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Hockey World League Semi-Final Valencia: Great Britain, Argentina win through to quarters

June 14, 2015
A brace for Bray ends Canada's dreams

Great Britain v Canada 4-2

Argentina v China 3-0

Great Britain continued their perfect start to Pool A with three wins from three outings as they proved too strong for Canada. Sophie Bray led the charge with a brace that under-pinned a 4-2 success.

Both China and Argentina will join Great Britain in the quarter-finals, but it was Las Leonas who took the honours in this encounter, a solid 3-0 win that was pretty much settled in the first half.
In the first Pool A match of the day, Alex Danson continued her fine form with a spectacular touch to Kate Richardson-Walsh’s push to ramp the ball over Kaitlyn Williams in the Canada goal. The North American side replied with their first goal of the tournament when Stephanie Norlander got in front of Giselle Ansley to poke home Abigail Raye’s baseline pass.

Parity lasted just a few minutes, though, with Georgie Twigg getting the key touch amid a melee in front of the Canadian goalkeeper from another corner. From yet another set piece, Sophie Bray got the rebound – with the help of Danson – for 3-1. And the striker extended the lead further when she batted in Susie Gilbert’s pass.

Canada did get one back on the hooter as Brienne Stairs ended her side’s group phase with some positives. They will play either Uruguay or South Africa in the ninth place playoff on Friday while GB continue to head the group going into their final game against China on Tuesday.
Kate Walsh, GB captain, said: "We are a team that needs to gather momentum and that is what we are doing in this tournament. We take one game at a time, so now we will be concentrating on our match against China. They play a very different game to the Europeans – they play in the channels more – so we need to prepare to cope with that style."

Laura Unsworth, who celebrated 50 combined caps (Great Britain and England) said: "It was good for us to play Canada as they are not a team we come up against often. They have a well-structured press and they are aggressive."

Argentina produced a devastating first half performance to see off China with all the goals coming before the big break. They did not have it all their own way in the opening minutes as China made a great start, winning two corners and drawing a stunning high save from Belen Succi.

Las Leonas replied instantly with Rocio Sanchez volleying in a sharp chance. Delfina Merino added the second in glorious style, nicking the ball away from a defender on the right sideline before entering the circle with menace and slamming past Li Dongxiao.

Florencia Habif found a route through the Chinese defences once again from a corner for 3-0 in the 21st minute to cap a golden period for the world number three side.
Thereafter, they found the going a bit tougher as China upped their performance and both sides nullified each other. Nonetheless, both sides will contest the quarter-finals on Thursday, qualifying with a game to spare.

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