Pumping Up The Beat: warm up tournament for Rabobank World Cup Hockey 2014
Both the Belgium men and Australian women enjoyed the taste of victory participating in four nation’s preparation tournament ahead of World Cup.
Belgium had great days beating world rivals Netherlands 2-1, England 3-2 and drew 2-2 with Germany at Düsseldorf. They’re surely giving the tension to other teams that it won’t be easy to play against them and move forward beating them. The players are in great form, the team combination is good; now it’s time to prove them on the big event.
If we see from team England’s perspective they’re journey were bumpy as they were defeated in their opening match which was also England’s captain Barry Middleton’s 200th match for his country.
“I was disappointed that we failed to impose our game,” said head coach Bobby Crutchley.
The Hockeyroos showed resilience and grit to take a share of the spoils in a 3-3 draw with Germany on Sunday, securing the World Cup warm-up tournament title in the process as they finished ahead of the hosts on goal difference in Bremen.
South Australian Georgie Parker’s last minute equalizer was the Hockeyroos’ third of the game and came after New South Wales forward Emily Smith had levelled Tina Bachmann’s fifth minute opener and Victorian Georgia Nanascawen had cancelled out Lydia Haase’s goal for 2-2.
And there was further reason to celebrate as Australian captain Madonna Blyth became the outright second highest capped Hockeyroo in history. Playing in her 280th international, she overtook Rechelle Hawkes’ 279 games. Only Nikki Hudson’s 303 match record lies ahead for the Brisbane-born midfielder.
National coach Adam Commens said after the match, “We played some pretty good hockey and certainly created enough chances to score three goals. Germany played very well. They’re a team that’s improving all the time; they’ve had a lot of [personnel] turnover since the Olympics and played very enterprising hockey today. We’ll probably need to be better if we are to beat them in the latter stages of the World Cup.”
With just 12 days to go to the start of the tournament, Commens said, “I’ve been quite satisfied with our performances this week. As far as starts of tours go it’s been one of our better starts to a tour. It’s satisfying to win the tournament. Yesterday we played fantastic attacking hockey whereas today was a bit more of a dogfight. There was some good counter attacking play but I thought Germany kept possession better than we did.”
While a draw would be enough for the Hockeyroos, Germany required a victory to win the tournament on home turf. There was an early setback for the Hockeyroos as German veteran Tina Bachmann converted a fifth minute penalty corner to put the hosts 1-0 up but Crookwell’s Emily Smith made it 1-1 with her second in as many games less than ten minutes later.
Lydia Haase put Germany back in front but Georgia Nanscawen’s equaliser just before the break provided the perfect response from the Hockeyroos. And despite falling behind for a third time to Kristina Hillmann’s goal ten minutes into the second half, the resilient ‘Roos refused to give up. With time running out Georgie Parker worked her magic, finding the back of the goal in the final minute.