England Women learned a lesson at Lee Valley on Saturday afternoon, Argentina proving deadly from their penalty corner routines and showing that they were equally adept at scoring from open play to run out 5-1 winners in the first Investec International.
Surbiton’s Hannah Martin scored her first international goal in the 22nd minute to equalise.
Argentina attacked the English defence early in the first quarter, Olympic Heroine, Maddie Hinch, back in the England goal, having to be at her best.
The first quarter ended goalless but Agustina Habif gave Las Leonas the lead two minutes into the second quarter, Amy Tennant replacing Hinch in goal. Habif’s deflection at the left post came from Argentina’s second penalty corner of the game.
Five minutes later, Martin equalised, blasting the ball past Belen Succi from the centre-right of the circle from England’s third and what proved to be final penalty corner of the match.
The score remained at 1-1 at half time and through most of the third quarter before Argentina took a grip on the game.
Hinch went back into goal for the third quarter before Tennant was on duty for the final 15 minutes.
Martina Cavallero restored Argentina’s lead in the 44th minute from their fifth penalty corner with another deflection before Las Leonas reinforced their ruthlessness at converting penalty corners three minutes into the final quarter.
Magdalena Fernandez was perfectly positioned at the right post to give Argentina a 3-1 lead and give England plenty to think about.
Having displayed their penalty corner expertise, Argentina scored two open play goals in the final five minutes to complete an emphatic victory.
First, Delfina Merino found the backboard from just inside the circle to score Argentina’s fourth goal in the 56th minute, Eugenia Trinchinetti scoring with just seconds remaining to give the third ranked team in the world victory over the second ranked team.
After the game, Martin described scoring her first ever international goal as “Really special”. She also described her first international game on home soil as ” A pretty good experience playing in front of our home crowd.”
Looking forward to Sunday’s game against the Netherlands (2 pm – sold out), Martin added that “We’ll be looking to put things right. It’s early days and we’re starting to gel together as a team, but it will take time.”
England’s Head Coach, Danny Kerry said, “It was a very valuable lesson, lessons learned at this point in a cycle are even more valuable and the harder they are, the more they resonate. It’s one thing to say to the players ‘this is what we need to do,‘ now they understand the significance of it.”
Surbiton’s Sarah Haycroft and Hollie Webb joined Martin in the England starting line-up, with Jo Hunter coming on as a sub in the fifth minute, joined by Emily Defroand five minutes later.