The world number 12 Investec South Africa women’s hockey team might have been edged 1-0 by world number three Germany thanks to Eileen Hoffman’s 30th minute deflection goal in an action-packed Investec London Cup clash in Chiswick, London Wednesday night but they have done enough to ensure a berth in Saturday’s semi-finals.
For world number four Great Britain, who were upset 3-1 by SA in an epic clash Tuesday night, to reach the semis they have to beat Germany by two clear goals in Thursday’s 9 pm SA time final pool match. If they do that, then Germany are out. Great Britain’s other option is to win by one goal after scoring four or more goals. A seven-goal thriller between Germany and GB is unlikely.
The SA defence were outstanding while the SA forwards, with Sulette Damons having a great second half, were playing at pace and with determination up front and deserved at least one goal, particularly after the changeover.
Kate Woods, Dirkie Chamberlain, Marsha Marescia and Pietie Coetzee deserved more but German keeper Kristina Reynolds played a blinder. Germany also had their chances in what was a very even match.
In Wednesday’s earlier match Australia beat Ireland 4-1. Tuesday’s opening round saw world number one Holland beat the Aussie Hockeyroos 2-1 while South Africa upset world number four Great Britain 3-1. Thursday’s other pool fixture in this six-nation event sees Ireland face Holland at 6.30 pm SA time.
The semi-finals are on Saturday and feature the top two teams in each pool with the winners going through to Sunday’s final and the losers tackling each other in the bronze medal match. The teams that end third in their pool will play off for fifth and sixth places on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Great Britain Hockey COO Sally Munday has extended the federation’s unreserved apology to South Africa after playing the wrong anthem on the opening day.
“Great Britain Hockey, the organiser of the Investec London Cup, offers a full and unreserved apology to the South African women’s hockey team and their supporters for mistakenly playing the wrong national anthem before South Africa’s match with Great Britain on Tuesday afternoon,” said Munday.
“The error was made by a contractor responsible for sports presentation at the event. Standard procedure would be to check anthems to be played with visiting teams in advance, however, on this occasion that did not happen and Great Britain Hockey accepts full responsibility.
“Great Britain Hockey and its contractor appreciate the sensitive nature of this unfortunate mistake and we apologise unreservedly for the offence caused. The correct anthem will be played before all of South Africa’s remaining matches beginning with the team’s second fixture against Germany on Wednesday evening.”