Quarterfinals day produced four top class matches with some tremendous skills on display but the performance of the day was that of the German team as they put on a classy show to outgun reigning champions Argentina 4-1.
The South Americans were the favourites to go through to the semi-final, but Germany pulled out all the stops in an tense and entertaining match that twisted and turned till the final hooter.
Germany took the lead in the 11th minute after a series of penalty corners, and an Argentina defence that had been reduced to three on the line. Pauline Heinz was the scorer, lifting a rebound over Lourdes Perez in the Argentina goal.
Argentina then won a penalty stroke, but Mali Wichmann in the German goal was equal to the challenge and made a fine save.
Just three minutes into the second quarter, Argentina were stunned when Carlotta Sippel doubled Germany’s lead after Heinz sent a cross into the circle and Sippel deflected it home.
Argentina kept pushing and Valentina Raposa’s fierce shot was saved by Wichmann, who was playing a huge role in maintaining her side’s lead.
That lead was extended when Lilly Stoffelsma scored another penalty corner, rifling her shot straight down the circle past Perez.
Despite being 3-0 down, Argentina looked far from beaten. Wichmann was brought into action time and again but even she couldn’t stop the clever deflection from penalty corner injector Maria Cerundolo after Valentina Raposo hit the initial shot with pinpoint accuracy back to Cerundolo as she ran to the goal.
Germany reclaimed the three goal cushion when Aina Kresken scored a fantastic goal to give her side a 4-1 lead. The ball was played straight down the pitch and Kresken received, turned and fired home in the 26th minute.
All five goals in the match were scored in the first half.
As the third quarter progressed, there was a definite change in atmosphere. While the German players were looking confident and composed, Argentina were beginning to look like a team who had lost their self-belief. They continued to attack, but without cohesion, while the Germans were organised.
A rasping penalty corner in the 54th minute from Maria Adorno was saved by Wichmann and then, seconds later, the tall goalkeeper was down low, preventing the ball creeping in at the far post.
Argentina removed their goalkeeper with five minutes left and pushed forwards but Germany were giving a masterclass in defending and game management and there was no way through for the reigning champions.
India beat South Korea 3-0
In the first quarterfinal of the day, favourites took on the tricky two-time champions from South Korea. But it was the table toppers from Pool D who came up with a commanding 3-0 win against the Koreans.
The first came from Mumtaz Khan who was well-positioned to guide home Salima Tete’s slapped penalty corner. Lalrindiki doubled the score with a simple tap in after an error by Eunji Kim in the Korean goal.
The trailing team tightened their play in the second and third quarters. In the 40th minute though, an aerial into the circle found Beauty Dung, who actually mis-hit the ball but in doing so sent a perfect pass to Sangita Kumari, who had no hesitation in firing home to complete the scoring.
Netherlands beat South Africa 5-0
The scoreline suggests a dominant performance but South Africa posed a challenge to the Netherlands throughout this quarterfinal, with only their finishing in front of goal preventing a closer result.
Jip Dicke opened the scoring to round of a typical sweeping Dutch counter-attacking move in the fourth minute.
She then scored her 12th of the tournament 10 minutes later to double the lead.
South Africa continued to create good chances for themselves, but the finishing was lacking.
Just short of the third quarter buzzer, Noor Omrani scored the third for the Netherlands, and Luna Fokke scored two penaly corners in the 44th and 56th minutes to wrap up the match.
England beat USA 2-1
USA got off to a fabulous start when they took the lead through Ashley Sessa in the third minute. The energy from the team was palpable as they took the game to their opponents in the opening exchanges and the penalty corner that resulted in a goal was slick and well-rehearsed.
Two consecutive penalty corners for England put pressure on the USA defence and then on the third attempt, England captain Millie Giglio was able to create the space to whip home a reverse stick shot that went straight through the pads of USA goalkeeper Annabel Skubisz.
The deciding goal came in the 44th minute. Vicki McCabe won a free hit and ran at full pace into the USA circle. Her cross landed perfectly for Maddie Axford to nudge home.
Both matches will take place on Sunday, April 10.
17:00 hrs IST - India vs Netherlands
19:15 hrs IST - Germany vs England