Jody Kenny has scored more than 50 goals for Australia including two at this World Cup. But none have been more important than the shootout finish that took the Hockeyroos to their first World Cup final since 2006.
The six-foot tall defender dragged the ball to the right of advancing US goalie Jackie Kintzer, checked, then moved right again to slip the ball past the diving keeper.
The 23-year-old’s cool finish followed a masterful goalkeeping display by the Hockeyroos’ Rachael Lynch who saved three of the USA’s shootout attempts, setting the scene for Schultz’s coup de grace.
“It was a very nerve-wracking experience,” Schultz told Jordi Pi Lletí immediately after the game. “All I could do was what I have done at training and what I have practised.
“I’m so impressed our goalie made those saves. It is just such a nerve-wracking experience but just so happy to we are in the finals.”
The USA, ranked only tenth in the world matched their higher-ranked opponents goal for goal in a pulsating semi-final that finished 2-2 after Kelsey Kolojejchick netted a 68th minute USA equaliser, her second goal of the match. Kellie White and Kenny’s fellow corner ace Anna Flanagan netted during normal time for the fourth-ranked Australians.
“They put it to to us,” said Kenny. “It was a just a tough game in general and just happy to come out the other end with a win.
“It is going to be a tough final. We are just going to put what we do well together and then go for that gold medal.”
The women’s final is at 3.15pm CEST on Saturday (2.15pm UK). Australia play Netherlands in that game after the hosts dispatched Argentina 4-0 in their semi.
USA play Argentina for bronze at 12.30pm CEST (11.30am UK).