Emotions ran high on the second day of action at the FIH Hockey Women's World Cup. Head Coach to Chile, Sergio Vigil fought back tears as his team lined up for their first ever World Cup appearance; Eva de Goede was visibly moved as her dream of a fourth World Cup came true, despite months away from the game through injury.
On the pitch there was also no lack of drama and emotion. New Zealand returned to international action with a solid draw against China. Olivia Merry was on the scoresheet, demonstrating that she has lost none of her fire power that we saw in previous pre-Covid years. The second match saw Chile make their debut on the World Cup stage. Although the Diablas lost to Die Danas, they won a lot of fans – both for their pacy play and for the passion shown by the team and their animated Head Coach. The next match saw a masterclass in penalty corner striking from Agustina Gorzelany as Argentina broke down a resilient Korea defence to start their campaign in some style.
Reigning champions Netherlands got off to a cracking start as they put paid to gallant Ireland, two of the goals scored by Frederique Matla from penalty strokes. The final match of the day saw the re-emergence of Australia and Japan, both of whom have not figured much on the international stage in recent months. It took until the 56th minute for a breakthrough to come as Australia finally made goalmouth pressure count.
New Zealand vs China
The first quarter saw these two teams testing each other out but with no goal scored in that period of play. China came the closest when Zheng Jiali was in a perfect position to shoot after a good piece of swift passing had created space. She hit the ball as she was falling off balance and the shot flew harmlessly high.
For New Zealand, this was the first taste of international action – with the exception of matches against Oceania neighbours Australia – since the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, so it was understandable that the team began tentatively.
The second half saw the Black Sticks take the lead through Rose Tynan. In just her fourth senior match, Tynan showed skill and composure to receive the ball, turn and transfer the ball to her reverse and then fire past Liu Ping in the China goal.
At half-time China Head Coach Alyson Annan called for her team to win penalty corners. The team answered and three minutes into the second half, Zhang Ying sent a hard shot low into the New Zealand goal past Grace O'Hanlon. The ball took a deflection on the way, meaning the keeper was caught off-guard.
China added to the scoreline through a second penalty corner. This time it was Gu Bingfeng who sent the shot into the same area. Her shot was hard, accurate and just high enough to evade O'Hanlon's outstretched foot.
The momentum swung back and forth between the two teams but it was New Zealand who scored the all-important equalising goal in the 48th minute. Olivia Merry continued to show why she is a feared striker as she sent a penalty corner flying into the China goal.
The scores remained at 2-2 for the rest of the match, despite some close calls for both teams.
Player of the Match Hope Ralph (NZL) said she and her teammates were delighted to be at the World Cup and glad to get a point on the board and a game under their belt.
Germany vs Chile
Just how much this match meant to World Cup debutants Chile were obvious from the tears rolling down the face of Head Coach Sergio Vigil as the national anthem was being sung.
However, it was Germany who got off to the perfect start. A rocket of a reverse stick shot from Pauline Heinz gave Germany a 1-0 lead against World Cup debutants Chile in the first half.
The South American side got off to a bright start putting the German defence under pressure. However, Germany gradually worked their way into the game and when Heinz pulled the trigger it was a reward for some good pressure on the Chile circle.
Germany doubled their lead in the 22nd minute when four swift passes moved the ball from their defensive circle to the back of Claudia Schuler's net. Charlotte Stapenhorst was the scorer, coolly netting the ball but the passes – particularly the pass to Stapenhorst from Pia Maertens – that led to the moment were equally sublime.
Chile struck back in the 27th minute when Las Diablas won two consecutive penalty corners. Denise Losada-Krimerman made no mistake as she rattled the German backboard with a well-struck shot.
The third quarter saw Germany really pile on the pressure as they sought to re-establish a two goal cushion. Dogged defence by Chile kept the higher ranked team at bay until the 44th minute when Germany employed a clever routine at a penalty corner to score their third goal. Anne Schroeder scored after Nike Lorenz had disguised the pass as she slipped the ball back to Schroeder, who had injected the ball.
