Having looked yesterday at the players of the tournament in the men’s competition, today it is the turn of the women. As with yesterday’s article, these are players who I enjoyed watching play and not necessarily those winning the official player of the tournament awards. So without further ado, here they are.
Kelsey Kolojechick, USA.
You could more or less pick any one of Craig Parnham’s side as the USA were a pleasure to watch, however I have plumped for Kolojechick over the rest. After her display in the opening game against England I decided it would be a good idea to learn how to spell her name, as I suspected I would be writing it a lot as the competition progressed. She did not disappoint.
Kolojechick was her team’s top scorer with five goals which ranged from poacher’s efforts from close range such as the one against Argentina, right through to lung bursting runs from her own half resulting in finding the back of the net like her second against Australia. Kolojechick, like her team seemed to grow in confidence as the World Cup wore on and her seemingly limitless supply of energy, her refusal to give up (three of her goals were in the last ten minutes), her skill and her willingness to attack every time she had the ball made the 22-year-old one of the most exciting players to watch in the competition.
The USA won a lot of admirers at the World Cup and it looks like the young No7 will be turning heads for many years to come.
Rachael Lynch, Australia.
Lynch was named as goalkeeper of the tournament and deservedly so. A player The Top of the D has a great deal of time for, Lynch missed out on the 2012 Olympics but came into this competition determined to show the world what they missed during that tournament, and she did a great job of it. Lynch showed terrific consistency and came up trumps in the semi-final with some excellent stops in the shootout to break USA hearts. She also made a series of superb saves in the final to keep the scoreline close and the Dutch honest. It was a fantastic tournament for the Hockeyroos stopper.
Joyce Sombroek, Netherlands.
That’s right, another goalkeeper to add to the list. Sombroek is one of the best around and now has a World Cup gold medal to add to her impressive list of honours. The Dutch No1 didn’t concede any goals in the competition but showed her class when called upon. It is often harder for a goalkeeper to maintain their concentration levels when their team is as dominant as the hosts were but Sombroek was the model of consistency coming up with the goods in the games that mattered. A string of stops to keep out Anna Flanagan, Kellie White and Emily Hurtz in the pool match with Australia were of the highest quality and repeatedly she showed exemplary positioning and technique to frustrate everyone she came up against. A class act in every game.
Kim Lammers, Netherlands.
I’m a sucker for a fairy-tale ending and Kim Lammers’ tournament was exactly that. The 33-year-old announced she was going to retire after the tournament and her 200th cap was due to be the final, so it was fitting to see her notch the second Dutch goal in a 2-0 win in her landmark, farewell appearance, picking up a winners’ medal in the process. She found the net five times including a spectacular strike against New Zealand, but her finale was the stuff of dreams, which I loved.
Luciana Aymar, Argentina.
The inclusion of the eight-time FIH World Player of the Year is in large part due to the sense of redemption she must have felt after the bronze medal match. She played a much reduced role for Las Leonas in the tournament as she was clearly some way from full fitness. It was sad to see such a great player reduced to playing so far within herself and I was worried she would bow out of the tournament with a whimper rather than showing the incredible ability we all know she possesses. The pain and the pressure of the situation clearly got to her as she broke down in tears during the press conference after the semi-final defeat to the Netherlands. However, her two goals in the bronze medal match to see off the USA brought a mixture of joy and relief to one of the best of all time. To see her so disconsolate just days before and then so delighted after the bronze medal match was a nice moment. See? I told you I loved a bit of a fairy-tale.