Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in London played host to the opening game of the 2018 FIH Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup as SuperGroup South Africa took on Germany. The two teams took met at the FIH World League Semi-finals in Johannesburg last year and South Africa would have been motivated by that near miss.
But Germany were up for this game and in truth dominated from start to finish with a superb pressing display to limit the South African possession and chances. South Africa were kept in the game by a splendid display from Phumelela Mbande. The Article Clerk goalkeeper continues to get better with each game for the national side and is a joy to watch. As much as she was in form she could not stop Viktoria Huse from giving the European’s the lead.
In the second quarter the South African ladies grew into the game holding a bit more possession even rallying after Nicolene Terblanche was taken from the field for concussion testing after a fierce strike to the head. Fortunately, Nicolene has been given the all clear and confirmed this with me after the game ending.
In the third quarter South Africa would have been disappointed to concede so early in the period after a sensational Phumi Mbande shoulder save almost denied the Germans only for Charlotte Stapenhorst to finish the rebound. South Africa refused to lie down though and a combination of great saving from Mbande and superb last ditch defending particularly by Kara-lee Botes and Erin Hunter (who got stitches in the finger as a reward for her efforts). South Africa then were awarded a penalty corner which Lisa-Marie Deetlefs finished superbly.
Germany were unfazed and while the likes of Kristen Paton and Ongi Mali tried their level best, Germany continued to surge and the pressure eventually told when a review for a penalty corner was awarded a stroke. Huse stepped up to fire it home and make it 3-1, which would remain the score at the completion of the game.
Its back to the drawing board for Rostron and the team as they look to mastermind a victory over Spain on Thursday, which will keep their hopes alive in the tournament.
Day 1 Results:
Germany v South Africa 3-1
England v India 1-1
USA v IRL 1-3
Australia v Japan 3-2