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England lose in penalty thriller
Argentina 2 Germany 0
Netherlands 1 England 1 – Netherlands win 4-3 on penalties
Japan 2 Spain 1
Valiant England matched reigning world champions the Netherlands for much of their world cup semi-final match only to lose in a penalty shootout.
The Dutch had a handful of chances in a goalless first half, but it was England who took the lead in the 56th minute when Hannah MacLeod deflected in a Crista Cullen cross. The Netherlands equalised from a Maartje Paumen corner rocket five minutes later. There was no score in extra time, then it was the dreaded penalty shootout.
Dutch keeper Joyce Sombroek (pictured) save penalties from Charlotte Craddock and Kate Walsh. Beth Storry made one excellent save (from Lidewij Welten) but Kim Lammers netted her penalty to send the Dutch into the final.
England coach Danny Kerry said he was "incredibly proud" of his team. "A classic mistake of youth led to penalty corner and it is in those moments that semi finals are lost and won. Hopefully in two year's time we will be in another semi-final," he said.
Midfielder Helen Richardson said: "It's hard to reflect as a player at a time like this, but I will try. This team has come an incredibly long way in a short space of time. In 11 years of international hockey this is the closest we have taken Holland in a world or European level tournament. I know the whole team are extremely proud of each other and how we have applied ourselves over the last ten months and in the lead up to this tournament. I'm confident we are going to go from strength to strength and just become a better team."
For almost everyone in the Estadio Mundial the penalty shootout was a mere hors d'oeuvre
to the Argentina Germany semi. Germany held up the blue tide for a while until the almost inevitable brilliant goal from Luciana Aymar set las Leonas on their way in the 25th minute. Rosario Luchetti added a second in the 63rd minute and Claudia Burkart scored one for the Germans in the 69th – just to twitch the nerves a little.
In the 11/12th place playoff a tetchy Spain continued their woeful form to lose 2-1 to Japan. The Japanese second goal (68th minute, Kaori CHIBA) was doubly welcome with most of the crowd recognising Japan's endeavour and with nearly everyone truly appalled at the prospect of extra time. Spain took the lead in the 52nd minute with a corner goal (Montse Cruz), while Japan equalised with a straight-hit PC goal in the 62nd (Ai Murakami) – old school, we love it!