Quick fire double continues Hockeyroos’ perfect start to World Cup

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Hockeyroo Greta Hayes celebrating scoring a goal against Belgium.

The Hockeyroos World Cup campaign has started with a bang with a solid victory over Belgium.

The Hockeyroos have shot to the top of Pool D courtesy of a stunning 90 seconds that saw them score twice to defeat Belgium 2-0 in the FIH Women’s World Cup 2022.

The telling period of the match came midway through the third quarter as Greta Hayes pounced to score her maiden international goal before Rebecca Greiner doubled the advantage in the blink of an eye.

The result leaves the Hockeyroos in the box seat to progress straight to the Quarter Finals ahead of their final pool match against South Africa tomorrow.

Required to absorb a wave of Belgium pressure, particularly in the first half, it was another character filled performance from a Hockeyroos team that had only played four internationals since the start of the year leading into this tournament.

With Belgium entering the contest off the back of a 4-1 win over South Africa, the match started at a frenetic pace. Steph Kershaw looked to assert her authority in midfield but it was Belgium who settled the better.

Led by the resolute Karri Somerville and Penny Squibb, the Hockeyroos defence held firm, with goalkeeper Aleisha Power called on to make a save from a penalty corner just before quarter time to keep scores level.

Belgium’s pressure was making it difficult for the Hockeyroos to maintain possession and link up in the attacking half of the pitch.

Five minutes before half time the Hockeyroos had a swift counterattack but the Belgian defence did enough to thwart the threat.

Rosie Malone then forced the Belgium goalkeeper into her first action of the night when she shot on the turn but her effort was partly blocked.

Head Coach Katrina Powell called for her team to be stronger in the contest in the second half and the Hockeyroos took it up to their European opponents.

Replacing Power at halftime, Jocelyn Bartram was forced into a sharp save to keep Belgium at bay.

A green card to Belgium’s Pauline Leclef in the 38th minute then proved pivotal as the Hockeyroos took full advantage of their extra player advantage.

With the Hockeyroos sensing their opportunity, Jane Claxton sent a searching ball into the attacking circle. Hayes initially jumped over the ball to let it run causing a scramble in the Belgium goalmouth and the Hockeyroos midfielder was first to react to score her first international goal.

Belgium were then stunned again when Kaitlin Nobbs fired in another circle entry down the middle. Grace Stewart produced a sublime deflection that saw the ball hit the post and Greiner was perfectly positioned to put in the rebound with a reverse shot.

Suddenly two goals in front, the Hockeyroos were again forced into some gallant defending, only a brave Squibb stick on the goal line preventing Belgium from clawing a goal back from a penalty corner.

Despite conceding twice as many shots, the Hockeyroos made theirs count when it mattered and will grow in confidence the longer the tournament goes.

Instrumental in midfield both when in possession and defensively, Kershaw was named the Player of the Match.

The Hockeyroos will back up 24 hours later in their final pool match against South Africa at 5.30am AEST on Thursday 7 July.

Official FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup 2022 website.

 

Match Details

Belgium 0

Hockeyroos 2 (Hayes 39’, Greiner 40’)

@ Terrassa Olympic Stadium, Spain

 

Hockeyroos: 1.Claire Colwill, 2.Rosie Malone, 4.Amy Lawton, 6.Penny Squibb, 7.Aleisha Power (gk), 10.Maddy Fitzpatrick, 12.Greta Hayes, 13.Hattie Shand, 14.Steph Kershaw, 15.Kaitlin Nobbs (c), 18.Jane Claxton, 19.Jocelyn Bartram (gk), 20.Karri Somerville, 21.Renee Taylor, 24.Mariah Williams, 28.Hannah Cullum-Sanders, 29.Rebecca Greiner, 30.Grace Stewart

 

With thanks Hockey Australia.

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