Women's hockey round up: 4 teams with 6 points in Pool B

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London, Aug 3: Here is the summary of results at the London Games hockey matches held on Thursday.

See Points Table: Women's, Men's

Pool A

Korea beat Japan 1-0 (Half-time score 0-0)

The Sakuras suffered their third straight defeat at the London Games against Korea. The only goal that separated the two sides came in the 42nd minute when Cheun Seul Ki converted a penalty corner. The success, however, came from nine attempts and gives an indication of the Korean domination in the game. Japan, too, had their moments in the early minutes but could not build on that.

The first half ended goalless after the two closely-ranked sides (Korea ranks eighth and Japan ninth) locked horns in a closely-fought affair but neither of the two succeeding in making a breakthrough. Japan made some swift moves during this time and the likes of Izuki Tanaka and Rika Komazawa looked threatening. Korea soon hit back and came close to scoring. One of key Korean players Park Seon Mi saw a yellow card in the first half. In the second half, it was all Korea and Cheun Seul Ki gave her side a deserving win. Korea registered their first win in the competition and now is placed fourth in the table, just a point behind China.

The Netherlands beat China 1-0 (Hal-time score 1-0)

The Dutch made it three out of three after Maartje Goderie scored in the 11th minute in a replay of the 2008 Games final. It was although a much modest show by the Dutch women after their 3-0 and 3-2 win in the previous matches but credit should also be given to the Asians for putting up a strong defence. The Netherlands failed to convert even one of the nine penalty corners that they got. The Chinese, however, were not able to launch a threatening counter-attack to effect any goal. For the Dutch, Kelly Jonker and Kitty van Male came close to scoring but it was only Goderie who raced down the left baseline and smashed home the winner. It was Goderie who had scored the second goal against the Chinese in the Beijing Games final.

China got some chances in the second half but could not find the equaliser. Zhao Yudiao got the best opening but failed to get it past Joyce Sombroek, the Dutch goalkeeper. The Dutch also won six corners in the second-half but could not score. Kim Lammers, who scored two goals each in both the previous matches, could not add to the tally against the Chinese. With this win, the Netherlands are almost certain to make the semi-finals, their fifth on the trot, while China will have to do a lot of hardwork to catch up.

Great Britain beat Belgium 3-0 (Half-time score 1-0)

The hosts are improving with each game and drubbed the Belgian Panthers 3-0 to go to the top of the table. Although they are tied with the Netherlands with 9 points each, but are ahead owing to a better goal difference (+9). The home team, which saw Prince Edward and his wife Sophie of Wessex cheering them from the stands, immediately pushed for the target but the Belgians, the Olympic debutants who held the Chinese in a goalless draw the other day, contained them. The teenage Belgian goalkeeper did a superb job for her team at the highest level and prevented Nicola White from making a deadly move in the circle. But it was too much to ask for the 16th-ranked team to hold on the opponents for the entire duration.

Ashleigh Ball scored in the 32nd minute and once the floodgates were opened, the British women went for the onslaught. Laura Bartlett made it 2-0 in the 45th minute while Crista Cullen sealed the deal with a penalty-corner goal in the last minute. Emilie Sinia, meanwhile, took a dashing shot at the target but was unsuccessful in scoring. The one-sided scoreline does not really reflect the show that the spirited Belgians had put up against the hosts.

Pool B

Australia beat USA 1-0 (Half-time score 1-0)

The situation in Pool B stands exciting with four teams tied at six points. In the first game of the day in this pool, Australia earned their second win of the tournament when they beat the USA 1-0. Anna Flanagan scored the decisive goal in the 33rd minute to steer her team closer to the semifinal berths after the stunning 0-1 loss to New Zealand in the opening match. The US women will, however, rue Lauren Crandall's missed penalty stroke just minutes before Flanagan's score.

Although the match ended as a low-scoring affair, but both sides continued to raid each other's territory regularly. Flanagan, Emily Smith and Megan Rivers came close to score more for the Hockeyroos but could not finish off the job. Katie Reinprecht made some dashing moves for the Americans. Rachel Dawson's shot found Jodie Schulz's foot and Crandall messed with the stroke that was awarded. The Hockeyroos missed converting several opportunities in the second half while the USA almost drew level through a powerful reverse from Melissa Gonzalez.

Germany beat South Africa 2-0 (Half-time score 1-0)

Germany condemned South Africa to their third loss in as many matches. The Europeans dominated the opening minutes and even made some scoring attempts, which were defended well by the Africans. The latter, too, made some counter-attacks through the likes of Marsha Marescia but could not penetrate the German defence. The game got stuck in the midfield soon with neither teams able to break the deadlock. It was only in the 25th minute when Marie Mavers scored off an excellent pass from veteran Natascha Keller. South Africa came close to draw level in the second half when Kathleen Taylor received the ball alone in front of the German goal but could not make it past the final defence. Pietie Coetzee also had a good chance, which showed a shaky German defence. The Germans, somehow, survived the storm and earned a penalty corner. Fanny Rinne smashed home the team's second goal. It was also her second match in the tournament. The South Africans kept on fighting till the last minute but could not find that all-important goal.

Argentina beat New Zealand 2-1 (Half-time score 1-0)

For Argentina, this Olympic has been a roller-coaster ride. They blew away South Africa 7-1 in the opening match but was stunned by the USA in the second match. On Thursday, they beat the Kiwis to come back to track. The Las Leonas started in a dashing manner and earned two early penalty-corners. Though they could not convert them, it was Carla Rebecchi's swift skill which earned the Argentines their first goal. The Black Sticks felt the pressure from the Latin Americans and although Krystal Forgesson forced a penalty-corner, it could not find a net despite several retakes.

Argentina almost made it 2-0 in the closing periods of the first half but Barrionuevo's flick was well defended. New Zealand got an early penalty-corner in the early minutes of the second half but could not equalise the scores. They squandered another opportunity soon after. Rebecchi scored her second goal in the 45th minute to give the world champions 2-0 lead. Charlotte Harrison pulled one back for the Black Sticks in the 62nd minute and New Zealand tasted their first defeat after beating the Aussies and South Africans.

OneIndia News

(With FIH inputs)

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