A counter-attack of the highest quality saw Germany extend their lead to 4-1. Chile had won a hard-earned penalty corner which had been broken down by the fast German defence. The ball was quickly transferred up the pitch and Player of the Match Charlotte Stapenhorst was on hand to slot it home.
Speaking after the game, Charlotte Stapenhorst said: 'Chile had a really really good start. We didn't know what to expect of them so we took a look at them in the first quarter. We had some things to change after half time. We had some constructive comments and made some changes and they were really effective.'
Argentina vs Korea
Argentina got off to the best of starts when Agustina Gorzelany rifled home a penalty corner in the second minute. After that start, Argentina may have expected to race ahead but, despite the domination enjoyed by Las Leonas, Korea's tight marking kept the score at a narrow 1-0.
In the second quarter, Belen Succi was called into action several times as Korea began to create some space and put together some attacking moves. Cheon Eunbi was looking dangerous in the Argentina circle but her attempt was smothered by an ever-alert Succi.
Despite Korea's increased attacking momentum in the second quarter, it was Argentina who found the goal for a second time. Gorzelany was again able to show her immense ability from penalty corner routines as she sent the ball with pinpont accuracy and plenty of power high into the Korea goal. Two minutes later and Victoria Granatto was able to tip in the ball for a third goal. The initial penalty corner was saved and then Maria Granatto sent the ball goalwards and her sister got the final touch.
In the third quarter Korea again set up a resilient defence but without really troubling the Argentina defence to any real extent. In an almost mirror reflection of the previous quarter, Argentina made pressure count in the final minutes of the quarter. A penalty corner rebounded to Julieta Jankunas, who niftily lifted it past Lee Jinmin in the Korea goal.
The fourth quarter was about damage limitation for Korea. Lee pulled off a magnificent save from a dangerous shot from Jankunas and her colleagues were equally determined not to let any further goals in.
The Player of the Match was Argentina's dynamic midfielder Maria Granatto. She said the team were feeling happy and confident at the moment. Korea's captain Seo Jungeon said her team had been nervous ahead of this match but, on the whole, they were happy with their performance.
Netherlands vs Ireland
There were tears for Eva de Goede at the start of the match between Netherlands and Ireland, with the midfielder overwhelmed at being back for a home World Cup after being out of the game for so long with an ACL injury. It was a rematch of the 2018 World Cup final and, like that match, Netherlands dominated possession from the get-go but, by the end of the first quarter it was still goalless.
The breakthrough came early in the second quarter. A foul on Maria Verschoor led to a penalty stroke, which Frederique Matla had no hesitation in dispatching past Ayeisha McFerran in the Ireland goal. At the end of the quarter Eva de Goede came close to doubling the lead when a clever penalty corner routine left the midfielder with a chance to shoot. Her shot flew over the goal.
To the delight of the home spectators in the Wagener Stadium, Netherlands doubled their lead in the 35th minute when Yibbi Jansen scored from a penalty corner with a powerful drag flick that flew between McFerran and the post player. The Dutch celebrated but two minutes later Ireland stunned their oponents and the crowd when they scored from their own penalty corner. Roisin Upton getting the final touch that sent the ball past Anne Veenendaal in the Netherlands' goal.
The tempo increased as Oranje tried to recover their two goal buffer and the stadium erupted when Sabine Plonissen scored her first senior goal - another beautifully taken penalty corner drag flick. Netherlands fourth goal was scored again by Frederique Matla from a penalty stroke. Lidewij Welten intercepted the ball and slipped it to Felice Albers. Albers ran at the goal and McFerran had little option than to bring the player down. Welten's penalty stroke was precisely placed in the corner of the goal.
In the fourth quarter the Dutch extended their lead to 5-1 when Maria Verschoor showed her skill and agility to dance past the defence and slot the ball into the goal. There was plenty more for the Irish defence to do in the remaining minutes of the game but no further goals.
