HWC2018: Australia Women's Hockey team suffer semi-final shootout heartbreak
Photo Credits : Hockey Australia
The Hockeyroos have heartbreakingly missed out on a spot in the 2018 Women’s World Cup in a penalty shootout after fighting back for a brave 1-1 draw with the Netherlands in Sunday morning’s (AEST) semi-final in London.

Australia couldn’t re-produce their quarter-final penalty shootout heroics against Argentina, going down 3-1 in the shootout to the world number one Dutch who’ll face Ireland in the decider from 1:30am (AEST) Monday morning.

The Hockeyroos produced a gutsy display led by goalkeeper Rachael Lynch who made numerous saves to withstand waves of Dutch pressure, before Georgina Morgan scored a 54th minute equaliser – to Kelly Jonker’s 22nd minute opener – to send the game to a shootout.

Dutch keeper Josine Koning was the hero in the shootout for the reigning world champions, denying Brooke Peris, Kaitlin Nobbs and Karri McMahon, before Lidewij Welten converted her attempt to seal the win.

The Hockeyroos will now play Spain in the third place game from 11pm (AEST) on Sunday night.

Australia coach Paul Gaudoin said: “We were playing the best in the world, we knew it was a challenge and I thought we took it up to them.

“It wasn’t always pretty. We’ve got plenty to work on but I think there’s some belief that we can do some things in the next few years.”

Australia started the contest brightly, with Jodie Kenny firing into the crossbar from a penalty corner in the second minute.

The Dutch hit back, with Lynch forced into a good save from Caia van Maasakker’s first quarter drag flick.

After a tight opening period, the Netherlands were dominant in the second, going ahead with Marloes Keetels broke down the right before cutting back for Jonker to convert.

Lynch made excellent second quarter saves from Welten and Eva de Goede to ensure it only remained 1-0 at the main break.

The Dutch pressure continued in the third, with Welten testing Lynch from an angle, before the Hockeyroos keeper forced de Waard wide when in behind the Australia defence.

Lynch saved low from World Cup top scorer Kitty van Male in the 38th minute, before Stephanie Kershaw sent a warning down the other end with a shot which brought out a save from Koning.

Lynch was heroic again with a 51st minute double save to thwart Welten and Keetels, before Australia levelled after Grace Stewart had done well to win a short corner.

Savannah Fitzpatrick provided the injection which Nobbs trapped perfectly, allowing Morgan to power her low drag flick to Koning’s right and into the backboard for 1-1.

Australia were buoyed by the goal and pressed for a winner but scores couldn’t be split, coming down to the shootout.

Netherlands 1 (Jonker 22’)
Australia 1 (Morgan 54’)

Shootouts
Netherlands: Matla X, van der Heuvel O, van Geffen O, de Waard X, Welten X
Australia: Bates X, Peris O, Nobbs O, McMahon O

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