FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup Quarter-Final
Argentina 1 England 0
Argentina maintained their hopes of an FIH Pro League and World Cup double beating England 1-0 in a defensive battle in Terrassa, Spain on Wednesday evening.
Argentina had beaten England 5-2 in both FIH Pro League matches on home turf, but the last eight World Cup match-up was in doubt up to the final seconds, England finally denied by two world class saves by Argentinian goalkeeper, Belen Succi in the last two minutes, a performance which persuaded the official Player of the Match, Eugenia Trinchinetti, to give her award to Succi after the presentation.
Argentina’s Agustina Albertarrio also had personal reason to celebrate as she won her 200th international cap against England.
England had last beaten Argentina in the World Cup in 1990 with a 1-0 victory in Sydney, Australia, losing 4-2 in 1998; 2-0 in 2010 and 2-1 in 2014, and only a superb defensive performance in the first half, which Argentina dominated possession wise, but were restricted to a single shot on goal, kept England on parity with Las Leonas at the half time interval.
England couldn’t muster a single shot on goal in the first 30 minutes, coming closest in the second quarter when Hannah Martin and Ellie Rayer combined but the ball ended up past the left post. Rayer and Albertarrio both found the opposition defences too strong towards the end of the second quarter and England had injury concerns when Shona McCallin was helped off the pitch after being hit on the ankle by the ball.
Argentina were quickest out the traps in the third quarter with only a deflection off Anna Toman’s stick preventing Victoria Granatto from having a shot on goal. Albertarrio caused England problems playing the ball across the face of goal and Sophie Hamilton also had a shot as the defensive restrictions were slightly lifted.
Throughout the match, England captain, Hollie Pearne-Webb played magnificently in defence, but England’s disciplinary frailties threatened to surface when Martin was shown her third green card of the tournament in the 36th minute. Four minutes later, Jimena Cedres also spent two minutes on the naughty step for Argentina, but Giselle Ansley and Fiona Crackles also saw green in the last ten minutes.
By the time Ansley and Crackles were in the sin-bin, Argentina had made the all-important breakthrough, their captain, Rocio Sanchez shooting on goal, Victoria Granatto getting a deft deflection at the right post as Hinch was finally beaten in the 47th minute.
The first penalty corner of the match was awarded in the 49th minute after an Argentinian video referral, but for once, the Argentina penalty corner routine, which had generated eleven of their fifteen goals, failed miserably to keep England in the match.
The last three minutes proved eventful with England replacing Hinch with an eleventh outfield player with just 157 seconds remaining. England won their only penalty corner of the match in the 58th minute, Succi denying Ansley a fourth goal of the tournament with a superb glove save.
In the final minute, Hamilton was also denied at point blank range by Succi and there was even more drama on the final hooter as England, with nothing to lose, used their video referral to challenge whether Argentina had deliberately played the ball over their back-line. The last throw of the dice resulted in the video referral being rejected, Argentina able to celebrate a place in the semi-finals against Germany on Saturday.
England can now prepare for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, where they start against Ghana on 30 July before facing Canada, India and Wales in Pool A.
Scorer: Victoria Granatto 47-F
Starters: Belen Succi (GK); Sofia Toccalino, Agustina Gorzelany, Agustina Alonso, Agustina Albertarrio, Maria Granatto, Rocio Sanchez (Capt.), Victoria Granatto, Eugenia Trinchinetti, Jimena Cedres, Valentina Costa.
Subs: Victoria Salze (3 mins), Valentina Raposo (5), Julieta Jankunas (5), Delfina Thome (6), Valentina Marcucci (11), Maria Forcherio (24).
Sub not used: Clara Barberi (GK).
Cards: Green: Jimena Cedres (40 mins).
Starters: Maddie Hinch (GK); Laura Unsworth, Anna Toman, Hannah Martin, Ellie Rayer, Izzy Petter, Giselle Ansley, Hollie Pearne-Webb (Capt.), Fiona Crackles, Sophie Hamilton, Lily Owsley.
Subs: Darcy Bourne (3 mins), Shona McCallin (4), Tess Howard (7), Grace Balsdon (7), Lily Walker (7), Holly Hunt (10).
Sub not used: Sabbie Heesh (GK).
Cards: Green: Hannah Martin (36 mins), Giselle Ansley (50 mins), Fiona Crackles (60 mins).
Amber Church (New Zealand) and Alison Keogh (Ireland)