Italy justified their status as pre-tournament favourites by winning the Hockey World League Round 2 event in Montevideo courtesy of a 4-0 final victory over host nation Uruguay.
The Italians (FIH World Ranking: 17) produced a dominant display against the lower-ranked but hugely talented Uruguayans (WR: 31), with Giuliana Ruggieri, Marcela Casale Lhez, Agata Wybieralska and team captain Chiara Tiddi all finding the target in front of packed stadium.
Although it was without question a wonderful triumph for Italy, nothing will dampen the spirits of a Uruguay team that finished above four higher-ranked teams to join the European outfit in the HWL Semi-Finals, where coveted berths at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games are up for grabs.
Italian players took home two of the individual awards, with Chiara Tiddi being named Player of the Tournament while Giuliana Ruggieri finished as Tournament Top Scorer with seven goals. Eighteen year old Constanza Barrandeguy of Uruguay was named Young Player of the Tournament with Mexican shot-stopper Jesus Castillo taking the Goalkeeper of the Tournament award.
Azerbaijan (WR: 19) ended their tournament on a winning note by defeating Mexico (WR: 28) to claim a third place finish. Mexico took an early lead through Marlet Correa, but Azerbaijan hit five goals without reply with Anastasiya Tsyganska netting a hat-trick to help her team to a 5-2 victory.
Earlier in the day, France (WR: 24) took 5th place with a 6-1 victory against Trinidad & Tobago (WR: 29), while Dominican Republic (WR: 52) finished 7th thanks to a 2-1 triumph over higher-ranked Kenya (WR: 37).
Complete tournament information from Montevideo can be found on the official event website by clicking here.
Hockey World League Round 2 – Women – Montevideo, Uruguay.
1: Italy – Qualified for Semi-Finals of Hockey World League
2: Uruguay – Qualified for Semi-Finals of Hockey World League
6: Trinidad & Tobago
7: Dominican Republic
Player of the Tournament: Chiara Tiddi (ITA)
Top Scorer: Giuliana Ruggieri (ITA) – 7 goals
Young Player of the Tournament: Constanza Barrandeguy (URU)
Goalkeeper of the Tournament: Jesus Castillo (MEX)
Source material: FIH.CH
Photograph: Carla Cotelli (c)