Yesterday was the 5th Day of the Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014 in The Hague, Netherlands and the opening game saw Australia edge Belgium in a scrappy 3-2 affair. Anna Flanagan scored her fifth of the tournament on a penalty corner to now lead all women’s scorers.
WOMEN Pool A: Belgium v Australia 2-3 (1-1)
Australia made hard work of their 3-2 win over 12th-ranked Belgium in a game that was distinctly lacking in quality from both sides. The Hockeyroos maintain their unbeaten run in this tournament, but with two goals from 14 penalty corners, coach Adam Commens will be concerned that his team are lacking their usual firepower and, more importantly, conceding goals at the other end.
This is the third match that Australia have won 3-2, and tournament top-scorer Anna Flanagan joked as she said: “Why make it convincing, it is far more exciting this way.” The drag-flick specialist added that the team has scored nine goals which is three more than their entire Olympic campaign, so they weren’t unduly worried.
WOMEN Pool A: Korea v Japan 1-1 (1-0)
The re-match of the Asia Cup final ended with the scores locked together as Asian champions Japan claimed their first point of the tournament with a deserved 1-1 draw against Korea. Goals either side of half time from Korea captain Kim Jongeun and Cherry Blossoms’ Shihori Oikawa ensured that the honours were even in the Pool A contest.
WOMEN Pool A: New Zealand v Netherlands 0-2 (0-2)
The Netherlands continued their triumphant domination of pool A with a 2-0 victory over a brave, committed New Zealand side who, despite defending heroically, could not create more than a handful of scoring opportunities. While not the scoreline that the opening few minutes threatened to deliver, this was a game that the women in orange were in control of and opposing teams will have struggled to identify too many chinks in Max Caldas’ side.
On the men’s side game one saw England grind out a 2-0 win, their first of the tournament, against the Malaysia Speedy Tigers. Australia earned their third-straight win, 3-1, over Belgium to take the top of the Pool.
MEN Pool A: Malaysia v England 0-2 (0-1)
As the rain poured down, England men ground out a 2-0 win over Malaysia, but the Speedy Tigers can thank their ‘keeper Kumar Subramaim that the scoreline remained so close. By contrast, England will look back on the number of wasted opportunities with some concern. Fourth-ranked England opened their scoring in the fourth minute of the game through a goal from Mark Gleghorne, but despite having far greater possession for a large percentage of the game, Barry Middleton and his men could not take further advantage until the 66th minute when Ashley Jackson put the game out of reach.
MEN Pool A: Belgium v Australia 1-3 (0-2)
An intriguing match between the world number one team and the up and coming Red Lions of Belgium saw the reigning World Cup holders emerge with a 3-1 win, but only after a fine performance by the Kookaburra’s ‘keeper Andrew Charter and his back line kept Tom Boon and his medal-hungry teammates at bay.
MEN Pool A: India v Spain 1-1 (1-1)
Pool A rivals India and Spain played out a hugely entertaining but ultimately frustrating 1-1 draw at the GreenFields Stadium. The result was one that neither team wanted, leaving them well adrift of the teams fighting it out for the top positions in the Pool. Both goals came in the first half, with Rupinder Singh netting a penalty stroke in the 28th minute before Roc Oliva netted a field goal six minutes later.
Seven minutes into the match, a timely interception from Spain captain Santi Freixa enabled Roc Oliva to break forward and win a penalty corner, but the Spaniards were thwarted by a fine save from brilliant India goalkeeper Sreejesh, who had yet another outstanding game.
Men’s Pool B action will continue today, 6 June, with New Zealand and Argentina squaring off first (13:00 CET), followed by Korea and South Africa (17:30 CET), as well as Netherlands and Germany (19:45 CET). For Schedules, scores, highlights and more visit www.rabobankhockeyworldcup2014.com.
Photograph: Kim Lammers celebrates her goal v New Zealand (FIH/Frank Uijlenbroek (c))