Hockeyroos 3 Argentina 2 (extra time) (1-0 half time)
Four Nations Tournament final
Goals Aus Ashleigh Nelson 8 minute FG, Arg Delfina Merino 46m FG, Arg Carla Rebecchi 58m PC, Aus Schulz 70m PC/ 71m PC
The Hockeyroos have proven they are on the right track to rebuilding ahead of the London Olympics, defeating world champions Argentina this morning in the final of the 4 Nations tournament in Mendoza, Argentina.
In dramatic circumstances, the win comes after the Hockeyroos scored with only one minute remaining before full time to level the match and force it to extra time.From there the Hockeyroos, from Jodie Schulz who also scored the goal to level the match, scored again within the first minute of extra time to seal the victory.In what was the first tournament for the Hockeyroos under new coach Adam Commens and the first since a dramatic change to the squad which saw seven new players make their way into the team, the turn around has been quite dramatic in such a small period of time.
After drawing 1-1 with Argentina yesterday in the last round match of the tournament, the Hockeyroos, who entered this tournament with six players having never played international hockey, took to the pitch confident that they could match it with the world’s number one ranked team.
The match picked off where yesterday’s finished, with both teams playing at full pace and looking to create chances from turn overs.
The Hockeyroos got off to a dream start, with the always dangerous Ashleigh Nelson opening the scoring for the Hockeyroos thanks to some smart play to Casey Eastham to give them a one goal lead within the first ten minutes.
Argentina were desperate to find an equaliser as soon as possible, but as has been the case for the majority of the tournament the Hockeyroos defence proved to be up to the challenge, with goalkeeper Rachael Lynch getting good support from the likes of key player Kobie McGurk and others.
Despite Argentina having three penalty corner attempts in the first half they were unable to convert, giving the Hockeyroos a 1-0 lead at half time and the belief that they could hang on for the win.
The Hockeyroos almost doubled their score early in the second half when Marnie Hudson, who played her best game to date for the Hockeyroos found some space on the right of the circle. However the shot was offline and the score remained 1-0.
It appeared that Argentina had leveled the game only a minute later when they converted a penalty corner, but the goal was disallowed by the umpires much to the delight of the Hockeyroos.
As the second half continued the momentum slightly shifted towards Argentina, and an equalising goal seemed inevitable despite the best efforts of the Hockeyroos.
This came from a penalty corner at the 46 minute mark when after the first shot was saved by Lynch, Delfina Merino swooped on the rebound and tied the game.
With 20 minutes to go the game showed no signs of slowing down, with the Hockeyroos more than holding their own against Argentina and looking dangerous in the circle, an aspect of their game which has been lacking in recent time.
However it was Argentina who took advantage, scoring their second goal with only 12 minutes remaining to take a 2-1 lead.
Playing like they had nothing to loss, the Hockeyroos stepped up their pressure, pressing hard against Argentina in the hopes to cause a turn over.
All appeared lost until the Hockeyroos were awarded a penalty corner in the last minute of the match, which was converted by new comer Jodie Schulz, forcing the game into extra period.
With the momentum now in favour of the Hockeyroos they wasted no time in the golden goal period, with Schulz again scoring from a penalty corner within the first minute to give the Hockeyroos the win and instill a great deal of confidence in the team going forward.
Coach Adam Commens said he has been pleased with the teams performances but there was still room for long term improvement. “It is a very pleasing result. I thought we played very well in the first half and then obviously during the second half things became more difficult physically for both teams playing in the heat. But in the end it was a good character building win to come from a goal down late in the match and win it.”“I think they are performing as well as they can at the moment. The potential is there for the long term and we aren’t quite there yet. There are still a few things we need to work on. We will continue to refine things and come up with the best solutions in each of the lines,” said Commens.
The only negative for the Hockeyroos is the injuries suffered throughout the match, with Anna Flanagan suffering a broken finger, Georgia Nanscawen a small tear in the her quadriceps and Ashleigh Nelson having a badly corked thigh.
The Hockeyroos will do it all again this week when they travel to Rosario in Argentina to face Argentina, Germany and the USA in another 4 Nations tournament.Source: Hockey Australia