Great Britain fall to opening defeat against hosts

Susannah Townsend in action against Argentina 480x290

Great Britain 1 (1)
Lily Owsley 4 (FG)

Argentina 2 (1)
Maria Granatto 15 (PC)
Agustina Habif 41 (PC)

Great Britain slipped to a defeat in their opening World League Final match against hosts Argentina. Despite taking the lead through Lily Owsley’s fourth minute goal, penalty corner strikes from Maria Granatto and Agustina Habif ensured Las Leonas took the three points.

Argentina’s high press forced a penalty corner in the opening moments of the match but Carla Rebecchi’s shot hit the defender and was deemed dangerous, resulting in a free hit to Great Britain.

With four minutes gone Great Britain silenced the home crowd by taking the lead. Susannah Townsend showed a terrific turn of pace to get round the back on the right. She cut the ball back to Owsley who slotted home despite the attentions of the defender on the line. Argentina attacked immediately after falling behind but Ashleigh Ball was on the spot to clear the danger off the line to preserve the lead. The respite was short lived however as Argentina won a penalty corner right on the stroke of quarter time. This time Granatto deflected in Noel Barrionuevo’s pass to level it up.

At the start of the second quarter Great Britain failed to clear their lines and Granatto drew a strong block from Maddie Hinch. Argentina put Great Britain under immense pressure, getting into the circle a number of times and a series of last-ditch tackles were needed to keep it 1-1 at half time.

At the start of the second half Great Britain won a penalty corner after an excellent strong, driving run from Townsend. Laura Unsworth played the ball in looking for a deflection but Argentina cleared the danger. Jimena Cedres had a gilt-edged opportunity for the hosts when a loose ball fell to her inside the circle but she could not bring it under control and the chance went begging. Las Leonas were awarded a penalty corner and although Barrionuevo’s shot was well saved by Helen Richardson-Walsh on the line Agustina Habif followed in and reacted well to put away the rebound to give her side the lead. Moments later Argentina won another penalty corner. This time Rebecchi took the shot but Hinch made a good save to keep the ball out.

Great Britain fought hard to try and find an equaliser in the fourth quarter but Argentina defended well and the clear chance just would not come. At the other end Carla Dupuy flashed a snapshot over bar with three minutes remaining. Despite another strong break by Townsend, Danny Kerry’s side were unable to fashion a clear sight of goal and Argentina took the win.

Great Britain are next in action Sunday 6 December against China at 21:45 UK time, live on BT Sport.

Danny Kerry, Great Britain Head Coach:

“Overall I found it very frustrating; I would say I am profoundly disappointed. We were too nice. We were cheap with the ball. We need to be stronger."

Kate Richardson-Walsh, Great Britain Captain:

“It’s a great challenge to play against a side like Argentina and the crowd were as noisy as they always are. We didn’t play at our best and we’ll need to step up in the next game.

Argentina are a wise, experienced side. We had some chances but we need to be better at taking them next time.”