Australia repeated their 3-0 win over England from the final of World League 3 in London to march on to the final where they await the winner of Argentina and The Netherlands. Goals from Jodie Schulz, Georgie Parker and Karrie McMahon made the difference for the Hockeyroos who triumphed despite a splendid goalkeeping display from England’s Maddie Hinch.
Australia showed their attacking intent inside the first three minutes. A reverse stick pass into the D found Parker who shot at goal from the right side of the D only to be thwarted by a fine save by Hinch who got both gloves to the ball to turn it over the bar. Hinch was called upon again shortly afterwards this time saving a fierce reverse stick effort from Kellie White after good approach work from Emily Smith. Australia were pushing hard to get the all-important opening goal but yet again England’s goalkeeper left them frustrated, this time getting down well to turn a Schulz penalty corner around the post.
Hinch continued to keep the Hockeyroos at bay with yet more excellent goalkeeping. Ashleigh Nelson found herself with time and space inside the D on the left only for the Holcombe goalkeeper to snake out a left foot to make another excellent save. The goalkeeper kept the same player out moments later as England came under incredible pressure.
With three minutes left in the first half Australia finally took the lead in somewhat controversial fashion. Schulz’s penalty corner appeared to find the corner of the net via the body of Teneal Attard. England immediately went for a video referral but the goal was still given.
England forced consecutive penalty corners at the end of the half but despite Kate Richardson-Walsh’s flick beating Rachael Lynch Susie Gilbert was unable to get her touch on target.
Australia doubled their lead two minutes after the break. A goalmouth scramble culminated in Georgie Parker forcing the ball home from close range to give England a mountain to climb. Four minutes later it was 3-0. Karrie McMahon found the corner to Hinch’s left with a precise penalty corner, notching her first goal of the tournament.
England tried to hit back but Lynch made a comfortable save from Hollie Webb’s penalty corner. Alex Danson was still a threat and with 15 minutes remaining she showed terrific skill, cutting inside away from two defenders before hitting a blistering reverse stick shot on the half volley that Lynch was equal to with a good save.
With Australia sitting deeper to preserve their lead England begun to threaten but Ashleigh Ball’s reverse stick shot was cleared by Lynch and Sophie Bray’s dangerous run was snuffed out as her cutback was fired wide.
Jason Lee’s side never stopped working but in the end did not quite have enough to overcome the Hockeyroos. Adam Commens will take his team to the final to face off against either Argentina or The Netherlands. England will face the other semi final loser in the 3rd/4th playoff.