Australia and Germany hockey victories mean both could reach Investec semi-finals
Wednesday, 06 June 2012
June 6 - There were victories for Australia (pictured left) and Germany at the Investec London Cup, results which give both a good chance of reaching the semi-finals on Saturday (June 8)
Australia were in fine form as they rolled over Ireland in the day's first game, racing into a 3-0 lead within 20 minutes at the University of Westminster sports grounds in Chiswick.
Australia had looked good in defeat to the Netherlands yesterday, but had been unable to put the finishing touch to their impressive build up play.
They certainly found it today, as Fiona Boyce and Emily Smith both finished of free flowing moves within the opening 10 minutes to give Australia the perfect start.
Less than 10 minutes later Jodie Schulz (pictured top, centre) fired home a penalty corner as Australia took a commanding lead.
Emma Gray had to be at her best in the Ireland goal to keep out the Australians as Megan Rivers and Casey Eastham pulled them apart time after time, forcing a number of penalty corners.
Eastham eventually made it four shortly after the break as she struck a reverse stick goal to end the game.
Ireland's consolation came from Nicola Daly, who was left with a simple task to finish at the back post following a free hit into the circle.
"We aimed to score early and we created several opportunities so it was good to put them away," said Australia coach Adam Commens.
"We had been unable to do that against Holland in our first match and paid the price.
"There were patches of the match which could have been better but it was a reasonable performance overall."
"The Australian strength on the ball was really good but I thought we adjusted very well in the second half," said Ireland coach Denis Pritchard.
"We've got some young players here and we've come with the intention of improving individually.
"I thought Emma Gray made some very good saves and I'm really pleased for her on her 50th cap."
The day's other game between South Africa and Germany was a much tighter affair.
South Africa (pictured above in yellow) were buoyant following their superb 3-1 win over Britain (pictured above in red) on the opening day of the tournament on Tuesday.
The Germans, ranked third in the world, won a tight game 1-0, with Eileen Hoffman striking the decisive goal as their attacking pressure told.
South Africa fought valiantly though and forced a succession of penalty corners late on, but were unable to take any as they went down defeated.
However, the result guarantees them a spot in the last four as Germany would finish below them if they lose to Britain tomorrow.
Britain can only finish above South Africa with a four goal victory against the Germans, and must win by at least two to come second in the pool and reach the semis.
Germany's head coach Michael Behrmann said afterwards: "We have had three weeks off coming into this tournament and that showed at times today, however we won our first match and that is really important on the way to London ."
"After the high of yesterday [when South Africa beat Britain 3-1] it was a bit tough today, but I think the girls can be extremely proud and I'm excited about the progress we have made," added South Africa assistant coach Fabian Gregory.
Thursday's other game sees Ireland play the Netherlands in Pool A, with the world number one side looking for at least a draw to ensure their spot in the last four.
A shock win for Ireland, who have not qualified for the Olympics, could yet knock the Dutch out though.
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