Day 5 results from the Investec World League

Italy v SA story image

South Africa 1 (0)
Pietie Coetzee, PC, 69

Italy 1 (1)
Giuliana Ruggieri, PS, 27

(Italy win on penalty shoot-out, 3-1)

Semi-final day of the Investec World League saw underdogs Italy beat South Africa in a close battle. As there was nothing to separate the teams after 70 minutes, the crowd were treated to an exciting shoot out to decide the winner; the first of the tournament.

Italy had the better of the play in the first half, creating more chances and keeping South Africa from making use of their possession. It came as no surprise that Italy took the lead in the 27th minute when Giuliana Ruggieri calmly tucked the ball into the bottom left corner during a penalty stroke, making the score 1-0 to Italy at half time.

The second half was a different tale as South Africa upped their game in order to score the equaliser. Pietie Coetzee was at the centre of the South Africa attacking play, and a series of penalty corners eventually brought just reward for their efforts. Coetzee’s goal in the final minute of the match brought the score to 1-1 and took the game to a tense shoot-out.

Italy’s goalkeeper, Martina Chirico, was on fine form, ensuring only Captain Marsha Cox was able to score from her four South African opponents. After Italy captain Chiara Tiddi and Dalila Mirabella scored their attempts at goal, it was fitting that previous goal scorer Ruggieri stepped up, yet again, to score the winning goal, making the shoot out score 3-1 to Italy and putting them through to the 5/6th place match tomorrow.

USA v Spain story image

United States 3 (1)
Paige Selenski, PC, 25
Katie Reinprecht, PC, 64
Rachel Dawson, FG, 67

Spain 1 (1)
Berta Bonastre Perema Teu, FG, 26

The United States swept aside Spain to run out 3-1 winners.  Goals from Paige Selenski , Katie Reinprecht and Rachel Dawson ensured that USA will face a showdown with Italy in the fourth/fifth place match on the final day of the Investec World League.  

Despite the majority share of possession from the team ranked 10th in the world, Spain created a host of early chances. Berta Bonastre Peremateu  and Lola Riera Zuzuarregui both testing USA goalkeeper Alesha Widdall.

USA, however, made the most of their possession and converted their first Penalty corner of the game; Selenski lashing a shot past Maria Lopez De Eguilaz Zubiria in the Spain goal. However, the Europeans struck back straight from the restart in open play. A through ball found Bonastre Peremateu, who pushed it beyond the reach of the USA goalkeeper and into the net to finish off the first-half scoring. 

The USA continued to apply the pressure early after the restart, but were unable able to break down a resilient Spanish defensive line.   But, with 7 minutes to go, USA found their opening. Reinprecht was on-hand to flick the ball in after a scramble within the circle. 

 The USA finished off the scoring with the best move of the game. Katie O’Donnell exploited the left wing and burst into the Spanish area, picked out a pass to Dawson, who rocketed the ball high into the net. Spain will now face South Africa on the last day of the tournament.  

Aus China 450

Australia 4 (1)
Ashleigh Nelson, FG, 29
Claire Messent, FG, 23
Georgie Parker, FG, 58
Emily Hurtz, FG, 63

China 1 (1)
Hongxia Li, FG, 28

Australia booked their place in the 2014 World Cup in the Netherlands and a place in the final of the Investec World League with a 4-1 victory over China. The Hockeyroos came from a goal behind to run out comfortable winners and set up a Final clash against either England or Argentina on Sunday. 

It took until the end of the first-half for the game to burst into life. China took advantage of some lackluster defending from Australia.  Pan Liu stole the ball in the middle of the park and played a through ball into the path of the tournament top goal scorer Hongxia Li, who fired it across goal and past Australian goalkeeper Rachael Lynch.  Nevertheless, Australia retaliated a minute later when Emily Hurtz burst in to the China circle to play it across goal and set up team mate Ashleigh Nelson for a simple tap-in,  1-1 at the end of the half. 

From the restart Australia applied the pressure, but couldn’t breach the China goal - Anna Flanagan and   Jodie Schulz both were denied by some superb goalkeeping by China shot -stopper Ji Li.  The breakthrough, however, came on the 51st minute. After a bombardment on the China goal, Claire Messent slipped the ball past Li to give Australia the lead. 

Moments later Georgie Parker, after getting on the end of a through ball, lifted the ball over  the rushing  keeper  and high into the net. 

With time running out, Australia pushed on and finished the scoring when Madonna Blyth maneuvered her way into the box to lay-off Emily Hurtz, who lashed the ball into the back of the net. 

China must wait until the last day of the tournament to see if they can secure their place in next year’s competition.