An energetic second half from Uruguay ended Canada’s Junior World Cup journey, while Austria and Ireland continued to enjoy beginners’ luck as the two debutant nations will now compete for a ninth place finish. The European team’s defeats of Korea and Malaysia respectively means the two Asian sides will be battling for eleventh place.
Canada 1-4 Uruguay (13-15th place) – Potchefstroom, North West University (RSA)
After a first 30 minutes that saw these two Pan Am nations testing each other out, the match burst into life when Uruguay took a grasp of the match in the opening minutes of the second half.
Pilar Oliveros opened the South American team’s account with a well-struck penalty corner and that body blow to the Canadian team was repeated three minutes later when Elisa Civetta scored the first of two goals.
It was Civetta again in the 46th minute, when Uruguay won a penalty stroke. The in-form midfielder stepped up and struck the ball home sweetly.
The game was put totally out of Canada’s reach in the final five minutes of the match as Manuela Vidal was able to latch onto a good pass and fire it home past Ishaval Sekhon to make it 4-0.
Canada scored a consolation goal in the final minute of the game when Jenna Berger was able to find the back of the net after some good build-up play.
Player of the Match was Elisa Civetta (URU). The two-goal hero said: ‘The game was really tough. Both teams played really well. We were more precise and we scored when we needed to and we made the difference. We did our best. It was one of our best matches. It’s the first time Uruguay is playing in the World Cup. So we’re making history in our country and we’re really proud of it.’
The Head Coach for Canada Jenn Beagan said: ‘We knew that coming here would be a challenge. We have a young team. Many girls who’ve never played internationally before. So we’re really proud of the efforts they put in. This was a huge learning opportunity. We take this home.’
The result means that Canada will finish in 15th position, while Uruguay will play for 13-14th place against Wales.
Zimbabwe 0-1 Austria (9-12th place matches) – Potchefstroom, North West University (RSA)
The opening quarter was very much Austria’s in terms of possession as the European team seemed to have a better structure and focus in this match to decide who would play for 13-14th place. However, when it came to converting those chances, Austria just couldn’t find their way past Jenna Mathieson in the Zimbabwe goal. The closest opportunity fell to Nathalie Matousek, whose good work was spoilt when she flicked the ball straight at the keeper. With seconds left, Johanna Czech sent a penalty corner shot just past the goalpost.
In the second quarter, the game evened out as Zimbabwe began to find their place on the pitch. Alexi Terreblanche was proving a stabilising force in midfield and some good running attacks were mounted on the back of her performance. Unfortunately for the African team, the forwards were not able to find a way into their opponent’s circle.
During the half-time team talks, both Head Coaches asked their players to reduce the amount of turnovers and to be more efficient int he circle.
Certainly Zimbabwe started in sparkling fashion. Within seconds they had broken through the Austrian defence and had their first meaningful shot. There was no score but it certainly signalled a higher level of intent.
As the game continued with no goals being scored, frustration began to creep into both team’s performance. Austria’s Fiona Felber went on a mazy run that earns her team a penalty corner, but once again Mathieson was able to watch the ball fly wide.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 54th minute when Katharina Bauer pounced on a ball that had bobbled off a Zimbabwe stick. She took the ball wide on her reverse, which gave her space to fire home and give her side an all important goal.
Once they had the goal, Austria showed their ability to manage a game well as they kept Zimbabwe’s desperate measures to equalise at bay.
Player of the Match Katharina Bauer said: ‘I am just extremely happy that we won as a team. We just needed to score a goal. I cannot express much more.’
Austria’s Head Coach Corinna Zerbs said: ‘It is unbelievable what this young team has achieved so far. Particularly given that we had no real preparation. We have improved from game to game. Zimbabwe defended very well but we are delighted that we scored that goal.’
Zimbabwe’s Head Coach Tendayi Maredzawas magnanimous in defeat: ‘It was a tough one but we fought hard. There had to be a winner and Austria took their chance. We could have stolen it in the second half but to do that we have to take our chances.’
Austria will now play Ireland in the 9-10th place match, while Zimbabwe will play Malaysia for 11-12th.
Ireland 2-1 Malaysia (9-12th place) – Potchefstroom, North West University (RSA)
This match started at a quick pace, with both sides showing full intent. Malaysia won an early penalty corner but Ireland’s swift count attack saw Christina Hamill race the length of the pitch before being dispossessed in the Malaysian circle.
