Proteas down Spain in World League action | SASCOC - SASCOC

Proteas down Spain in World League action

There was satisfaction for the Investec South Africa women’s hockey team in putting together a good performance by beating Spain 3-2 in the play-off for seventh and eighth places in the Investec World League Semi-Final tournament in London on Sunday afternoon.

After Spain had taken the lead in the eighth minute through Maria Romagosa, South Africa scored three times from field play through an excellent brace of goals by striker Lilian du Plessis in the 19th and 29th minutes before Kelly Madsen ensured the 3-1 half-time lead with her superb strike in the 33rd minute, which came two minutes before the break.

Spain pulled a goal back in the 66th minute from field play when Anabel Flores got her shot over the goalline and the final four minutes saw frenetic action but the 3-2 scoreline remained the same.

Reflecting on seventh place in a tournament where SA had set their sights on a top-four finish, co-captain Marsha Cox said consistency had been a problem. ÔÇ£We are happy to get our first win but it has been a disappointing tournament for us as the nature of these events means that you have got to perform in each match.ÔÇØ

In the Pool B round, world number four and World League finalists England’s 4-1 win over SA was ÔÇ£flatteringÔÇØ last Saturday, according to England head coach Jason Lee, then world No 11 South Africa had enough opportunities to beat world number 15 Spain last Sunday instead of the 2-2 draw, and had enough chances in their final Pool B encounter against World League finalists Australia last Tuesday, the world number six nation eventually winning 1-0.

It was effectively the draw with Spain that denied SA their wish of a quarter-final encounter against world number seven China rather than London 2012 Olympic Games silver medallists Argentina.

Yet in the quarter-final, SA ran world number two and London 2012 Olympic Games silver medallists Argentina close before losing 3-1.

The frustration grew when world number 17 Italy beat South Africa 3-1 on a penalty shootout in the playoff for fifth to eighth positions on Saturday, this after the final score had read 1-1.

SA trailed at half-time in four of their six matches and while they did concede 13 goals in the six matches, it was their inability to net more than eight goals in the six matches that was their downfall.

Yet there were encouraging passages of play Sunday and it bodes well as South Africa now set their sights on qualifying for the World Cup, which will come to fruition should they win the Africa Cup in Nairobi, Kenya in the first week of October.