Field hockey — World CupSunday, June 15, 2014
Aymar scores twice in 2-1 win
Luciana Aymar played her last World Cup match scoring twice and giving Argentina the bronze medal. The Netherlands beat Australia to clinch title. Argentina’s men’s team faces England today in the bronze medal match.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Luciana Aymar scored both goals and put up a great performance to lead Argentina to a 2-1 victory over the United States for 3rd place in her 35th and final World Cup game. Five minutes from the end she went off with a cramp, announced over the loudspeaker to great applause, but she was sent back again a couple of minutes later in the dramatic final minutes when the US were getting nearer and nearer to an equalizer which would have forced an Australian-type penalty shoot-out.
Aymar touched in a shot from Rocío Sánchez Moccia in eight minutes, but Laureen Crandall equalized from her team’s only first half penalty corner three minutes later. It was also the only shot of the first half at reserve goalkeeper María Mutio who coach Carlos Retegui lined up to give her a game, although it seemed risky in such a vital encounter. Aymar scored the winner in 21 minutes. Argentina dribbled better, but generally had two rivals on top of them, while Aymar had three.
Argentina had five badly taken penalty corners (against two) and bad passing in the second half put their lead at risk, although the defence played well. But Argentina was hardly able to enter the rival circle during the second half and managed no proper goal shots, while the US created plenty of danger with the final circle penetration count being 26-20 in their favour. Goalkeeper Mutio did make a number of difficult saves in the second half, but the victory was in doubt right up to the final seconds.
The question on everybody’s lips was whether this was Aymar’s last international tournament match. Retegui would not say, but she said that they were arranging a farewell match for her at the Champions Trophy in Mendoza in December and that she would play in the tournament. And next year’s Pan-American Games? She laughed at me when saying goodbye and said: “Oh, no, no!” But who knows?
The Netherlands were always in command to beat Australia 2-0 in the final with goals by Maartje Paumen (penalty stroke) — the tournament top scorer with seven — and Jacky Schoenaker in 12 and 29 minute. Australia’s few attacks were fruitless.
The tournament’s top voted players were: best player Ellen Hoog (Netherlands); best goalkeeper Rachel Lynch (Australia); best U-21 player Florencia Habif (Argentina).
In yesterday’s other games, India beat Korea 3-0 for the men’s 9th place, while New Zealand beat China 4-0 for the women’s 5th place. Today, Netherlands and Australia meet again in the men’s final with Argentina playing England for 3rd place at 7.30 (Argentine time).