England Women lost their opening game at the Sentinel Homes Hockey World League Final tournament in Auckland, going down 2-0 to Germany on Saturday.
Both goals came in the fourth quarter from German penalty corners. Charlotte Stapenhorst found the backboard from Germany’s seventh penalty corner in the 51st minute after England challenged the original decision via Video Referral. England kept their referral but still conceded the penalty corner for a different offence.
Five minutes later England challenged Germany’s eighth penalty corner award, but this time lost the referral, Nike Lorenz getting the final touch from the left-centre of the circle to double Germany’s lead.
Laura Unsworth donned the kicking back bib, but although Surbiton’s Hannah Martin had a goal disallowed in the penultimate minute following a penetrating run through the German defence, England were unable to refer the decision, and Germany ran out the clock.
Both teams had chances in the first quarter, Elisa Gräve crossing the ball into the circle, closely followed by Surbiton’s Sarah Haycroft going close at the other end, both incidents in the ninth minute.
Two minutes later, Sophie Bray’s cross just eluded Martin as England threatened once more.
In the second quarter there was a sudden spate of penalty corners, both teams having three chances to convert, but failing due to a mixture of problems with the routines and good goalkeeping saves.
Erica Sanders forced a save from Julia Ciupka at the end of the first half, but the score remained goalless at half time.
England dominated possession at the start of the third quarter, Martin just deflecting the ball past the right post and Ellie Rayer setting up a chance for England captain, Alex Danson.
But with Olivia Paige sitting in the sin-bin having been shown a yellow card, Germany took the lead and went on to secure the victory. Stapenhorst had also seen yellow in the third quarter, but England failed to take advantage of the power play.
Surbiton’s Giselle Ansley, Martin and Hollie Pearne-Webb were all in England’s starting line-up with Sarah Haycroft coming on in the fifth minute and Emily Defroand entering the pitch two minutes later.
More information about the tournament, including schedules (New Zealand is 13 hours ahead of GMT) can be found at the FIH website here
England’s next match is against Argentina on Sunday morning at 7 am GMT. The tournament is being shown live on BT Sport.