England 2 vs. 0 South Korea
Game 28/Cross Over
8.15 pm push back
England come into this game as firm favourites. Korea are arguable the worst team left in the tournament. In the early stages Susannah Townsend and Alex Danson are combining well down the right hand side, with Danson hitting the right hand baseline a few times. It looks positive and I sense a goal coming from that routine.
In the ninth minute Sarah Haycroft picks the ball up after a long ball from deep. She gets past the defender, plays it to Sophie Bray, who tries to round the keeper, but the ball is initially blocked, but England win the rebound and moves the ball forward to Bray again, who slots the ball into the net., giving her team the lead.
Five minutes after the goal, Hannah Martin picks the pocket of the Korean defender. She moves the ball into the circle. Bray tries for a smash and wins the short corner, but the resulting shot is saved by keeper, Hyeon A Hwang. England are straight onto the second phase and get a shot off, but the angle is too tight and it goes over the baseline for a hit out. At the end of the first period the score is England 1 – 0 South Korea.
In the second quarter, Townsend carries on her good form from the start of the match, thrashing a ball across the face of the Korean goal, but just missing that far post. The Koreans aren’t rolling over and are trying to play hockey, but there is an obvious gulf in class between the two teams. In the eleventh minute, Lily Owsley gets the ball in a high position and drives forward. There is now an English attacking overload with her, Danson and Bray moving forward. She plays it into her captain, who plays a slipped shot into an on rushing Korean goal keeper and the move is over.
As the first half ticks away, the Koreans have possession of the ball in a high position. I’m told that England have only beaten Korea in the last eleven matches between the teams. Owsley is playing well and sends another pass into the circle, but it’s just out of reach for Anna Toman. At half time the score remains 1 – 0 for the host nation.
England are first out of the changing rooms as the second half is about to begin, but the Koreans are also eager to get stuck in. A pass is made right to left across Maddie HInch’s goal. Seul Ki Cheon receives the ball and tests the durability of HInch’s leg guards. They are fine and the English defence move the ball away. It is the first shot on target for the Koreans, in the entire match. Towards the end of the period, a missed interception from Eunji Cho allows Hannah Martin to pick up a long ball. The keeper cuts out the pass towards the centre and the attack breaks down.
As we start the fourth and final quarter of the game, England are still looking to see off the game. A one-nil lead is always at risk of tempting fate. In the third minute Hyejin Cho takes a shot towards the near post, but it’s high and goes into a defender. Free hit for England. With three minutes remaining the Koreans dispense with their keeper for a kicking back and then test Maddie Hinch with a stinger from top right of the circle and then again a minute later from close range. Hinch does well and England again win back possession of the ball.
A minute and a half is left. England go on the attack. Anna Toman is high up the pitch and plays an outside square pass to the right. Lily Owsley picks it up drives forward, getting behind the opposition defence and slips it into an keeper less goal. 2 – 0. And that’s how it ends. England are through and now face a quarter final against the number one team in the word; the Netherlands. A lot is riding on the result of this game. Not only a semi final against Argentina, or Australia, but I’ve also made a bet with some of the Dutch media, with two pints riding on the outcome of the game.
Final score; England 2 – 0 South Korea. Sarah Haycroft is the Player of the Match.