Terrassa beckons for Netherlands and Germany
After a day of contrasting matches we know who two of the semi-finallists are to be. First Germany put in a workmanlike performance to outplay New Zealand, then Netherlands and Belgium played out a scintillatng match, which the Netherlands edged in the final quarter.
In the earlier matches, China finished their campaign with a win over Ireland, and Chile continued to win friends across the international community as they celebrated their first win at a Women’s World Cup. This was the final day of action at the Wagener Stadium, with the remaining matches all taking place in the Estadi Olimpic in the Spanish city of Terrassa.
South Africa vs Chile (13-16 place)
South Africa got off to an energetic start in the final World Cup match for these two teams. While Chile had a few good runs at the South African defence, they found Jean-Leigh du Toit in determiedn form and she swept well in front of Phumelela Mbande in the South Africa goal.
For their part, South Africa were stringing some good passes together and looked ominously dangerous.
In the second quarter, Chile made the most of a player advantage when Du Toit was gven a green card. Chile played a quick ball up the pitch and only some great awareness by Mbande kept the Diablas from opening the scoring.
With 30 seconds left, Claudia Schuler in the Chile goal was called upon to make a great save. The keeper stretched her leg out to divert the ball from the path of the onrushing Zulu Onthatile.
A yellow card for Erin Christie gave Chile the chance to attack but the South Africa team worked hard to compensate and Chile found it difficult to break out of their defensive half.
It was a cruel twist for South Africa that they weathered the danger of Chile’s player advantage only to see Manuela Urroz give Chile the lead straight after they returned to 11 players. Urroz took her chance brilliantly, receiving a long pass out of midfield and slipping it into the corner past Mbande.
That was the only goal of the game and the final whistle was greeted with huge celebrations by the Chile entourage as they ended their first ever FIH Women’s World Cup on a winning note.
Player of the Match was Manuela Urroz (CHI).
The result means Chile end their campaign in joint 13th position, while South Africa finish in joint 15th place.
Ireland vs China (9-12th place)
On the day that China defender Cui Qiuxia celebrated her 200th cap , China took an early lead in the seventh minute after Ma Ning quickly adapted to a misplaced penalty corner and passed the ball perfectly for Chen Yang to fire home past Ayeisha McFerran.
Deirdrie Duke had an opportunity to square things a few minutes later but her quickly taken shot flew over the China goal.
A good referral by captain Katie Mullan gave Ireland a penalty corner chance to equalise on the edge of quarter time. Unfortunately Roisin Upton was unable to get the ball on target and China went into the break with a narrow lead.
The second quarter was immensely tight with both teams working hard to keep their defences’ closed to the opposition. In the final minutes of the quarter China won two consecutive penalty corners. Sarah Torrans showed great courage as she ran the corners down and singlehandedly dispelled the threat of the China penalty corner routine.
The teams went into the second half knowing that they were starting their last 30 minutes of Women’s World Cup action for this edition. The sense of urgency was building within the Irish team, while China were conscious that their lead was very slender.
Ireland will look back at this event with some frustration at the number of penalty corners that went unconverted and none more so than in this match. With five minutes left in the third quarter, Ireland won a couple more penalty corners, neither of which fiund a way past Liu PIng in the China goal.
With just 15 minutes left, Ireland’s cause was not helped when Sarah Mcauley was given a yellow card. With Irealnd needing to throw everything into the game, a player disadvantage was the last thing Head Coach Sean Dancer and his team needed.
And China struck the blow that looked to have ended Ireland’s aim to finish on a winning note when Zhong Jiaqi sent home a beautifully placed penalty corner to double their lead with just 11 minutes left.
A yellow card to Yang Haoting dented China’s confidence and gave Ireland some hope of turning the score around. If possible, Katie Mullan and her team piled even more energy into the match, seeking a breakthrough that would allow them back into the match.
That hope was dashed when Zhang Xindan slipped a ball to Chen Yanhua, who showed great balance and awareness to collect the ball, turn and shoot to give her team an unassailable 3-0 lead.
With two minutes left Roisin Upton fired in a penalty corner which Michelle Carey directed into the goal to give the slightest glimmers of hope to her team. That was, however, the last shooting opportunity for either team and it was a delighted if exhausted China who left the field as winners.
Cui Qiuxia, who won 200 caps today, said: ‘I never forget this day, it will be a great memory in my life. We played a very hard match today and we were very tired, but I am very proud of the team.’
Player of the Match was Chen Yang (CHN). The result means that China finish the tournament in ninth position. Ireland will finish in joint 11th place.
