Germany’s women will go into next week’s FIH Pro League Grand Final event in Amsterdam on the back of a hard-earned 3-2 away victory against a spirited USA team on Saturday evening, with goals from Hannah Granitzki, Franzisca Hauke and Rebecca Grote giving Xavier Reckinger’s team all three points in front of a sell-out crowd at the Spooky Nook Sports Complex in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
There was little to choose between the two sides in the opening period, with USA (FIH World Ranking: 12) giving as good as they got against a Germany (WR:5) team that arrived in Lancaster with one eye very much on next week’s showpiece event at the Wagener Stadium, where they face a semi-final clash against world champions the Netherlands. The Americans arguably shaded the first period and made the first mark on the score-board early in the second quarter, with Danielle Grega tapping into an open goal after some excellent work from Mackenzie Allessie. Germany needed less than two minutes to find their equaliser as Hannah Granitzki worked her way into the USA circle before hitting a rocket-shot over the right shoulder of American goalkeeper Kelsey Bing and into the roof of the net.
Germany scored twice in five third quarter minutes to open up a 3-1 lead thanks to a deceptive effort from Franzisca Hauke and Rebecca Grote’s low penalty corner drag-flick. However, USA reduced the deficit on the stroke of quarter-time when Ashley Hoffman’s penalty corner drag-flick clipped a German stick before sailing into the goal, giving the home fans reason to believe that a come-back could be on the cards.
The home favourites put the German defence under serious pressure early in the fourth period but failed to take advantage of a trio of penalty corners. Germany missed two penalty corner chances of their own to wrap things up late on, but in the end it mattered little as Die Danas held on for their ninth win in their 16 FIH Pro League matches.
“It was a really really hard match for us”, said Germany’s Player of the Match Franzisca Hauke. “We’ve been here for four days and we were really exhausted. We did all we can and we really want to prepare for the Grand Final, so we are really happy that we got the three points. They [USA] are a really good team, really athletic so we had to run a lot, but we are really happy that we won. Next week we play against the Netherlands … they are the best team in the world at the moment, but nobody knows what can happen and anyone can win.”
Before the start of today’s match, the two competing teams came together to make a special presentation in recognition of Olympic Day, which takes place globally on Sunday 23rd June. ‘Sticks for the World’ is an initiative that is part of the FIH’s global development programme ‘Hockey4LIFE’, which celebrates the values of friendship, excellence and respect. As part of the initiative, players are invited to donate hockey equipment to development programmes around the world, supporting field hockey and encouraging people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to start, play and stay in the game. Sticks were donated by both teams to assist development programmes in California in an effort to help increase participation in the lead-up to the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games.
Images: Copyright Mark Palczewski/World Sport Pics