More heartache for our hockey sides in The Hague | SASCOC - SASCOC

More heartache for our hockey sides in The Hague

Our national men’s and women’s sides went down to Argentina and the United States respectively in their World Cup fixtures in the Netherlands on Tuesday.

The men went down 5-1 and the women 4-2, reports Jon Cook from The Hague.

There was cause for some concern in the Investec SA women’s team when England led Germany 3-0 in the penultimate Group B match.

World No3 England needed to beat world No6 Germany by four clear goals in order to edge SA into the 11th/12th place play-off for final classification in the four-yearly showpiece but the Germans managed to pull a goal back, and the 3-1 final score ensured that the SA girls who are ranked 11th in the world will definitely finish the tournament higher than their world ranking would suggest.

SA now meet world No9 side Japan at 10am in the ninth/10th place play-off on Friday, the same Japanese who the South Africans were most unfortunate to lose to in the London 2012 Olympics in the same battle for ninth spot.

In their match, SA again won the general statistics count but lost the match in the stat that really counts, goals for and against, in being defeated 4-2 by surprise tournament packages the USA, who are unbeaten and now certain of a semi-final berth on Thursday.

Equal goal shots, more penalty corners and similar entries into the scoring zone mattered little in the final analysis as USA punished SA defensive errors.

The thrilling match saw USA go into half-time 1-0 up with Caroline Nichols converting from the penalty spot. SA hit back after the changeover when captain Marsha Cox rounded off a fine counter-attack but the Americans were immediately back in front through Katie Reinprecht following a penalty corner. Then USA skipper Lauren Crandall nailed another goal from the penalty spot for the north Americans to go back in front by a two-goal margin.

SA pulled one back when Lisa Deetlefs slapped in a PC but USA again restored their two-goal advantage 14 minutes from time from a PC that was slotted home by Rachel Dawson for the 4-2 final score.

Meanwhile, the SA men’s side will play for 11th and 12th place ÔÇô in keeping with their eventual 11th place win over India at London 2012 ÔÇô in the 1.30pm match on Thursday. The SA men will tackle Group A’s sixth-placed Malaysia.

There were some promising moments for the SA men in the second half against World Cup 2014 semi-final qualifiers Argentina, but the South Americans’ superior ability to connect with each other was crucial in their 5-1 win, this after leading 2-0 at the break.

University of Johannesburg student Clint Panther scored a superb individual goal for SA (see him being congratulated by Test centurion Julian Hykes in the picture above) to pull the score back to 3-1 with 13 minutes left but the classy Argentines found another gear to knock in two more goals by the final whistle.

World Cup leading goalscorer Gonzalo Peillat netted a brace, as did Lucas Vila, who scored two breathtaking goals from field play, while Argentina’s other successful strike came from Joaquin Menini.