The Hockeyroos will play for the bronze medal at the FIH Women’s World Cup 2022 after going down 1-0 to the world number one ranked Netherlands in their semi final in Terrassa, Spain.
The result was the Hockeyroos’ first loss of the tournament and they held their own against a well drilled and more experienced Netherlands outfit.
Having played just four internationals leading into the World Cup and entering the semi final with seven players with 25 internationals or less, it was going to be both a huge challenge and an invaluable experience for this Hockeyroos group.
With a spot in the decider on the line, the Netherlands looked to force their ascendancy early, Hockeyroos goalkeeper Jocelyn Bartram alert to deny Maria Verschoor in the 4th minute.
The chance was a rare one in an opening quarter that did not see a lot of goalmouth action.
Rosie Malone fired a warning shot on the reverse from just inside the attacking circle that sailed just over the top in a nervy moment for the Netherlands defence. However, chances were proving hard to come by.
The Netherlands won the first penalty corner of the match just before half time, Renee Taylor doing superbly on the goal line to keep the resultant drag flick from finding the back of the net.
The Hockeyroos were again forced to pull out their best penalty corner defence to start the second half, Bartram making a string of excellent reflex saves as the Netherlands had nine in quick succession.
Having soaked up the tidal way of pressure, the Hockeyroos looked to threaten the Netherlands defence at the other end but could not break through.
Bartram was at her best again moments later with another crucial block before the Hockeyroos were awarded their first penalty corner of the match with seven minutes to go in the third quarter.
Penny Squibb’s drag flick took a huge deflection off a defender, sending the ball high and wide of the target.
The dam wall of the Hockeyroos’ brave resistance eventually gave way in the 42nd minute when Frederique Matla managed to direct a low drag flick just inside the post to give the reigning champions the lead.
Conceding just their second goal of the tournament, the Hockeyroos came out in the last quarter with greater urgency as they chased an equaliser, Steph Kershaw doing her best to get her team back in the contest.
However, despite a string of circle entries in the final minutes, the Hockeyroos could not get convert their attacking forays into serious goal scoring opportunities.
While not the desired result, this Hockeyroos team showed they are heading in the right direction as they continue to build and gain valuable experience knowing what is required to be the best team in the world.
“It was as great test for our girls. We had them on the ropes for a while there and it was a lucky penalty corner that unfortunately went in,” said Hockeyroos captain Jane Claxton.
“We have to rebuild for tomorrow and start again. Any medal match is an excellent opportunity for us to grow so we will be going out to do our best to win bronze.”
The Hockeyroos will play off in the bronze medal match at 2.30am AEST tomorrow morning (Monday 18 July).
The match will be LIVE on Fox Sports, available on Foxtel & Kayo.
Netherlands 1 (Matla 42’)
@ Terrassa Olympic Stadium, Spain
Hockeyroos: 1.Claire Colwill, 2.Rosie Malone, 4.Amy Lawton, 6.Penny Squibb, 10.Maddy Fitzpatrick, 12.Greta Hayes, 13.Hattie Shand, 14.Steph Kershaw, 15.Kaitlin Nobbs, 18.Jane Claxton (c), 19.Jocelyn Bartram (gk), 20.Karri Somerville, 21.Renee Taylor, 24.Mariah Williams, 28.Hannah Cullum-Sanders, 29.Rebecca Greiner, 30.Grace Stewart
Unused substitute: 7.Aleisha Power (gk)
With Thanks, Hockey Australia