Saturday, December 9, 2023

Four sides still alive in the ‘Pool of Death’ pool B

[img_assist|nid=4836|title=Opposite fortunes|desc=Germany’s 2-0 win over South Africa keeps them in medal contention. South Africa will be playing for the minor placings. South Africa’s Marsha Marescia is chased by Germany’s Jennifer Plass –|link=node|align=right|width=220|height=146]LONDON, August 2 – Pool B is shaping up as the closest in the London 2012 Olympic Games hockey tournament with four sides on six points after the conclusion of the third round of pool games.

Argentina’s 2-1 win over New Zealand puts them in top place on goal difference ahead of New Zealand, Australia and Germany. The USA, on three points can still make the semi-finals. But South Africa, without a point, will be playing for the minor rankings.

Great Britain top pool A on goal difference ahead of the Netherlands on nine points. GB maintained their 100 per cent record with a 3-0 win over Belgium. China (4 points) and Korea (three) have a theoretical chance of a top-two finish, but Belgium (1) and Japan (0) will not make the medal round. GB have China to play on Saturday, then the Netherlands on Monday.

The six-point logjam at the top of pool B began when Australia defeated the USA 1-0. The sides conspired to produce a close game with the Hockeyroos squandering many second-half chances and the USA having an early penalty stroke well saved by Toni Kronk. USA keeper Amy Swensen was also in fine form making a string of athletic saves.

The only goal came from a powerful, high left drag-flick corner by Anna Flanagan in the 33rd minute. The Hockeyroos semi-final chances are still alive – they face South Africa on Saturday and Argentina on Monday

Germany moved to six points after a 2-0 win over South Africa. Germany’s goals came from a Marie Maevers open play goal (25 minutes) and a Fanny Rinne corner (44 minutes). The German’s next game is against Argentina on Saturday.

Argentina continued their up-and-down tournament bouncing back from Tuesday’s 1-0 loss to the USA. Carla Rebecchi scored two open-play goals for las Leonas (3 mins & 45 mins). Charlotte Harrison pulled back an open-play goal for New Zealand in the 62nd minute. 

In pool A, Korea produced their only win of the tournament against point-less Japan in a match decided by 42nd minute corner from Cheon Seul Ki.

[img_assist|nid=4796|title=Frustration|desc=Maartje Paumen had an unsuccessful day on the corner drag flicks with the China chase team putting in a good shift|link=node|align=left|width=220|height=146]Netherlands continued on their merry way with a 1-0 win over China. The only goal was a powerful strike from a narrow angle by Maartje Goderie in the 10th minute. Although after a bright start the game deteriorated badly.

With Korea to play on Saturday, the Dutch may well have booked a semi-final place for pool A before they play Great Britian in the final round of pool games on Monday.

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