Australia booked their place in the semi final with a convincing 4-1 win over the USA here in London.
First half goals from Emily Smith, Kellie White, Karri McMahon and Jodie Schulz overpowered the Stars and Stripes and ensured Australia had a comfortable second half, allowing them to keep something in the tank for Saturday’s clash with Spain or China.
It took the Hockeyroos just seven minutes to break the deadlock. A smart turn and shot on the edge of the D from Smith found the bottom corner.
The USA were putting together some nice patterns and showed good pace and enterprise going forwards. Not for the first time this week their lack of cutting edge in the final third caused them to struggle in breaking down the formidable Australian defence.
On ten minutes the USA drew level. Rachel Dawson found the bottom corner with an excellent drag flick from a penalty corner.
Parity lasted just 2 minutes. Australia burst forward again and White was afforded time and space in the D to turn and shoot, firing a superb reverse stick shot into the top corner giving Jackie Kintzer no chance.
The USA threatened from another penalty corner, this time Dawson passed to Katie O’Donnell at the far post but the US captain could not convert and the chance went begging.
On 22 minutes, the Green and Golds scored again. The penalty corner injection was forced a little wide but McMahon still manufactured a shot from marginally inside the D. Somehow it beat everyone and crept into the corner.
Three minutes later it was 4-1. Jodie Schulz notched her second goal of the competition with a precise drag flick into the top corner.
The USA forced a penalty corner on the whistle but it was easily repelled by the defence.
The second half really struggled to catch fire. Australia seemed content to sit on their lead, knowing that keeping something back for the semi-final would be very important, whilst the USA worked hard to put the Hockeyroos under pressure without ever really threatening them.
Casey Eastham tried her luck from the edge of the D but shot wide whilst Shannon Taylor was wayward with a penalty corner attempt. Ashleigh Nelson had a great chance to make it five as she collected the ball at the far post only to pick out the goalkeeper’s pads, before Anna Flanagan was unusually wasteful flicking a penalty corner chance high and wide.
There was just enough time for Kintzer to save a Schulz penalty corner as the game rather fizzled out as a spectacle.
Australia will be delighted to have progressed to the semi-finals in such comfortable fashion. They are building a nice momentum ahead of Saturday’s games.
The USA will know they came up against a better side in this match, but will hope to build on the positives to bounce back against either China or Spain.