New Zealand vs Germany (quarter-final)
Two penalty corners which Sonja Zimmermann was unable to convert were really the only real scoring opportunities in the opneing quarter as both teams tried to gauge each others’ strengths and weaknesses. Germany shaded possession and looked the more ambitious but New Zealand have form at withstanding pressure and then pouncing on the counter attack.
Germany were straight into action in the second quarter. A simple three pass move saw Pia Maertens pass to Nike Lorenz, whose through ball found Leena Micheel in front of goal. There was nothing Brooke Roberts could do about it as the striker slotted the opening goal past her.
Despite a huge amont of pressure and no lack of chances, Germany couldn’t double their lead. While Nike Lorenz, Kira Horn and Charlotte Stapenhorst were all very busy, they just couldn’t get past the New Zealand defence.
New Zealand for their part seemed to be biding their time. There was a surprising lack of attacking vigour in the third quarter. That all changed half-way through the final quarter when Germany had two players off the pitch with cards. Head Coach Darren Smith pulled the goalkeeper off the pitch and New Zealand threw everything forwards. However, if ever there was a team who can defend a lead it is Germany. The team returned to 11 and the New Zealand threat seemed to have passed.
With four minutes left Aniwaka Haumaha won a penalty corner and there was a sense of expectation as Olivia Merry stepped up. Her shot however, flew wide and Germany breathed a sigh of releif.
New Zealand withdrew their ‘keeper again and Rose Tynan had a golden opportunity to socre the equaliser. She prepared to shoot but was off-balance and her shot just went wide of the German goal.
That was the last chance for the Black Sticks and, as the whistle blew for full time, Germany celebrated as they booked their places in the semi-finals and a match against either Argentina or England.
New Zealand’s goalkeeper Brooke Roberts said: ‘That was really tough, but Germany were really good and they played so hard to the very end. Our team played to the very end. That moment in the second quarter really let us down. We built in that third quarter and dominated the fourth quarter so maybe we were a bit flat up to that point.’
Player of the Match Nike Lorenz (GER) said: ‘We are still working on scoring more goals but as long as we score a goal and keep it to 0 then it is okay. I know we are making our supporters and our coach very nervous. The knockout stages are so emotional. New Zealand put it all in but so did we. They will come back and be a little stronger.’
Netherlands vs Belgium (quarter-final)
A cauldron of noise greeted the Belgium team as they walked out onto the pitch to take on the Netherlands in this second quarter-final of the day. Head Coach Raoul Ehrens has prepared his team well to withstand mental pressure and for the first fourteen and a half minutes the Red Panthers held their own as they went toe to toe with the reigning champions. Elena Sotgui, in goal for Belgium, was oustanding in the first quarter.
The deadlock was broken however, as the clock counted down to 15 minutes. A beautiful display of one-touch hockey saw the ball travel from Felice Albers to Maria Verschoor onto Eva de Goede and finally to Laurien Leurink, who hit it home to give the Dutch the lead.
It was a see-saw of a third quarter as the Dutch dominated possession and had four penalty corners but it was Belgium who got onto the score-sheet through a clever deflection by captain Alix Gerniers from a penalty corner.
The Dutch found a way to get back in front through a combination of the skill of Freeke Moes and a smattering of luck. Moes worked her way along the baseline before shooting. The ball took an unfortunate deflection from Aisling D’Hooghe’s legs.
Despite the set back, the Red Panthers continued to push forwards and for the first time in this competition the Dutch looked tense and pressured. Grit and determination from Frederique Matla, as she ran the ball out of her own defnsive quarter, earned the Netherlands another penalty corner but great running by Justine Rasir prevented the Netherlands from exytending their lead.
With 90 seconds left, Netherlands conceded a penalty corner after a heavy challenge from Xan de Waard on Gerniers. The first penalty corner was ponderous but there was a re-award and Belgium had another chance. Helene Brasseur sent her shot wide.
That was the final action of the match and with the final whistle, the Netherlands took another step towards the final. It was also the last piece of action from the Wagener Stadium before the concluding matches are played at Terrassa.
Player of the Match Freeke Moes (NED) said: ‘We will travel tomorrow [to Terrassa] and it will be a lot hotter than it is here in Amsterdam but we are very ready for the challenge.’
Alix Gerniers: ‘For us, it was a final, playing Holland in Holland. We thought ‘why not try to win?’, and it was close. But Holland stays Holland, they are a great team, but who knows, one day we can do something. I think when we review the game, we were totally outplayed but then we woke up and it was an equal game.’
The result means that Netherlands will face either Australia or Spain in the semi-final.