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Hockey: Korea, China edged into lower-tier places at World League Final

Korea took the lead against hosts Argentina in the last quarter-final of the FIH World League Final, but lost 3-1 to join China in the 5th-8th playoffs. Photos: Photos: FIH / Frank-Uijlenbroek.

Korea (in red) took the lead against hosts Argentina in the last quarter-final of the FIH World League Final, but lost 3-1 and will join China in the 5th-8th playoffs on Saturday. Photos: FIH / Frank-Uijlenbroek.

December 6, 2013: China and Korea will both contest the fifth to eighth places at the inaugural women’s FIH World League Final after losing their quarter-final contests in Argentina.

 

China narrowly lost 1-0 to World No. 3 England in a hard-fought contest in the northern city of San Miguel de Tucuman while Korea took a second-half lead against hosts Argentina before losing 3-1 in Thursday’s last match.

 

In earlier encounters, the Netherlands edged New Zealand 1-0 and will face Argentina in the main semi-finals, while Australia prevailed in a penalty shootout against Germany following a 1-1 draw in regulation and will tackle old rivals England on Saturday. Korea will face New Zealand in first minor semi-final on Saturday, before China play Germany.

 

China put up a good fight against England but lost to a second-half penalty stroke from Georgie Twigg, which ended 46 minutes of intense resistance by the 2008 Olympic runners-up.

 

England striker Alex Danson – playing in her 200th international – had a couple of efforts blocked in the first half, while youngster Lily Owsley also had a decent chance, but fired over the crossbar following excellent play from Nic White.

 

The English pressure continued in the early stages of the second half, with captain Kate Richardson-Walsh encouraging her troops to press high. A driving run from Danson earned England a 40th-minute penalty corner, but Richardson-Walsh’s goal-bound drag-flick was touched around the post by a Chinese stick.

 

The opener arrived when Susie Gilbert – competing in her 100th international – earned a penalty stroke after her goal-bound shot hit the body of a China player on the goalline.

 

Wang Mengyu saved Twigg’s weak first effort, but the umpire spotted an infringement from the keeper and order the stroke to be re-taken. Twigg made no mistake with her second attempt, sending a low effort past Wang’s right foot to put England ahead.

 

China’s best chance of the game came with less than three minutes remaining when a defensive error gifted possession to Yan Yan, who raced into the circle and slipped a pass to the waiting Liang Meiyu, whose control let her down at the crucial time.

 

Argentina made a lively start against Korea, with Delfina Merino going close before a dazzling solo effort from Leonas legend Luciana Aymar brushed the side netting.

 

Korea also came close through Cheon Seul-ki, who fired high and wide from a penalty corner before Argentina keeper Belen Succi delighted the 6,000-strong crowd with a terrific save from Kim Jong-eun’s angled strike.

 

Argentina went close to scoring early in the second half when Carla Rebecchi scuffed an effort towards goal, but it was Korea who grabbed the opener in the 46th minute through to a glorious close-range deflection from star striker Park Mi-hyun.

 

The goal brought a deafening silence to the stadium, but that all changed in the 51st minute when Aymar’s brilliant pass picked out Rebecchi who made no mistake with a lofted finish. The goal gave an added spark to the Leonas attacking play, with Aymar continuing to show exactly why she has been named FIH Player of the Year on seven different occasions with a number of breathtaking solo runs.

 

A second goal for Argentina seemed inevitable and duly came when Noel Barrionuevo clinically dispatched a penalty stroke in the 58th minute. Korea rallied hard in the final stages and almost pulled a goal back when Kim Jong-eun rattled the side of the goal, but Argentina put the game to bed when Rebecchi touched into an open goal in the dying seconds.

 

Before the game, three players were recognised for reaching significant markers in their playing careers. Korea’s Park Ki-ju was honoured on the occasion of her 100th senior international, with Ana Macarena Rodrequez Perez and Mariella Scarone both making their 150th appearances for Argentina.

 

Source: FIH

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