England’s nightmare World Cup campaign continued as they were downed by a Carla Rebecchi strike from the last play of the match. Alex Danson’s first half strike was cancelled out by Delfina Merino and that’s how it stayed until Rebecchi’s late intervention. The loss leaves England rooted to the bottom of the pool and without a point from four games.
In a first half of few chances England managed to make their best opening count. From a penalty corner on six minutes they ran one of their variations with Kate Richardson-Walsh slipping the ball back to Susie Gilbert. The Reading midfielder’s shot was saved by Belen Succi but Georgie Twigg fired the ball back in where it was forced home from close range by Alex Danson.
Maddie Hinch did well to keep out Argentina’s first real attack with nine minutes left in the half but the England stopper was powerless to prevent Argentina equalising two minutes later. The ball broke to Rosario Luchetti inside the D and she squared it to Delfina Merino who had the simple task of slotting home.
The pattern of the game remained much the same throughout the second half. England worked hard to create the second goal whilst Argentina were a constant threat coming forwards with the excellent Rebecchi a constant thorn in England’s side.
In the 42nd minute a cross from Gilbert found its way to Nicola White but she could not beat Belen Succi who made the block whilst at the other end Hinch was called upon again to keep out a deflected effort from the left hand side.
Danson went close to her second but could not get the power on the shot to beat the goalkeeper who cleared with her stick and then moments later Rebecchi somehow mis-hit Rosario Luchetti’s cross with the goal gaping.
With less than a minute remaining Argentina won a penalty corner via a video referral. Noel Barrionuevo flicked for goal but her effort was saved by Kate Richardson-Walsh. The ball was played back across, somehow squeezing through Hinch’s pads allowing Rebecchi the tap in and dealing England the cruellest of blows.
Defender Sally Walton said afterwards: “The fight and desire was there for all to see today. The girls have turned a corner and we’re fighting for everything and going back to basics. Although the result doesn’t suggest it, anybody watching today would have seen that we were back to the English way of grit and determination. A defeat is hard to swallow but I’m really proud of all the girls.”
England’s last pool match is against Germany on Tuesday.
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That last minute goal was heartbreaking stuff.