Friday, August 19, 2022

Women’s Hockey World Cup: underdogs Chile produce big shock to beat Ireland

Amsterdam — Chile’s Devils didn’t put on a totally red hot performance but they had enough spice to produce this Women’s World Cup’s first shock result as the 2018 finalists ultimately failed to pounce on numerous corner routine opportunities in a tame, insipid 1-0 defeat.

Ireland’s women will now have to produce one of their greatest victories on Wednesday to avoid exiting the World Cup before the knock-out stages after their memorable run from four years back.

And for Chile? Well, they produced their own slice of history in winning a first ever World Cup match – and under an Argentinian coach, in Sergio Vigil, who revealed congratulatory text messages from friend Marcelo Bielsa, the former Leeds United coach.

Ireland simply wasted all 10 penalty corner chances, none of which failed to properly test the Chilean goalkeeper. Chile, who had three, took theirs with glee. Denise Losada, a 26-year-old trainee physio, rifled home in the 48th minute to spark wild scenes of jigs and joy at the final hooter.

It means that Sean Dancer’s side have to beat Germany. If they do so by three goals and Chile lose to world No 1 Holland, with goals landing in Ireland’s favour then the Green Army could finish second in the group. But Chile’s second victory in 10 previous matches against Ireland leaves the lowest ranked side on the cusp of reaching the cross-over matches before the quarter-finals.

Ireland were awarded six penalty corners in the first half, but captain Katie Mullan’s slap injections seemed to lack the necessary speed, while the routines at the top of the D lacked imagination.

‘We tried a few variations, should have got more from our rebounds and we were disappointed not to convert,’ admitted Mullan.

‘We had more opportunities but didn’t execute them but we have to have no regrets between now and the Germany game.’

Ireland will also have to eradicate a performance which lacked movement and cohesion, while gifting plenty of turnover ball to the Chileans. The underdogs edged closer in the third quarter and had a lion’s share of possession, while Francisca Tala struck just wide with her back to goal.

AMSTERDAM 2022 Women’s World Cup Spain & Netherlands 12 Ireland v Chile (Pool A) Picture: Chile squad sing the national anthem with their fans in the background WORLDSPORTPICS COPYRIGHT FRANK UIJLENBROEK

Chile’s star player Manuela Urroz, a 30-year-old lawyer, admitted that their team had looked to inflict defeat after being inspired by Ireland’s story from four years ago.

She said: ‘This was our greatest win. We knew we had a chance against Ireland to give ourselves a chance to make it to the next round.

‘Our coach Sergio gave us a really good talk before the game and said our DNA was about discipline and passion. Ireland have been in the Olympics and the World Cup but we knew we had something special.

‘Sergio’s inspiring and for me he is one of the best coaches in the world in how he teaches us every day.

‘I believe in this team and we made a big step today and now we have a big chance to make it.’

When called upon, Ayesiah McFerran was commanding in Ireland’s goal with several firm boot clearances over the 60 minutes. But Ireland simply couldn’t convert in the opposition 23m. Hannah McLoughlin’s shot on the spin and the ball fizzing past the far post in the second quarter proved their best chance.

During an end-to-end final quarter, Lena Tice was handed a five-minute yellow card for an illegal stick tackle, which left Ireland in further peril as they chased the equaliser.

AMSTERDAM 2022 Women’s World Cup Spain & Netherlands 12 Ireland v Chile (Pool A) Picture: Sarah Torrans WORLDSPORTPICS COPYRIGHT FRANK UIJLENBROEK

Roisin Upton was then sent sprawling to the turf when an errant Chilean stick accidentally landed on her right eye. She left the field rallying her team-mates, but this was to be Chile’s day.

‘Both teams certainly knew it was a key opportunity around the pool games,’ Dancer said. 

‘Everyone was aware of it but I thought we managed ourselves quite well for most of it before a bit of stress towards the end of it.’ 

Mullan admitted that the world No 12 side can overturn a run of four defeats in their last five against Germany.

‘I think you will see some real Irish heart and fight against Germany,’ she said.

‘We’ve had some good battles with them in recent years and know we can get quality out of what we do.’

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