Two goals from Emily Hurtz saw Australia through to Sunday’s final where they will meet the winner of England vs Argentina. With the scores level at half time it was all to play for, however a stirring second half display gave the Hockeyroos a convincing win.
Teneal Attard was first to threaten the goal as she collected a rebounded penalty corner on the edge of the D and fired wide of the far post. It was a half of few chances but China took the lead in the 28th minute. Hongxia Li scored her sixth of the competition with a lovely shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the D.
A minute later Australia levelled the scores. Hurtz made a strong run into the D and although her shot went wide, Georgia Nanscawen had the awareness to pick up the loose ball and square it to Ashleigh Nelson to score.
Australia forced a penalty corner just before half time but Jodie Schulz was well kept out by Yimeng Zhang.
The sides came out for the second half level but Australia took control of the game.
Emily Smith had a shot kicked clear by replacement goalkeeper Ji Li before Mengyu Wang made an excellent stick stop to keep out an Anna Flanagan penalty corner. Li made another outstanding stick save to keep out Schulz but Australia’s goal was not far off.
On 51 minutes they took the lead. Nelson slipped the ball under her arm to Claire Messent who showed good persistence to score at the second attempt.
With 58 minutes gone, the Hockeyroos scored again, this time Georgie Parker showed terrific bravery to deflect the ball over the goalkeeper and in, despite the defender on the line’s efforts.
Five minutes later captain Madonna Blyth burst through on the right and got the ball back to Hurtz who made no mistake, slotting home her second and Australia’s fourth.
Blyth seemed intent on adding her name to the scoresheet with two good chances in a minute but she was wayward with the first, firing wide and then over the top with the second.
With time running out Parker almost added a fifth with a splendid run and reverse stick shot which beat the goalkeeper but not the post.
Australia have looked stronger and stronger as the competition has worn on. They are building some good momentum and whoever they face in tomorrow’s final have their work cut out against Adam Commens’ side. China will have to wait to see who they face in the 3rd/4th place match.