The two finalists from the most recent European Championships in Split bounced back well from yesterday’s damaging defeats with impressive performances today.
In Group B, Greece went head-to-head with a spirited Australian side. The match was a closely contested affair, with both teams looking a bit sluggish. Despite this, Greece remained composed and took their chances when they came, securing a well-deserved 10-7 victory.
In the Group A game, Spain took a commanding 15-7 win over China. The first half was an evenly matched, however, the Spanish showed their experience and quality in the second half, wearing down their opponents into defeat.
Later on today, the two undefeated teams in Group B, the Netherlands and Hungary, will lock horns, followed by the tournament’s final match between Italy and the United States.
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Day 3, Women’s World Cup 2023 Rotterdam – Group A
Spain 15 – 7 China (2-1, 3-4, 6-1, 4-1)
Spain: L. Ester, C. Nogue, P. Prats, B. Ortiz 4, N. Perez, P. Crespi 1, E. Ruiz 3, P. Pena, J. Forca 3, P. Camus 1, A. Ruiz 2, P. Leiton 1, M. Terre
China: J. Zhang, X. Wang, J. Yan, D. Xiong, B. Lu, S. Wang, Z. Deng 2, H. Wang, S. Yan 4, S. Nong 1, Q. Zhong, J. Zhang, W. Dong
Spain bounced back from their surprise defeat to Italy with a commanding 15-7 win over China.
The game was close thing in the first half, with both teams level. However, a 10-score second half from Europe’s best side undid all of China’s good work.
Once again Bea Ortiz led the charge for Spain with a quad of goals. Judith Forca on the right, and Elena Ruiz on the left, both added hat-tricks.
While China have lost three from three in Rotterdam, Charis Pavlidis will take a lot of positives from this first three days of World Cup action. As he takes his new national team back to his homeland next week, you can be sure that they’ll only get better in the 5th-8th group.
Neither side threatened each other in the first five minutes of the game, however, the Spanish gingerly found the first two scores, with Forca forcing home from close range, before Bea Ortiz rifled her shot from the left perimeter. China had held their own in the first eight minutes, and Siya Yan’s well taken effort ensured they were present on the scoresheet after eight minutes (2-1).
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The Chinese found a good rhythm in the second, bagging the first three scores to jump into a 4-2 lead. However, China’s momentum was short-lived, with Bea Ortiz finding two late scores in the half to level proceedings at 5-5.
In the second half, it was now the turn of the reigning European Champions to assert some dominance. Judith Forca (Spain) and Zewen Deng (China) both converted for their respective teams, before Spain’s formidable centre-forwards, Paula Leiton and Paula Camus put Spain up by two scores (8-6). Spain then stepped up a gear, with Ariadna Ruiz and younger sister Elena netting three quick goals to take the game away from China (11-6).
Both teams netted into the last period via their number nines, with Forca adding her third for Spain and Siya Yan adding her fourth of the game. The La Furia Roja, however, were now in cruise control, and three goals in the remaining three minutes completed a comprehensive display for Miki Oca’s side.
Day 3, Women’s World Cup 2023 Rotterdam – Group B
Greece 10 – 7 Australia (3-4, 1-0, 4-2, 2-1)
Greece: C. Diamantopoulou, E. Fountontou 1, E. Elliniadi 1, N. Eleftheriadou 3, M. Plevritou 1, E. Xenaki 2, E. Ninou, F. Angelidi, C. Siouti, V. Plevritou 2, A. Giannopoulou, M. Myriokefalitaki, I. Stamatopoulou.
Australia: G. Palm, P. Casey 1, T. Fasala, S. Hearn, B. Leeson-Smith 1, A. Andrews 2, C. Andrews 1, A, Ridge, Z. Arancini 1, B. McClean, S. Pontre, E. Armit 1, G. Longman.
Greece made sure of leaving Rotterdam with a victory, defeating Australia 10-7 in a feisty first game on the final day in the Netherlands.
Despite both teams entering the game on the heels of defeats, the physical encounter saw a lack of intensity from either side. The match was marked by a disappointing lack of clinical finishing from both teams, with several opportunities going begging.
Of the two teams, though, it was the young Greek side that had the stamina throughout the course of the game. Nikoleta Eleftheriadou led the charge for Greece with a hat-trick, while her Olympiacos teammates, Vasiliki Plevritou and Eleni Xenaki, contributed with two goals apiece.
Despite their struggles in the first phase of the World Cup, Alexia Kammenou’s squad displayed superior quality in transition and ultimately prevailed.
The Stingers failed to take advantage of their periods of dominance. Mediterrani goalkeeper Gabi Palm put in a superb performance throughout the game, making two penalty saves.
Paul Oberman’s team suffered another setback when Sofia Pontre appeared to sustain a head injury during the game, adding to their growing injury list. They were also without the services of their keystone, Bronte Halligan, who was absent from yesterday’s and today’s games due to illness.
Both teams will now drop into the 5th-8th play-off group in Athens, but crucially, both teams can still book a place to the World Cup Finals in Long Beach.
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Australia got off to a flying start, netting three goals in the opening minutes of the game, thanks to impressive team moves finished off by Elle Armit, Abby Andrews, and Zoe Arancini. However, Greece managed to get a foothold in the match with Nikoleta Eleftheriadou’s double score, including one from a 5m penalty. Charlize Andrews, who plays professionally in Greece, struck a well-executed man-up move on the left, but Greece responded late in the quarter with a strike from Vasiliki Plevritou to cancel out the goal.
The second quarter saw neither team take control of the match, despite having several opportunities to score. Greece eventually equalised after taking advantage of a lapse in the Stingers’ defence, with Eleni Xenaki finishing off a one-on-one after making a long swim from the halfway line.
The third quarter saw an intensification of efforts by both sides to break the deadlock, with Greece remaining a constant threat on the counter. The deadlock was eventually broken by Greece with a decisive breakaway in the closing minutes of the period, with Vasiliki Plevritou’s deft lob followed by a penalty converted by Elena Xenaki to put Greece two goals up.
Early in the final period, Eleftheria Fountontou dealt a significant blow to the Stingers with her second goal, putting Greece three goals ahead at 9-6. Although Gabi Palm made a spectacular second penalty save from Nikoleta Eleftheriadou, Eleftheriadou eventually found the back of the net for her third goal in the closing seconds of the match, securing the victory for Alexia Kammenou’s team.
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