Women’s Hockey World Cup
Spain and the Netherlands 2022
Match Day 9
Monday 11 July
Japan 3 – 2 South Korea
Canada 1 (2) – (3) 1 India
What’s Happened Today
Japan 3 – 2 South Korea; Japan were unlucky to have finished bottom of their group, in the first round. South Korea had a good third quarter against England, in their crossover match yesterday, but were well beaten by five goals. Both teams wanted to salvage something in today’s classification match that doubled as an Asian derby. In the fifth minute, the Japanese made good work to move the ball into the circle from the right hand side and had a number of shots at the Korean goal, in quick succession. However, goalkeeper Jinmin Lee did excellently across the ground and made several good saves to keep the ball out of her goal. Shiho Kobayakawa opened the scoring with a well taken field goal in the 18th minute, but the Japanese were unable to maintain their lead. Three minutes later, South Korea scored direct from the top of the circle, with a short corner from Cheyoung Jung.
In a game bereft of creativity, Japan finally got ahead, by a nose, with a short corner goal finished off by Emi Nishikori towards the end of the third quarter. After the final interval, South Korea had a chance to equalise for a second time, as the ball was sent across the face of the Japanese goal and popped lose at the far post. Korean captain Eunbi Cheon looked certain to tap it home, but whilst stretching for the ball, somehow managed to stick it wide of the post. They found a second shortly afterwards. Cheyoung Jung got her brace after she finished another short corner. The game ended with a bit of drama. Japan should probably have done better with a chance in open play, with not long to go. They were, however, awarded a short corner. The Koreans wanted to refer the decision, but lost this right earlier in the match. The Japanese needed a few attempts, but just as the hooter went, they scored the winner with a deflected goal from the captain Hazuki Nagai. Japan will now compete for the ninth/tenth position playoff.
Canada 1 (2) – (3) 1 India; India started their classification match against Canada well. However, they couldn’t turn their initial dominance into a goal. The Canadians, made them pay, by winning a penalty corner at the other end before duly putting it away. Madeline Secco got the all important final touch in the tenth minute. The Indians are an ambitious team, who played a high press for most of the first half. They forced a few long balls from Canada, which often enough resulted in a turn over in possession. At the half time break the score remained the same, where Canada led by a one goal margin. India continued with their high press in the second half. They forced Canadian mistakes, won the ball back in attacking positions and even got a couple of short corners. Lalremsiani was ambitious in her attacking efforts, even nearly scoring on the hooter for three quarter time, but the Asians were unable to convert. The Indians kept coming forward, forcing set piece after set piece, to the point where I lost count of how many short corners they had. Finally, the equalised with a variation, which saw Salima Tete score with tap in at the post. The game ended in a one all draw, forcing the first penalty shootout of the tournament.
Canada went first with Amanda Woodcroft nutmegging Savita in the Indian goal to score. Salima saw her drive torward saved by Harris. Canada failed from a stroke, after a foul on the shuffle. Rowan Harris saved from Neha on the Indian second. Natalie Sourisseau bangs one home for the Canadians and gave her side a two nil lead. Navneet Kaur then got one back for India. The Canadians think that they score as the ball crossed the line, but the umpire didn’t think so. Sarah Wilson of Scotland denied the video referral, which meant they didn’t extend their lead. The Indians then equalise, through Sonika, to make a game of it. The Canadians then miss their firth. It falls on Lalremsiani to find a winner. She looked to spin Harris in the Canadian goal, but sent it wide of the post. This meant sudden death. The same five players from each team came forward, but in a different order.
India, who went second the first time around, would now go first. They promptly chuffed their sixth attempt, as did Amanda Woodcroft of Canada. Harris, in the Canadian goal, made a great save against Sonika. Natalie Sourisseau kicked it as she tried to spin Savita. This meant that the score was still two apiece after 14 attempts. Neha finally scored with an open stick flick into the near post. Savita then saved from Kathleen Leahy to win the game.
Canada’s first goal of the match was a well worked short corner. It was played squarely to the left by the trapper at the top of the circle, before being sent to the baseline. Kathleen Leahy picks it up used a bit of skill to create space for herself before sending it to tieback post. Here, Madeline Secco taps it in, over the line.
However, Japan’s opening goal came after a mistake from the South Koreans, allowing possession to be kept in an attacking position by the Asian champions. However, there was still bit of work to do. Shiho Kobayakawa picks the ball up, beats one Korean with some individual skill, skips past two oncoming full backs as she cuts inside, before tucking the ball away with a cute little finish. It was one of the few highlights in the first half of the first match. This was the goal of the day, for me.
The Canadians are a decent outfit, with a few players who can do a job. I’m a big fan of their captain Natalie Sourisseau, who acts as a playmaker for the side. Comparably speaking, she’s the equivalent of a Gigi Oliva at Spain, or a Laura Unsworth of England. Today, she got on the ball often and regularly, providing a mindset of ‘I want to go forward!’ Similarly, Sara McManus at full back for the North Americans looked solid in defence. She always seemed to be in the way of an Indian attack, which is the primary role of somebody in her position.
For India, Lalremsiami and Monika looked to provide plenty of forward momentum. Their enthusiasm to get forward was infectious to watch. I wanted to pick up my stick and put down my glass of wine. Both players were involved in chances for their team to score, forcing the Canadian defence backwards and moving their side forwards.
However, for the first time in this tournament, I’m going to give the Half Court Press ‘Star Player’ award to two separate players. Savita of India and Rowan Harris of Canada both deserve praise after their efforts during the penalty shuffle contest in their playoff match. Neither goalkeeper deserved to be on the losing side, in fact, I would put this down as Harris’s finest performance of her World Cup so far. The Indian captain was equally as good, helping her side advance to a better tournament grading, on her birthday, or fall days.
At the end of a hard fought penalty shootout, Savita was congratulated by her team, for her part in winning the match. It turns out that it’s her birthday today. Rather than the regular bumps and cheers for a team mate in such an occasion, the penalty hero of the team was sung a rendition of the Happy Birthday song by her grateful team mates. It was lovely to see such a legend of the game appreciated in such a way by her team mates.
You can keep up to date with the Women’s Hockey World Cup, by listening to the brand new Podcast, produced by the Hockey World News. It’s called the Hockey Pod, it is hosted by Jade Bloomfield. You can listen by clicking here. The Half Court Press has made an appearance, through Tao MacLeod acting as a guest on the show. If you also want to listen to the Half Court Press Podcast, then click here…