Player of the Match Sabina Plonissen (NED) said: 'We had a great start and we are happy to begin the tournament. We have trained hard so we were glad to win. We thought at half time that we needed to increase the tempo and put more pressure on Ireland. We did that and the goals came. I have never played in front of a crowd like that.'
Australia vs Japan
Japan started the first quarter very strongly and won a series of penalty corners against their higher ranked opponents. Towards the final five minutes momentum shifted completely and it was Australia who were peppering the Japanese goal with penalty corner attempts. Despite all the circle activity, it remained goalless after 15 minutes.
Australia started the second quarter in much the same vein as they finished the first, winning penalty corners but then finding no way past a very strong Japanese defence.
As the match continued, it looked more and more likely that the match was going to be the first goalless draw of the competition. Both teams were defending like demons and hoping to strike on the counter attack, but this approach led to stalemate with neither team able to find a breakthrough.
With penalty corner attempts getting into double figures for the Hockeyroos, it is obvious what Head Coach Katrina Powell will be looking to improve before Australia take to the field again.
The breakthrough finally came in the 56th minute when Mariah Williams pounced on the ball after a confused melee in the Japanese circle saw Mai Toriyama caught in posession just a metre from her own goal. Williams got the final touch and her team mates erupted into relieved celebrations. Japan's Head Coach Jude Menezes instantly pulled his goalkeeper Eike Nakamura and Japan tried to make the most of an outfield player advantage.
The game was put beyond all doubt with just one minute left. Rosie Malone was fed the ball by Williams and with a deft touch she steered the ball into an empty Japanese goal.
Player of the Match, Mariah Williams (AUS) said: 'It was a good fight from the girls. we dug deep and worked hard. We knew if we stuck to our processes, we could get the win.'
The action in the FIH Hockey Women's World Cup continues on Sunday 3 July. At the Estadi Olympic de Terrassa, Belgium and South Africa open their Pool D campaigns at 15:00. At 16:30, Pool B resumes as India and England face each other in the Wagener Stadium in Amstelveen. Back in Spain at 18:00 Korea and Canada are in action, while at 19:30 Germany face Netherlands in the Wagener Stadium.
The final match of the day sees Spain facing the challenge of Argentina in the Estadi Olimpic de Terrassa. This match begins at 21:30.
All match times are CEST.
Check out the pool standings here.
Pool A: Netherlands, Germany, Ireland, Chile
Pool B: England, New Zealand, India, China
Pool C: Argentina, Spain, Korea, Canada
Pool D: Australia, Belgium, Japan, South Africa
FIH Hockey Women's World Cup Spain & Netherlands 2022
2 July 2022 Results
Estadi Olimpic de Terrassa, Spain
New Zealand 2, China 2
Player of the Match: Hope Ralph (NZL)
Umpires: Laurine Delforge (BEL), Wanri Venter (RSA), Maggie Giddens (USA - video)
Wagener Stadium, Netherlands
Germany 4, Chile 1
Player of the Match: Charlotte Stapenhorst (GER)
Umpires: Ivona Makar (CRO), Emi Yamada (JPN), Annelize Rostron (RSA - Video)
Estadi Olimpic de Terrassa, Spain
Argentina 4, Korea 0
Player of the Match: Maria Granatto (ARG)
Umpires: Michelle Meister (GER), Alison Keogh (IRL), Hannah Harrison (ENG - video)
Wagener Stadium, Netherlands
Netherlands 5, Ireland 1
Player of the Match: Sabine Plonissen (NED)
Umpires: Maggie Giddens (USA), Kang Hyun Young KOR), Laurine Delforge (BEL - video)
Estadi Olimpic de Terrassa, Spain
Australia 2, Japan 0
Player of the Match: Mariah Williams (AUS)
Umpires: Cookie Tan (SGP), Kelly Hudson (NZL) Sarah Wilson (SCO - video)