Las Leonas inflict cruel defeat on England

England's Susannah Townsend in action against Argentina at the Rabobank 2014 World Cup 450

England Head Coach Jason Lee said he was “very proud” of his team after he’d watched a much improved performance end in yet more disappointment and another defeat. England pushed world number two side Argentina all the way to the wire, but agonisingly conceded a goal from a penalty corner after the full-time hooter had sounded. Still without a point at the Rabobank World Cup England sit rooted to the bottom of Pool B.

ENGLAND 1 (1)
Alex Danson 7 (PC)

ARGENTINA 2 (1)
Delfina Merino 27 (FG)
Carla Rebecchi 70+ (PC)

The result means that Argentina have all but booked their place in the World Cup Semi-Finals alongside Pool B opponents the USA who had beaten Germany 4-1 earlier in the day - statistically China can still qualify, but they would need to thrash defending champions Argentina and hope that South Africa inflict a heavy defeat on the USA on Tuesday. Meanwhile host nation the Netherlands secured their place in the final four after a 2-0 victory over Australia last night.

Speaking after the game goal scorer Alex Danson said: “We’re devastated to lose it right at the end, but we’re proud of our performance. We gave everything we possibly could for one another and our country, and we fought and fought."

“[The World Cup has] been tough – it’s been like living a nightmare, but we are professional every day and we’ve given our best. We’re proud to play for our country, and when we step on the turf that’s all we think about, and we will regroup and get better. This is the toughest learning curve we’ll ever have but it’ll make us better and stronger, and we’ll come back fighting as a team.”

The first half saw England and Argentina share the spoils with a goal apiece. England’s Alex Danson scored her first goal of the tournament in the seventh minute as she reacted first to a loose ball from a penalty corner, sweeping it into an empty goal. The lead lasted until the 27th minute when good pressure from Argentina resulted in Delfina Merino getting the equaliser to take the sides into the break at 1-1.

England showed far more of what they are about in this match and had several chances in the second half to go ahead; Danson came close to getting a second and Lily Owsley and Susie Gilbert both caused problems for the Argentinean defence. The sides remained locked at 1-1 across the final half of play until the final minute when England conceded a penalty corner.

After a desperately disappointing week for the team it felt like there might be a cruel twist to the end of the game and sure enough there was. Noel Barrionuevo dragged the ball into the circle, which Kate Richardson-Walsh initially stopped - injuring her hand in the process - and as the rebound was fired back in there was nothing Maddie Hinch in England’s goal could do as Carla Rebecchi, waiting at the far post, pushed the ball home to give her side the victory.

Click here to find out squad and caps information and to see the other results at the tournament.

Speaking after the match Head Coach Jason Lee said, "The girls can be very proud of how they played today. At the start of this tournament we’d guessed this game against Argentina would be a tight one as we’d both be trying to head towards the semi finals. Of course it’s extremely disappointing that’s not the case, but it felt like there was more on the line today. The pride of the girls and in terms of who they are and the team they can be was also on the line. They’ve struggled to show it in this tournament but today they showed they are good hockey players and they can be a great team.”

“Some small things haven’t worked in our favour and our confidence has been bashed on a couple of occasions. It feels like we’re due a heap of luck. It’s unfortunate because we deserved more than a defeat today. We can go forwards to the next game and the game after that with more pride because we’ve shown that we can be a good side.”

On dealing with the disappointment: “There’s as much pressure when you’re down at the bottom as there can be at the top. We’ve still got a lot to lose in terms of pride and self-esteem. The girls need to have some pride about who they are. They will think they have to do better and there will be plenty of suggestions on how we can achieve that, but this team certainly has a future.”


England women’s final Pool B match is against Germany on Tuesday at 1500 (BST). England’s men play against Belgium in a must win game tomorrow at 1845 (BST). All matches will be shown live on Sky Sports with expert analysis from a host of international stars including Kwan Browne, Helen Richardson-Walsh and Chloe Rogers.

Watch England on home turf at the Investec London Cup on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. This is the first tournament to be held at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, hockey’s legacy stadium, and will be held across five days from 9th – 13th July. Click here for more information.