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Luciana Aymar retires in emotional match

Luciana Aymar retires in emotional match

Posted by Juan Gavasa on December 09, 2014

Argentina beat Australia 3-1 on penalties after a 1-1 draw (repeating the result of their pool match) and the heroine was once again goalkeeper Belén Succhi who saved three of the penalty shootout attempts, while captain Luciana Aymar was the best field player in her last international match.

Both were named best players of the tournament in their positions, while Carla Rebecchi was named top scorer with five goals although Australia’s Jodie Kenny had scored the same number.

Argentina sometimes defended with all 11 players behind the 25 yards line, but quickly turned into attack. Yet Australia had the closer chances and forced Succhi into some difficult saves. Australia took the lead four minutes after the start of the second half through Kathryn Slattery, but Florencia Habif, one of the upcoming stars, equalized five minutes later, following one of Argentina’s two penalty corners. The goal seemed to revitalize Argentina who were being outplayed by Australia which in total had 23 circle entries against 19 and also two penalty corners.

In the penalty shootout, Aymar, Rebecchi and Silvina D’Elía netted Argentina’s goals while Australian captain Casey Eastham scored and Succhi saved their team’s other three attempts.

 Photo: AP

In the bronze medal match, the Netherlands dominated most of the match with 27 circle entries to 15, but only beat New Zealand 2-1 for 3rd place. The Dutch scorers were Xan de Waard and Lidewij Welten in 11 and 16 minutes, none from three penalty corners, while Sophie Cooks replied in 29 minutes from the first of New Zealand’s two penalty corners and her team had chances to equalize in the final quarter.

England took 5th place with a penalty decider after drawing 1-1 with China (6th). Shona McAllin put England ahead after 14 minutes and China equalized in 42 through Qiuxia Cui. The shootout went to sudden death at 2-2 with Laura Unsworth scoring the 3-2 winner. Germany were 7th, beating Japan (8th) for 7th place.

“Luciana y Las Leonas provocaron un contagio muy fuerte”, opina su biógrafo. “Antes el hockey en Argentina era un deporte elitista. Si bien Lucha es de clase media, ahora pasa que cualquiera puede jugar al hockey. Antes en las escuelas las chicas jugaban al vóley o al cestobol (variante argentina del baloncesto femenino), y ahora juegan al hockey, hasta en las públicas”, describe el también editor del periódico Olé.

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