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England get a dream start on day one of the World Cup

Korea 2 China 1
England 3 Spain 2
Argentina 5 South Africa 2

England’s world cup got off to a flying start with an important win over Spain. Earlier in the day, the cup opener provided a bit of a surprise with Korea turning over China while a Luciana Aymar hat-trick sent the crowds home happy as Argentina overpowered South Africa the final match.

Korea 2 China 1
England 3 Spain 2
Argentina 5 South Africa 2

England’s world cup got off to a flying start with an important win over Spain. Earlier in the day, the cup opener provided a bit of a surprise with Korea turning over China while a Luciana Aymar hat-trick sent the crowds home happy as Argentina overpowered South Africa the final match.
England’s coach Danny Kerry said his side were “hugely fortunate” to win their cup opener. He was pleased with the execution of Christa Cullen’s corner (see the video) with the defending against the skilful Spanish around the circle and Charlotte Craddock’s run to set up England’s third, but for most of the game England were like “rabbits in the headlights”, he said.

Laura Unsworth hobbled off the pitch in the dying seconds after her leg hooked with a Spanish stick. Kerry said it was too early to tell what the impact of the injury would be. Her calf had gone into spasm, he said.
Spain opened the scoring with a straight-hit PC from Gloria Comerma in the second minute. Alex Danson equalised with a 15th minute field goal before Cullen completed the turnaround with her 29th minute penalty corner. Spain levelled as Carlota Petchame tipped in a cross from Anabel Flores in the 31st minute.
The final goal of the game came in the last seconds of the first half as Craddock dribbled into the left side of the circle and Susie Gilbert tidied up the scraps in front of goal.
“Our aim is to qualify for the semi-finals and to do that but we are going to have to play a lot better than we did today,” said Kerry.
The game was Danson’s 100th international, and her goal means she has scored in three consecutive world cups – 2002, 2006 and 2010.
The magic moment of the day came in the 37th minute of the Argentina South Africa game when local heroine Luciana Aymar broke into the left top of the circle and unleashed an unstoppable low shot. As the ball craked into the backboard, the crowd was silent in stunned worship, for just a moment, before erupting into adulation as ‘the magician’ dropped her stick and blew kisses to the cheering fans – brilliant. Aymar contributed two more towards the hosts’ five-goal tally. Las Leonas were just brilliant for as long as they needed to be to win well, then cruised the rest of the way. South Africa spoiled what was supposed to be a party by levelling the scored through a flashing PC dragflick from Pietie Coetzee in the 22nd minute, and the scores stayed level until half time, then Aymar’s hat-trick blew the visitors away. Vida Ryan scored South Africa’s second – reacting first to the whistle and taking a self-pass free hit into the circle and shooting high into the net.
The star of Korea’s win was forward Park Mi Hyun who set up her side’s first goal (scored by Kim Young Ran in the 23rd minute) and added the second herself in the 51st). China had only themselves to blame for an uninspired performance after taking the lead in the 11th minute through a Zhai Yudiao strike.

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