Women's Super Final 2014, Day 5: USA and Italy to clash in the final

World League

The Olympic title-holder and the reigning European champions will have a showdown in the final as in the semis Team USA thrashed the Australians in less than 10 minutes while Italy played really smart in the second half and beat China again (after Day 1).

For the lower placements, Spain crushed Russia while Canada defeated Brazil despite hitting the posts almost 20 times.


Game 17, 15.00, for places 5-8: Spain vs. Russia 19-6
Quarters: 5-3, 4-2, 3-1, 7-0
Referees: Dion Willis (RSA), Mario Bianchi (ITA)

SPAIN: Laura Ester, Marta Bach, Anna Espar, Roser Tarrago 2, Matile Ortiz 3, Jennifer Pareja 1, Lorena Miranda, Pilar Pena, Andrea Blas 4, Ona Meseguer 2, Carmen Garcia 2, Laura Lopez 5, Patricia Herrera (GK). Head coach: Miguel Oca.
RUSSIA: Anastasia Verkhoglyadova, Olga Trotskaya 2, Ekaterina Prokofyeva 1, Elvina Karimova 1, Kseniia Krimer, Valeriia Kolmakova, Nadezhda Iarondaykina, Evgeniia Khokhriakova, Anna Timofeeva, Anna Grineva, Evgeniya Ivanova 2, Ekaterina Zelentsova, Anna Karnaukh (GK). Head coach: Mikhail Nakoriakov.

Extramen
Spain: 9 for 11
Russia: 1 for 7

Penalties
Spain: –
Russia: 1 for 2

The game started as usual when two disappointed sides meet: the attacks were working, the defences – which require more discipline and concentration – not. At least this was the case until the middle of the second period when they stood at 7-5; twelve goals in twelve minutes, as many as in an entire game in the previous day. But the following minutes brought two more Spanish goals, they went 9-5 up and with the gap opening wide and having not that much at stake, the Russians lost their desire. In the meantime the Spanish found the joy of playing – the rest is told by the partial result: they won the second half 10-1.

FLASHQUOTES:

Miguel Oca, head coach of Spain: “We had a good game yesterday, still, China was better and won. But this is sport: on the following day you have to be ready and we did just that. I’m proud of my team, the girls were on fire and they managed to score goals from ‘impossible shots’ as well. And of course, we all know that this was not the real Russian team, especially in the second half.”


Game 18, 16.30, for places 5-8: Canada vs. Brazil 8-5
Quarters: 0-0, 3-4, 2-0, 3-1
Referees: Danielle Dabbaghian (USA), Toshio Fukumoto (JPN)

CANADA: Nicola Colterjohn, Krystina Alogbo, Katrina Monton, Alexa Tielmann, Monika Eggens, Emma Wright, Joelle Bekhazi, Axelle Crevier, Carmen Eggens 4, Christine Robinson 3, Elyse Lemay-Lavoie, Shae Fournier 1, Jessica Gaudreauit (GK). Head coach: Guy Baker.
BRAZIL: Oliveira Tess, Cecilia Canetti, Marina Zablith, Marina Canetti, Lucianne Barroncas, Izabella Chiappini 3, Amanda Oliveria, Luiza Carvalho 1, Flavia Vigna, Melani Dias 1, Viviane Bahia, Diana Abla, Victoria Chamorro. Head coach: Patrick Oaten.

Extramen
Canada: 3 for 8
Brazil: 1 for 3

Penalties
Canada: 0 for 1
Brazil: –

After the flood of goals seen in the opening game of the day, this one produced the first goalless period of the tournament. Mainly thanks to the Canadians who hit the posts seven times in the first eight minutes and later also maintained their special relation with the woodwork, ended the game with around 20 hits altogether. This made them a bit tense while the easy-going Brazilians made good use of that and even led at halftime. However, the second half went back to normal, the experienced Canadians cooled down and won these two quarters 5-1. Naturally, three of their goals came after shots hitting the post but bouncing in.

FLASHQUOTES:

Guy Baker, head coach of Canada: “It was way too slow a start, the third and fourth periods were good. In the beginning we had a lot of shots hitting the bar, at least 80 per cent. We had good opportunities, controlled the game, we just couldn’t score at the beginning but hung around. We put a lot of effort into the previous games, we are a young team, we are not in our full training programme yet, so we need more time.”

Patrick Oaten, head coach of Brazil: “We’ve just come together as a team, and try to put things together while we are here. Like I said yesterday, it’s a first time experience, we are working hard, learning each others’ plays. Once we start getting the responsibilities, and everybody starts to understand where she supposed to be and what her role is, we’ll be fine on defence. Playing these games is hugely important for Brazil, moving forward towards Rio.”

Joelle Bekhazi (CAN), player: “We didn’t start very strongly, it gave Brazil a kind of hope. We knew we were stronger, so we kept fighting, we didn’t stop and that let us take the lead later.”


Game 19, 18.00, Semi Final: Australia vs. United States 4-13
Quarters: 0-4, 2-4, 1-3, 1-2
Referees: Meng Anlong (CHN), J. F. Buch (ESP)

AUSTRALIA: Lilan Hedges, Eliesha Browne, Hannah Buckling, Jayde Appel, Bronte Halugan, Bronwen Knox, Rowie Webster 2, Glencora McGhie 2, Bronte Colenso, Ashleigh Southern, Jessica Zimmerman, Keesja Gofers, Kelsey Wakefield (GK). Head coach: Greg McFadden.
USA: Samantha Hill, Alys Williams 1, Melissa Seidemann, Rachel Fattal 3, Caroline Clark 1, Maggie Steffens 2, Makenzie Fischer 2, Kiley Neushul 2, Jillian Kraus 1, Kaleigh Gilchirst, Annike Dries, Kameryn Craig 1, Elizabeth Keeve (GK). Head coach: Adam Krikorian.

