England, Argentina secure semifinal berths

Spain knocks South Korea out of semifinal contention with a 2-2 draw

The weather turned from frigid on Friday to sunny spring on Saturday as England and Argentina secured semifinal berths from Pool ‘B' at the women's field hockey World Cup.

England defeated South Africa 2-1, Argentina beat China 2-0 and Spain knocked South Korea out of semifinal contention with a 2-2 draw.

Helen Richardson's double made England look comfortable. She cracked in a loose ball in the first half and tipped in at the right post Crista Cullen's fifth penalty corner chance in the second half.

That was until Pietie Cortzee brought the crowd to their feet with a sizzling penalty corner flick inside the left post and the large crowd applauded every move of South Africa in the last 15 minutes.

Cortzee had a last minute penalty corner, but her hit from the right was saved by England goalkeeper Beth Storry.

England coach Danny Kerry was pleased with the quality of England's defence.

“I liked the quality of our play defensively, but we should have scored more goals from our six penalty corners, and we missed two early field goal chances,” Kerry said.

South Africa coach Giles Bonnet believes that her team played below its potential. “It was a disappointing game for us and I think we played far below our level but in the end I think we fought well for the equaliser in the last 15 minutes”, Bonnet said.

Improved show

Spain performed at a higher level than its previous three losses to hold South Korea to a 2-2 draw. Kim Bo Mi drove in Korea's first goal early in the first half and despite superior ball possession Spain struggled to convert penalty corners until Gloria Comerma converted late in the first half.

Korea went ahead 2-1, seconds before the break with a penalty corner by Cheon Seul Ki.

Silvia Munoz deflected in Spain's equaliser early in the second half. Spain outmuscled Korea in the numerous physical clashes in the second half to secure its first point of the tournament.

Spain's coach Pablo Usoz continued with his theme of missed chances to convert penalty corners. “As I have said before, it is the conversion of penalty corners that makes the difference to the score and we are not converting enough of our chances,” Usoz said.

South Korea's coach Kang Keon Wook regretted losing the chance to be in the semifinals. “I am very disappointed as we made mistakes in defence and in the execution of our penalty corners and some of the basic skills of our players were poor,” Kang said.

China held Argentina scoreless in the first half despite five penalty corner chances in succession in the middle of the first half.

Noel Barrionuevo converted Argentina's seventh penalty corner with a high flick in the second half which found a hole to exit the net and required the umpire to check the video replay to ensure the goal was scored.

Luciana Aymar scored the goal of the tournament so far, an individual run from the midfield beating four defenders, the goalkeeper and a defender on the line to push in from five metres to the left of goal.

‘Best ever'

Aymar believes it was her best goal ever. “It was the nicest goal I have scored in my whole career and I rate it 100 out of 100,” she said.

Argentina coach Carlos Retegui described Aymar's goal as ‘magical and incredible'.

China coach Kim Sang Ryul said he admired Argentina's skills.

“Of course Argentina is very skilful and experienced and they organise very well and in our team Song Qingling forgot her role today and I think these two things made a big difference to China,” Kim said.

The results:

Pool ‘B': England 2 (Helen Richardson 9, 48) bt South Africa 1 (Pietie Cortzee 58).

South Korea 2 (Kim Bo Mi 7, Cheon Seul Ki 35) drew with Spain 2 (Gloria Comerma 32, Silvia Munoz 38).

Argentina 2 (Noel Barrionuevo 51, Luciana Aymar 60) bt China 0. — AFP

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 3:10:56 PM |

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