Koreans, Kiwis into Champions Trophy last four


South Korea and New Zealand did enough on Tuesday to qualify for the women’s Champions Trophy semi-finals joining Argentina and the Netherlands.
The Koreans ground out a 1-1 draw with top-ranked Argentina, who have won the last three editions, while New Zealand held the Dutch to a scoreless draw. Korea controlled the tempo of their game throughout, Park Mi-hyun breaking through to score with a drive past experienced Argentina goalkeeper Marian Succi towards the end of the first half. The Koreans then shut up shop knowing that a draw would be good enough to see them into the final four.
They held on almost up to the final whistle when Daniela Sruoga equalised for Las Leonas, scrambling in a rebound off the pads of Korea goalkeeper Moon Young-hui. “The players did what I asked of them which was to get into the semifinal pool and I am satisfied with a draw against the world champions,” said Korean coach Lim Heung-sin. Argentina’s coach Carlos Retegui, however, was less enthusiastic about the single-minded stonewalling tactics of the Koreans. “By playing for a draw in the second half Korea come into the semifinal pool. We played to put on a good show but how could we when all Korea wanted to do was draw,” he said. New Zealand had the better of the first half against the Netherlands but the Black Sticks wre unable to convert any of their six shots on goal.
Netherlands changed tactics in the second half, controlled the midfield and earned two penalty corners but were unable to break the deadlock against a Kiwi team that is steadily improving. “Everyone should be aware that New Zealand can play very well and are a threat,” said Netherlands coach Max Caldas.
There was another goalless draw between England and China who both missed out on a place in the semifinal pool. Australia were the only side to manage a victory, defeating Germany 1-0 through Jodie Schulz’s low flick conversion of their sixth penalty corner late in the second half. Germany hit the post in the last 10 seconds but veteran Natascha Keller could not reach the rebound.
“We moved the ball quickly and the players used their speed to link on angles with one another so I think today we took it to another level than previous games – we are building nicely,” said Aussie coach Adam Commens. Wednesday is a rest day in the tournament followed on by the start on Thursday of the second set of pools.