The Hockeyroos have progressed to the 2018 Women’s World Cup semi-finals after a dramatic shootout victory over Argentina in Thursday morning’s (AEST) quarter-final clash in London.
Brooke Peris held her nerve to convert the decisive penalty in sudden death to clinch a 4-3 win over the world number three Argentines.
Hockeyroos goalkeeper Rachael Lynch had saved Australia from elimination when she denied Magdalena Fernandez with scores at 3-3 and Argentina having the final penalty attempt before sudden death.
The cagey contest had ended 0-0 after 60 minutes, with Argentina edging the better of the chances in a tight encounter.
However the fifth-ranked Hockeyroos came out on top with Krissy Bates, Rosie Malone, Karri McMahon (after Jodie Kenny was fouled for a penalty stroke) and Peris converting their penalties.
The victory means Australia will play either the Netherlands (world number one) or England (world number two) in the semi-finals from 11pm AEST on Saturday LIVE on FOX SPORTS.
Penalty hero Peris said: “I just focused on what I needed to do. She’s a very good goalkeeper. I had a plan in mind and I just did what I wanted to do. I got the result so I’m pretty happy.”
“We hung in there. It does come down to one-on-ones sometimes and you’ve got to get the job done.”
In a game of few chances, Argentina came closest in the opening period with efforts from Agustina Albertarrio and Rocio Sanchez.
Julieta Jankunas’ 22nd minute deflection went wide but had Lynch sweating, while the Hockeyroos keeper had to save to deny Eugenia Trinchinetti shortly after.
The Hockeyroos came close early in the third period when Stephanie Kershaw’s dangerous ball inside the circle almost found captain Emily Smith, with Argentina keeper Belen Succi intervening.
Australia’s best chance came in the 37th minute when WA forward Kathryn Slattery produced a reverse stick shot on the turn which forced a good save from Succi.
The first penalty corner of the game came late in the third quarter, with Argentina winning another in the 50th minute which ended up in the back of the net but Bianca Donati’s slap was disallowed for being too high.
The Hockeyroos came close again in the 53rd minute when Kenny laid off to Emily Hurtz from a short corner, but the Victorian goal poacher’s slap shot was saved low by a diving Succi.
When Succi swept away Madison Fitzpatrick’s attempt and Albertarrio converted Argentina’s third, Las Leonas held a 2-1 lead after three shots each.
Malone and Julia Gomes traded goals to make it 3-2 to Argentina, before Kenny was toppled by Succi, with McMahon stepping up to convert to put the pressure on Las Leonas with one attempt left before sudden death.
Lynch kept Australia in the contest, denying Fernandez, before then thwarting Albertarrio to allow Bates the opportunity to win it, only to be saved.
Australia’s opportunity came shortly after, albeit after a long delay for a video referral from Merino’s penalty, which was re-taken but not converted.
Up stepped, Peris to score and usher in wild celebrations.