England undone by Argentina in final pool game

Sophie Bray against Argentina CT 2014 450

Three goals in the last nine minutes saw England lose 4 – 1 to hosts Argentina at the Champions Trophy. England opened the scoring in the seventh minute through Sophie Bray, however, goals from Carla Rebecchi, Silvina D’Elia, Rosario Luchetti and Delfina Merino secured the victory for Las Leonas.

ENGLAND 1 (1)
Sophie Bray 7 (FG)

ARGENTINA 4 (1)
Carla Rebecchi 18 (PC)
Silvina D'Elia 51 (PC)
Rosario Luchetti 56 (FG)
Delfina Merino 58 (FG)

Speaking after game, captain Sam Quek commented: 
“We started well and were doing the right things. At the end it’s about concentration and the last five or 10 minutes showed that. We’re a young side though and we’ll have to learn from that in future.”

Head Coach Danny Kerry added: “We started well, but after taking the lead we did lose our shape and allowed Argentina to come back at us. I thought the final score line was harsh and we had some really good chances at the start of the final quarter when the score was still 1-1 to take the lead. But after going a goal down and then losing a player it was game over for us today against an experienced Argentina side who showed great consistency and executed their chances well.”

“I believe we have gained a lot from the tournament so far and it’s been a great learning curve for the less experienced players to compete at this level. We are starting to create genuine depth in the squad and this will stand us in good stead leading into the Olympic Qualifier [World League Semi Final] next summer.”

England started positively, forcing the Argentinean players deep into their own half and an explosive run from Susannah Townsend created the opening goal of the game. The Canterbury midfielder split the Argentinean defence and her through ball found an unmarked Sophie Bray in the circle. The England forward held her nerve, striking the ball low past Belen Succi.

Argentina began to up the tempo and equalised 11 minutes later. Luciana Aymar, at her 15th Champions Trophy tournament, skilfully slipped her way through England’s defence, forcing a penalty corner. An expertly converted drag flick from Rebecchi left Kirsty Mackay with no chance in the England goal. England continued to soak up pressure and the score remained at 1 – 1 heading into half time.

England created some strong chances at the start of the third quarter but were unable to convert. Townsend’s reverse stick cross was skilfully touched goal wards by Lily Owsley but Succi reacted quickly, saving low to her left.

It was a flurry of late goals from Argentina that sealed their win and a first place finish in Pool B. They went 2 – 1 up through D’Elia, when a well worked penalty corner routine deflected unfortunately off Hannah Macleod’s stick, over a diving Mackay. Moments later, a foul on Aymar from Townsend saw England reduced to 10 players and Argentina were able to capitalise on their player advantage. D'Elia the goal scorer turned provider, smashing the ball into the circle for Luchetti to expertly deflect past a helpless Mackay. Two minutes from time, D’Elia was on hand yet again, this time to fire the ball across the circle for an unmarked Merino to lift into the England net.
    
This result means that England finish fourth in their group and will now face the winners of Pool A in the Quarter Finals on Thursday 4th December at 21.00 GMT  (subject to change). Make sure you tune in on Sky Sports three or online using Now TV to support the team!

Don’t forget that you can also see the England internationals in London next summer at the EuroHockey 2015 Championships.  Book your tickets here!