Ireland then won their own series of penalty corner opportunities, but like their Asian opponents, the players in green were unable to convert.
That changed in the 13th minute when yet another speedy Irish counter attack saw Yasmin Pratt race into the Malaysia circle and slip the ball to Rachel Kelly who was on hand to strike the ball home to give Ireland a 1-0 lead.
In the second quarter Ireland continued to press forward but found the Malaysian defence, led by Abang Dayang, was resolute in the face of the pressure.
A great bit of improvised goalkeeping by Malaysia’s Mashitah Ab just pushed the ball out of Siofra O’Brien’s reach after the ‘keeper had missed the initial save. The desperate action was crucial in preventing Ireland extending their lead.
A tricky, speedy run by Ireland’s Yasmin Pratt created yet another opportunity for Ireland but, if truth be told, for all the running between the circles, the decision-making and finishing of both sides left a lot to be desired and was the reason the score remained at just 1-0 in favour of the Irish at half time.
Both teams came out for the second half knowing that 30 minutes stood between them and a ninth place finish. Ireland had the advantage of a 1-0 lead but knew Malaysia were always capable of turning this around.
A spate of injuries to Malaysia seemed to galvanise the Asian team as they used guile and unconventional passing to create unease in the Irish defence. A searching run by Siti Husain led to a Malaysian penalty corner. The variation on the penalty corner was excellent but Ellie Mcloughlin in the Irish goal read the situation and cleared well.
Malaysia continued to remind Ireland that they held a very slender lead as they put pressure on with a series of incursions into the Irish circle.
And that truth came home in the first moments of the fourth quarter when Nuramirah Zulkifli received the ball in space and slammed it home to bring her team right back into the match.
With six minutes left in the match, both teams raised the tempo, although at times the quality fell as a result. Turnovers and poor decisions meant that play bounced from end to end but with no result. Ireland in particular will be dismayed at the fact they had 40 circle penetrations in the match with only two goals.
The game ended in high drama when a clever variation on a penalty corner in the dying seconds of the game gave the Junior Green Army the goal they needed to see them through to the 9-10th place encounter with fellow debutants Austria.
Player of the Match Yasmin Pratt (IRL) said: ‘Malaysia put us under severe pressure but we left our hearts out there today. It was one of the player’s birthday today, so there was an extra incentive to do well. We have worked so hard to be here and we are delighted to be in the 9-10th play-off.’
Ireland’s Head Coach Dave Passmore added: ‘We made hard work of that when we didn’t take early chances. We play well at the beginning of the second half but then we lost structure and shape and made mistakes. We rallied after Malaysia scored. I am really pleased for Yasmin, I sometimes give her a hard time in training but she worked incredibly hard and deserved the award.’
Malaysia’s Head Coach Nasihin Ibrahim said: ’I want to congratulate the Irish. We gave them a good fight and I am very proud of my players. They were under a a lot of pressure and they will learn from that.’
In their final match, Ireland will play Austria for ninth place, while Malaysia will be up against Zimbabwe in the battle for eleventh position.
The action continues on Sunday 9 April, at North West University. Fourth to eighth places are up for grabs in the opening two matches. In the first game, Pan Am rivals USA will be up against Argentina, with host nation South Africa playing Korea. The first semi-final will see Netherlands taking on India, with England versus Germany wrapping up the day’s action.
From 1–12 April, the Watch.Hockey app will be live streaming all matches, everywhere in the world.
FIH Hockey Women’s Junior World Cup South Africa 2021 – 9 April 2022
Potchefstroom, North West University (RSA)
Result: Match 29
Canada 1-4 Uruguay
Player of the Match: Elisa Civetta (URU)
Umpires: Lisette Baljon (NED ), Ivona Makar (CRO), Sophie Bockelmann (GER - reserve)
Result: Match 30
Zimbabwe 0, Austria 1
Player of the Match: Katharina Bauer (AUT)
Umpires: Ines El Hajem (FRA), Alison Keogh (IRL), Gema Calderon (ESP - reserve)
Result: Match 31
Ireland 2, Malaysia 1
Player of the Match: Yasmin Pratt (IRL)
Umpires: Ilaria Amorosino (ITA), Celine Martin-Schmets (BEL), Ivona Makar (CRO - reserve)
To see the complete match schedule, please click here.