Three teams have emerged with two wins after the second day of competition in Victoria, with Korea dispatching Malaysia (5-0), Ireland winning a hard fought game against host Canada (2-0), while Italy struggled to beat Uruguay (4-0).
Game 4 – Uruguay v. Italy: 0-4 (half-time: 0:0)
The first game of the day was played under steady rain, slowing down the ball and affecting the pace of play. Italy had a few early chances but Uruguay seemed to have well rebounded from their heavy loss against Korea and the game became more balanced. Uruguay even had a good chance on penalty-corner, but it was well saved by Paula CALVO in the Italian goal. Italy missed a golden opportunity to open the score when a ball rolled in front of the empty net after superb work by Maria Victoria CORSO on the right of the circle.
Italy appeared less composed than in their critical encounter against Canada the day before, obviously too anxious to score and wasting a number of opportunities, including two shots from close range that were well saved by Noel DE LOS SANTOS in the Uruguayan net. Uruguay forced a last second penalty-corner, but the game went into halftime scoreless.
Italy did not waste any time in second half, scoring on penalty-corner in the second minute of play with a quick sweep shot from Maria Victoria CORSO. The play became confined to one half of the field, but the Uruguayan defense was well regrouped and the Italians missed a few more clear chances. It took another penalty-corner by Maria Victoria CORSO to establish a more comfortable cushion. With the results not in doubt any more, Italy added 2 more goals to earn their second win of the competition, but they won’t be happy with their overall performance and their chances conversion rate, while Uruguay can be satisfied with their performance today, only allowing goals on set pieces.
Game 5 – Ireland v. Canada: 2-0 (half-time: 2-0)
With the sunshine suddenly back, a large crowd was on hand to cheer the home team and Canada did not waste any time, earning a penalty-corner in the first minute of play when Tiffany MICHALUK was fouled at the top of the circle after a decisive run. Ireland calmly absorbed the initial pressure and did not miss their chance to take the lead on their first penalty-corner, when Cathy McKEAN celebrated in style her 100th International Cap by deflecting from close range the initial shot by Nikki SYMMONS.
The play was going back and forth, keeping the crowd well entertained, but neither team could take control of the play. Canada was mostly dangerous with deep runs, but their attackers were too isolated to threaten a well regrouped Irish defense, with an inspired Mary GOODE in goal to save two dangerous situations one-on-one against Katie BAKER then Tiffany MICHALUK. Ireland on the other hand took full advantage of their rare chances, scoring again on penalty-corner by Clare PARKHILL to establish a comfortable cushion before half-time.
Canada attacked with more purpose in second half, desperately trying to come back quickly in the game. They besieged the Irish circle and created some good scoring chances but consistently missed the last touch to open their tally, including on a number of penalty-corners. With the rain starting again, the tempo of play slowed down, easing the pressure on the Irish defense.
With time ticking down, Ireland could afford to calmly maintain their defensive structure, earning their second win of the competition to stay on course for a spot in the Final next Sunday. Canada on the other hand will regret missing so many chances in second half and letting slip away a game that was well within their reach.
Game 6 – Malaysia v. Korea: 0-5 (half-time: 0-3)
Korea did not waste any time to take the lead in the last game of the day, scoring within 5 minutes of play by Mi Young EOM, picking the rebound of her initial shot to slot the ball out of reach of the keeper. They dominated the proceedings without forcing their talent, providing an entertaining show of speed, skills and team play and scoring regularly, including two goals in so many minutes by Jong Eun KIM, much to the delight of the very vocal Korean fans.
Despite the forgone conclusion, Malaysia never let down their guard and consistently maintained their defensive structure, limiting the score at 0-3 going into the halftime break. They started the second half aggressively, effectively cutting the Korean options in midfield and even creating two good chances in front of the Korean goal. The Koreans weathered the storm quietly, before increasing their tally by Mi Hyun PARK on their first penalty-corner of the period.
Korea comforted their status of favorites, but Malaysia played a strong game to limit the score line at 5-0 and could even have scored their first goal of the competition.
The WorldHockey Olympic Qualifier continues on Tuesday in Victoria when Ireland meet Uruguay, Korea take on Italy, and host Canada conclude the day against Malaysia.
WorldHockey Olympic Qualifier, Women – Victoria, Canada
Results day 2: Sunday 27 April 2008
Uruguay - Italy 0:4 (0:0)
37mn Maria Victoria CORSO (PC) 0:1
48mn Maria Victoria CORSO (PC) 0:2
53mn Francesca FAUSTINI (PS) 0:3
68mn Maria Victoria CORSO (PC) 0 :4
Ireland - Canada 2:0 (2:0)
10mn Cathy McKEAN (PC) 1:0
20mn Clare PARKHILL (PC) 2:0
Malaysia - Korea 0:5 (0:3)
5mn Mi Young EOM (PC) 0:1
20mn Jong Eun KIM (PC) 0:2
22mn Jong Eun KIM (FG) 0:3
48mn Mi Hyun PARK (PC) 0:4
56mn Jin Kyoung KIM (FG) 0:5
Standings: 1) Korea 6pts 2) Italy 6pts 3) Ireland 6pts 4) Canada 0pt 5) Malaysia ?pts 6) Uruguay 0pts