Lots of opportunities, but lack of finishing sees SA go down to Germany

2012-06-11 00:00

THE South Africa women’s hockey team had plenty of opportunities to score in the Investec London Cup bronze medal match against world number three Germany yesterday, but were outdone by the clinical finishing of their European opponents, eventually going down 6-2.

World number 12 SA took the game to the Germans and had many chances that might have been converted on another day.

Germany were however content to wait for a mistake when the girls in green and gold were on attack high in the field and then top counter-attacked with good effect.

The half-time score was 2-1 to Germany with their successes due to a Natascha Keller penalty corner and Kristina Hillman’s field goal. SA scored in between in this 10-minute period when Dirkie Chamberlain pounced on Pietie Coetzee’s initial strike.

While SA continued to conjure up a steady supply of opportunities after the changeover they only had world record holder Coetzee’s 241st goal in 245 Test matches to show for it.

Germany got four goals in a 19-minute period through Julia Muller’s penalty corner and field goals from Janine Beermann (2) and Katharina Otte.

“It has been an exceptional tournament for us,” said SA assistant coach Fabian Gregory, referring in part to South Africa’s 3-1 upset of world number four and fancied Olympic Games gold medal contenders Great Britain in the opening Pool B match last Tuesday.

“We played very well against Germany in the first half today and while they got four goals in the second half, we had more goal shots,” said Gregory.

“If we are more clinical in our finishing and defend well there is no reason why we can’t get a medal at London 2012.

“I am happy with what we achieved and am excited about what we can still achieve in the build-up to London 2012.”

Marsha Marescia, who showed outstanding form in the team’s engine room and was named player of the tournament, believes London 2012 will be more competitive than Beijing 2008.

“We leave this tournament motivated in knowing there is still work to be done,” said the SA captain.

The SA players now go into a three-week physical training programme at bases in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

They will return to Europe in early July for two unofficial “Test” matches apiece against Holland and Great Britain before a Four Nations event against Germany and London 2012 contenders New Zealand and Belgium.

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