The first round of the FIH Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup has passed in the blink of an eye. The teams produced some outstanding moments of magic and we have seen 39 goals in 8 game so far and some tremendous stories from the first round of matches. Of course with the changed format of the World Cup, the pressure already notches up a few levels for teams who lost their opening games. In a thrilling round of hockey here were our four things we loved in the first round of games.
The last time Italy took part in the FIH Hockey Women’s World Cup was back in 1976 where they finished bottom of their five team pool. Arriving at the 2018 edition after a 42 year absence, few would have given Italy much chance of even a draw when facing the 1st, 7th and 8th ranked sides. But Italy, on the weekend that the first Italian won a golf major, failed to read the script and caused an outstanding shock in defeating China 3-0. Valentina Braconi, Lara Oviedo and Giuliana Ruggieri combined to dismantle their favoured opponents completely un-awed by the occasion
— The Reverse Stick (@thereversestick) July 22, 2018
Nicolene Terblanche shows football how its done!
Ill leave it to South African Hockey player of the year Celia Evans, who is missing the World Cup through injury as she received a thumping blow to the head.
Not to make light of the situation, Nicolene has been fully assessed for concussion by the team and FIH doctors. Head injury should be taken seriously, but its remarkable the reaction in a time when footballers are falling over when the wind changes direction.
Goal of the tournament already???
Argentina found themselves behind to their surprise, but after leveling within 5 minutes. But if that goal was a relief, the next was pure delight as the day 2 crowd were witness to what could go down as goal of the tournament already. Maria Ortiz picked up the ball on the left-hand side of the Spanish circle and unleashed a shot that was perfectly placed just under the crossbar. You can check out the FIH video of all the goals below and the Ortiz one is at 3:45.
Ireland make a statement
Ireland made their own statement when they claimed a stunning 3-1 victory over the Americans, a result which saw the second lowest ranked team in the competition end Day 1 sitting top of the Pool B table. The Green Army took a 1-0 lead after just five minutes when Deirdre Duke produced a calm and collected finish after finding herself one-on-one with USA shot-stopper Jackie Briggs.
That advantage was doubled thanks to a fierce penalty corner strike from Shirley McCay, but an ingenious penalty corner routine from the Americans, finished off by Margaux Paolino, made the score 2-1 at the end of the first quarter. The killer blow arrived six minutes after half time and again it was Duke who was the scorer, finishing off a rapid counter-attack with a close range strike that rattled the pads of USA goalkeeper Briggs before bouncing over the line to give Ireland a shock victory over a team that finished fourth at the 2014 World Cup in The Hague.
— The Reverse Stick (@thereversestick) July 21, 2018
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all images are courtesy of the FIH website
This article is written for The Hockey Family by Tyron “Jabu” Barnard (Sports 24 Seven)