Women’s Hockey World Cup review by The Half Court Press
Spain and the Netherlands 2022
Match Day 7
Saturday 9th July
Germany 1 – 0 South Africa
Belgium 5 – 0 Chile
What’s Happened Today
Germany 1 – 0 South Africa;
in the first of the cross over matches we saw Germany, who finished second in Pool A, against South Africa, who secured third spot in Pool D, after that dramatic comeback against Japan. The Germans are ranked fourth in the world and have a fully professional programme. Whereas, the South Africans are placed 16th in the world, coming into this match, and are completely amateur. The Germans dominated the first 15 minutes winning several penalty corners. However, they were unable to convert any of them, with Phumelala Mbande in the South African goal made several good saves. In the second quarter Amelie Wortmann looked as though she was going to open the scoring, after she, alongside her team mate, had helped to create a two versus one situation on Mbande. Ultimately it was sent wide of the far post. At the half time break the score remained goalless, with a hard working South African team keeping their opponents at bay. After the break the Central Europeans carried on with their dominance in possession and the winning of penalty corners. However, it took Germany until the 37th minute before they scored, with their captain Nike Lorenz sliding a set piece shot into the corner to Mbande’s right hand side. Germany had many more chances, but were unable to find the back of the net, in no small part due to the work from the South African defensive short corner runners and goalkeeper. The score finished one nil to a Germany who knew that that were in a competitive game from the outset. They will meet New Zealand in the Quarter Finals.
Belgium 5 – 0 Chile;
The second game of the day saw another David and Goliath match up. Belgium, who are ranked sixth in the FIH rankings, played 15th in the world Chile, who have been the underdog story of the tournament so far. Belgium showed some confidence in the first quarter and took a three goal lead in the first 15 minutes. A Justine Rasir field goal (her first of the tournament) was sandwiched between two Stephanie Vanden Borre penalty corners. Further goals from Charlotte Englebert, one a 19th minute penalty corner, another 30th minute field goal, which saw her pick the pocket of the Chilean full back before running almost half the length of the pitch to score, saw her team secure a dominating win. The fifth goal had an element of controversy to it, as the Chileans felt that the ball had hit Englebert on the body, before she drove into space. However, the umpires disagreed and the score remained a five nil win for Belgium. The Red Panthers will now have a Central European derby against neighbours Netherlands in the last eight.
Belgium’s second goal was a good team affair. Alix Gerniers picked up the ball in a moderately central channel. She played it to the left, where her team mate Louise Versavel received it and drove forward to the baseline. At this point Belgium had two runners looking for space in front of the Chilean goal. Justine Rasir was the first to the ball and deflected it over the line.
Nike Lorenz is the captain of Germany. She plays like a leader and provides a bit of creativity for her side. She scored the deciding goal for her team today, in their match against South Africa, which came from one of the many German penalty corners. Her efforts provided her with the Player of the Match award.
Stephanie Vanden Borre and Charlotte Englebert of Belgium both continued their challenge for the top goalscorer award. They got two goals a piece, three of which were from short corners. Englebert was named the Player of the Match in the crossover game against Chile.
However, Phumelala Mbande was amazing in the South African goal today. At times it looked like her team were playing with two or three keepers. She was all over the place, moving with good feet, making saves high and low. Her team were kept in the game, mainly by the shots that she stopped, predominately from Germany’s short corner routines, keeping the result down to the solitary one nil scoreline. She would be my choice for the star player of the day.
The half time interview with Chilean Head Coach, Sergio Vigil, portrayed a hockey personality that is full of vim and vigour. This man oozes positivity whenever he speaks. Even though his team were four goals down at the break, one got the sense that his never give up mentality would make him a players coach. In this chat with the match day commentator, Nick Irvine, he spoke about how the simple act of scoring a goal would lift his side towards changing the dynamic of the game. By saying this he showed his belief in fairies, his faith in the better angels of the sport. He reinvigorated my enjoyment of hockey.
You can keep up to date with the Women’s Hockey World Cup, by listening to the brand new Podcast, produced by the Hockey World News. It’s called the Hockey Pod, it is hosted by Jade Bloomfield. You can listen by clicking here. The Half Court Press has made an appearance, through Tao MacLeod acting as a guest on the show. If you also want to listen to the Half Court Press Podcast, then click here…