The six teams that will compete in the World Cup finals in Long Beach have been determined with one day to spare.
In the evening session of Day 2 in Athens, hosts Greece knew a point would be enough to qualify for the World Cup Finals, and while they ultimately lost on penalties to Australia, a 15-15 draw in regulation time gave them the point they needed to advance to the finals tournament.
In the later game, the American’s proved too strong for Italy; a third quarter blitz from the reigning Olympic Champions sealed the victory (10-6), with Jordan Raney taking the MVP award and scoring half of her team’s goals.
Earlier today, Spain downed China, while Hungary ended the Netherland’s winning streak. You can read about those games here.
Although ranking for Long Beach is still in contention, tomorrow’s games have little bearing on the future of the competition. Instead, there are highly anticipated clashes between the United States and the Netherlands, Spain and Greece, Italy and Hungary and China and Australia.
Day 2, Women’s World Cup 2023 Athens– Group A
United States 10 – 6 Italy (2-1, 1-2, 6-2, 1-1)
United States: A. Johnson, M. Musselman 1, T. Prentice 1, R. Fattal, J. Bonaguidi, M. Steffens 2, E. Ausmus, A. Stryker, D. Mammolito 1, R. Gazzaniga, A. Cohen, J. Raney 5, A. Longan
Italy: A. Condorelli, C. Tabani, G. Gagliardi, S. Avegno 1, L. Cergol, D. Bettini 1, D. Picozzi, V. Gant, V. Palmieri, C. Marletta 3, A. Cocchiere, G. Viacava 1, C. Banchelli
A fantastic third period for the United States sealed a well-earned 10-6 victory over Italy.
Jordan Raney once again was in brilliant form for her national team, scoring five times, as the USA defeated Italy for the second time in a week.
The game was a close encounter, but Team USA went on a run, netting four crucial goals in the third period, to shift the game out of the Italians reach. In the fourth quarter, the Americans denied their opponents any chance of a comeback with some excellent defending.
There wasn’t much action to sink the teeth into after the first quarter; Italy led for a short time, before Team USA took a 2-1 lead via two sensational scores from Jordan Raney.
Italy were level in the second period, thanks to a well-taken penalty from Claudia Marletta. The United States were then awarded a penalty, but Maddie Musselman’s penalty was well stopped by Caterina Banchelli. Musselman made amends after, finding herself unusually on the post on a man-up move 13 seconds from the end of the half. Italy, however, showed good resolve, and went into the intermission level, with Claudia Marletta once again converting from the 5m line (3-3).
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The action heated up in the second half; former Mediterrani player Denise Mammolito levelled the score with a deflected shot that crept over the line. Not long after, Italy had their third penalty of the game, but Claudia Marletta saw her penalty and her rebound, saved.
While two of the game’s main protagonists then secured their hat-tricks—Raney for the USA, and Marletta for Italy—the United States soon took a huge jump away from the Setterosa, with a quick double score for Maggie Steffens, and then yet two more goals from Jordan Raney – the last on the third period buzzer – gave the Yanks daylight for the first time in the match (9-5).
An early goal in the last period from Giulia Viacava was the spark that Italy needed, but after three minutes of excellent defence, the Italians’ fire was extinguished by a score from Tara Prentice – which took the Americans to double-digits, and to the victory.
Day 2, Women’s World Cup 2023 Athens– Group B
Greece 18 – 19 Australia (4-4, 7-5, 1-4, 3-2, PSO: 3-4)
Greece: C. Diamantopoulou, F. Tricha, I.Chydirioti 2, N. Eleftheriadou 3, M. Plevritou, E. Xenaki 3, E. Ninou 7, E. Elliniadi, C. Siouti, V. Plevritou 2, A. Giannopoulou, M. Myriokefalitaki 1, I. Stamatopoulou.
Australia: G. Palm, P. Casey 1, T. Fasala, B.Halligan 5, B. Leeson-Smith 1, A. Andrews 4, C. Andrews 1, A. Ridge 1, Z. Arancini 2, B. McClean, S. Hearn 1, E. Armit 3, G. Longman
Australia put on a super show to upset the hosts Greece with a shoot-out win after a 15-15 draw in regular time.
Having trailed throughout the first half, the Stingers rallied well in the third period to take control of the game. From there, they put up a strong fight against the Greeks, who in the end could only manage to take the game to penalties.
The Stingers held their nerve in the shoot-out, with only one missed penalty from both teams (Margarita Plevritou). It’s the second time that Greece have lost a penalty shoot-out to Australia in the last 12 months, falling in the 5th-8th play-off semi-finals back at the World Championships in Budapest.
Greece were, once again, some way short of their best. However, the point they earned from the regular time draw was all they needed, and they can start to book their flights for the World Cup finals in June. Eirini Ninou was in stunning form, scoring six goals in regulation time, and one penalty.
The win is an important one for the Aussies; although they are a few players short of being at their best, the result will give them confidence that they can continue to defeat Europe’s top teams. Paul Oberman will will hope his team can replicate the same sort of performance tomorrow against China.
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The match started with both sides evenly matched, with Greece taking an early 2-0 and then a 3-1 lead. However, the Stingers showed promise at centre-forward and rallied back to 3-3 and 4-4, thanks in part to a hat-trick from Elle Armit.
In the second period, Australia struggled to stop conceding goals, but they kept adding to their tally keeping pace with the Greeks. Eirini Ninou scored four goals in the quarter, showcasing her shooting prowess with a beautiful lob and a rifled shot from range. The Greeks attempted to pull away, but the Stingers kept fighting back, reducing the deficit to 11-9 before the first half ended.
The third period proved to be a turning point in the match, with Australia asking all the questions and scoring the next four goals to take the lead for the first time in the game (13-12). Bronte Halligan converted spectacularly on the Stingers’ man-up to give her team a 14-12 lead, putting Greece on the back foot.
For the first time in the contest, Greece looked like they might lose the game, but they managed to find the next two goals to level the game at 14-14. Both teams netted once more, forcing the match into penalties. All five of Australia’s penalties were converted, while Greece’s captain, Margarita Plevritou, missed her shot, handing the visitors a rare victory.
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