Extramen
Australia: 2 for 12
USA: 4 for 6

The two sides had a series of huge clashes, mostly in the medal rounds of the major tournaments but few had been virtually decided by the middle of the second period. Today this was the case: the US led 7-0, they were 4-0 up after the first and added three more in a span of 1:48min in the second. The whirlwind blew away the excitements, the Australians couldn’t start a new match, so to say. They lost each quarter, missed the majority of their extras while the US players were much fresher both physically and mentally, their defence worked properly, without any blackouts. This 9-goal win was a perfect revenge by the USA team for their 7-5 loss to the Aussies in the final of the intercontinental qualifying tournament, held a couple of weeks ago.

FLASHQUOTES:

Greg McFadden, head coach of Australia: “USA was way too good. They came out strong, our defence was very disappointing, just as our efforts in the first quarter. I knew after our yesterday’s game that we’re going to struggle. We knew that we had to start well to be in the contest, but unfortunately we didn’t, they started well and that was the end of the contest.”

Adam Krikorian, head coach of USA: “Obviously, the first quarter was great, we were executing well, but in some ways it doesn’t feel right, as I don’t think we got Australia’s best game today. They can play much better and missed a couple of players so we can’t look into it too much. However, anytime you beat a great team like Australia, it’s a good win.”

Rachel Fattal (USA), player: “It’s so great we get a win. We improved in each game as we played and got better as a team. Today we just tried to play as hard as we could, keep our momentum no matter what the scoreboard showed.”


Game 20, 19.30, Semi Final: China vs. Italy 8-9
Quarters: 3-3, 3-1, 0-4, 2-1
Referees: Mark Koganov (AZE), Amaral Toffoli (BRA)

CHINA: Yang Jun, Li Shujin, Liu Ping, Sun Yujun 3, Yiong Dunhan, Sun Yating 1, Song Donglun 1, Zhang Cong 2, Zhao Zihan, Tian Jianing 1, Wang Xinyan, Niu Guangnan, Peng Lin (GK). Head coach: Rick Azevedo.
ITALY: Giulia Gorlero, Federica Radicchi 1, Arianna Garibotti 1, Elisa Queirolo 2, Silvia Motta, Rosaria Aiello, Tania di Mario 1, Roberta Bianconi 2, Guilia Emmolo 2, Valeria Palmieri, Aleksandra Cotti, Teresa Frassinetti, Laura Teani (GK). Head coach: Fabio Conti.

Extramen
China: 4 for 7
Italy: 2 for 5

Penalties
China: –
Italy: 1 for 1

On the opening day Italy beat China with a bit of ease after a tight first half (it was 12-9). This semi final was a different game – though the outcome is the same: the Italians stunned the hosts in the second half. In the first half everything went into China’s way, towards the end of the second Sun Yating scored with her trademark backhanded shot for 6-4 so the capacity crowd (even the steps were taken) was quite noisy. Few guessed that silence would rule in the next half hour and China’s next goal would come in the dying seconds only. The hosts’ sad story started with a missed man-up and an ensuing counter, finished by Quierolo so it was 6-5 instead of 7-4. And it continued with a switch in the Italian defensive format. The Setterosa applied the ‘M zone’ - a player covered the dangerous centre forward from the front, two moved inside the outside shooters, disturbed them and also imposed a threat that they could launch a 2 on 1 attack. The Chinese couldn’t answer this tactical challenge, they ran out of ideas, while the Italians quickly equalised with a fine shot by Quierolo, Emmolo put away an extra later and Bianconi finished a counter, while the hosts couldn’t set up any scoring chance. Italy’s 4-0 rush demoralised their rivals, it went on the same way in the fourth and Radicchi’s shot decided everything with 1:35 minutes to go. The Chinese had a very late surge, buried two man-ups but the second came only 10 seconds before the end and the Italians kept the ball for the time remaining.

FLASHQUOTES:

Rick Azevedo, head coach of China: “I feel very comfortable with our defence, while in offence, I think, the girls just succumbed to the pressure. It’s the first time for a lot of them to be in such a situation, they had wide open shots but didn’t take them. Had they taken them, I’m sure we would have gone into the finals, as we were as good in defence as they were, we did a good job in swimming. You just have to take the shots, score or not, you have to take the shots when they are there. But I thought inexperience was the key at that point, we were afraid to take the shots and that hesitation allowed them to position themselves and make the saves or the blocks. For us it’s still a huge step forward, our defence is getting better, I was able to do a nice use of the bench, our 15 year-old player scored the last goal, so I think it’s all positive.”

Fabio Conti, head coach of Italy: “A big congratulation for China, they have a very strong team and it’s not easy to play against them, especially not your fifth game on the fifth day when all teams are getting more and more tired. Still, I’m happy with my girls, they were strong in mind, stayed calm and this was the key of our victory.”

Tania di Mario (ITA), captain: “We knew from the beginning that it would be very hard because we play with China – in China. So we prepared to prevent them from using their best tools, for example to pass the ball into the centre. We had luck and we were clever – this is why we could win.”


Day 6 schedule

For places 7-8
9.00: Russia vs. Brazil

For places 5-6
10.30: Spain vs. Canada

Bronze medal game
12:00: China vs. Australia

Final
13:30: Italy vs. United States