germans in their Group A match, with a mix of ambitious drives forward with the ball and intricate little interchanges with team mates. She set up Freeke Moes’s 47th minute field goal, to put her side two nil up, with a clever little dink through her own legs, with her back to goal.
One of the most joyous moments of the day was when South Africa’s Jean-Leigh du Toit scores her team’s opening goal of the tournament. It was a slap from the top of the circle during a short corner routine. The whole team were jumping about the place in celebration, reminiscent of Chile’s similar goal yesterday. It’s a reminder that these tournaments aren’t just about the medal matches at the end of the competition, it’s also about the lower ranked sides, with broadly amateur programmes, like that of South Africa, who’s achievements are being here to compete and inputting into the stories of the World Cup.