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Hockey: China beaten by Black Sticks to finish sixth in World League Final

China (in red) lost 1-0 to New Zealand in the fifth place playoff in the inaugural FIH Hockey World League Final in Argentina. Photos: Photos: FIH / Frank Uijlenbroek.

China (in red) lost 1-0 to New Zealand in the fifth place playoff in the inaugural FIH Hockey World League Final in Argentina, which concluded a multi-round competition that started in August 2012. Photos: Photos: FIH / Frank Uijlenbroek.

December 9, 2013: China, the 2008 Olympic runners-up, were beaten 1-0 by New Zealand in the fifth-place playoff at the inaugural women’s FIH World League Final, held in San Miguel de Tucuman in northern Argentina.

 

New Zealand captain Kayla Sharland, an FIH Player of the Year nominee, scored the only goal of the game against a young China side, whose 18-strong squad featured 10 players aged 21 or younger.

 

Korea, Asia’s other representatives in the eight-team tournament, earlier lost 7-4 to European champions Germany in the seventh-place playoff.

 

Netherlands lifted the trophy after a stunning 5-1 win over Australia in Sunday evening’s final, while earlier there was disappointment for the most of the 6,000 fans packed into the stadium as Argentina lost to England in a penalty shootout in the bronze-medal match, following a 1-1 draw in regulation time.

 

It was the first time Argentina – currently the world’s top-ranked team – have failed to medal in a world-level event since the 2006 Champions Trophy.

 

China had beaten New Zealand 2-0 in the pool stage and on Sunday searing temperatures brought the FIH warm weather protocol into action, meaning the teams had a two-minute drinks break midway through each half.

 

China (in red) showed promise with a young squad that featured 10 players aged 21 or under.

China (in red) showed promise with a young squad that featured 10 players aged 21 or under.

The Black Sticks, the world’s fourth-ranked team, were the better side over the 70 minutes, but struggled to find a way through a disciplined Chinese defence.

 

Sharland, making her 200th senior international appearance, came close either side of half time, but her tomahawk strikes both went wide of the target. Black Sticks keeper Sally Rutherford then made a fine glove save from 21-year-old Wang Mengyu’s penalty corner.

 

Sharland eventually got on the score-sheet in the 56th minute, the captain cracking home a stunning low backhand strike from the top of the circle for the game’s only goal.

 

Korea, runners-up to Japan in September’s Asia Cup, had drawn 2-2 with Germany in the pool stage and played their part in an entertaining seventh-place playoff that featured nine goals in a crowd-pleasing second half.

 

Eileen Hoffman opened the scoring before Cheon Seul-ki equalised three minutes later as the first half finished at 1-1.

 

Hannah Kruger and Charlotte Stapenhorst gave Germany a 3-1 lead early in the second half, but Korea restored parity thanks to a brilliant tomahawk effort from 22-year-old Park Seung-a and a second for the 24-year-old Cheon.

 

Goals from Kruger and An Hyo-ju made it 4-4 before a late rally saw Germany power to victory, as Marie Mavers scored twice before Julia Muller netted the side’s sixth goal of the half to complete the scoring.

 

Netherlands, Olympic champions in 2008 and 2012, won the trophy with a 5-1 win over Australia.

Netherlands, Olympic champions in 2008 and 2012, won the FIH World League Final with a 5-1 win over Australia.

Source: FIH

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