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Shock result means SA now take on powerful Argentina

Thursday’s Investec World League hockey quarter-final draw was turned upside down for South Africa when world No15 Spain drew 1-1 with world No4 England in the late game in London on Tuesday.

Jon Cook writes that the shock result, considering how well England played in beating the Investec South Africa women’s team 4-1 and drawing with Pool B winners Australia 1-1 over the weekend means that South Africa will now be facing world number two Argentina, runaway winners of Pool A, in Thursday’s first quarter-final.

Earlier 11th-ranked South Africa were shaded 1-0 by Australia, the world’s sixth-ranked side.

Thursday’s 1.30pm (SA time) quarter-final between world No11 South Africa and reigning World Cup winners and London 2012 Olympic silver medallists Argentina will be televised live on SuperSport 1.

The form book suggested England would beat Spain comfortably ÔÇô and South Africa had appeared almost certain to face Pool A runners-up China, the world No7’s, in the third quarter-final.

In what was their best performance of the tournament to date, the SA side held Australia to a 0-0 scoreline at halftime.

It was a game of cat and mouse, both sides having spells of being the hunter and then the hunted. The workrate of every player on the park was extraordinary and skipper Madonna Blyth and Ashleigh Nelson were just two of the Hockeyroos who stood out at times.

In a very evenly-matched encounter, it was the Hockeyroos’ Junior World Player of the Year Anna Flanagan who scored the winner five minutes after half-time from Australia’s third penalty corner, her drag-flick just evading the outstretched stick of SA goalkeeper Sanani Mangisa.

Trailing 1-0, SA drag-flick ace Pietie Coetzee hit the post from her side’s third PC and it just about reflected what might have been for the South Africans. Australia’s three green cards and one yellow card were indicative of the pressure SA put them under.

For SA, the heavily marked Marsha Cox (ne├® Marescia) produced an inspirational performance while attacking midfielder Shelley Russell was easily the most dangerous player on the field, creating havoc with her control and extreme pace down the right.

SA centre backs Tarryn Bright and Marcelle Keet played big roles in the heart of the South African defence but it is a trifle unfair to single out individuals in what was a committed team effort

ÔÇ¿ÔÇ¿SA TEAM

Sanani Mangisa (Southern Gauteng), Phume Mbande (Northern Blues), Lenise Marais (KZN Coastal Raiders), Marcelle Keet (Border), Nicolene Terblanche (NB), Illse Davids (Western Province), Shelley Russell (WP), Tarryn Bright (WP), Pietie Coetzee (SG), Quanita Bobbs (WP), Sulette Damons (North West), Dirkie Chamberlain (NB), Jade Mayne (WP), Tanya Britz (Free State), Lilian du Plessis (NB), Izelle Lategan (FS), Kelly Madsen (KCR), Marsha Marescia (SG).

THURSDAY’S QUARTER-FINALS
(All SA times, all to be televised live on SuperSport 1)
1.30pm: Argentina vs South Africa
4pm: Australia vs USA
6.30pm: China vs Spain
9pm: England vs Italy


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