Hockey: Australia triumph in tense final: England must face difficult questions after Women's World Cup

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The Independent Online
AUSTRALIA, with two goals inside a minute, yesterday won the Women's World Cup for the first time, beating Argentina in a tense and at times colourless final here.

After a goalless first half, the game came alive in the 18th minute. A casual clearance by Marisa Lopez was collected by Michelle Andrews, Lopez conceding a penalty stroke which Andrews subsequently converted.

Within a minute, a brilliant run by Jackie Pereira from the half-way line ended with the player registering her 96th international goal. And so Argentinian hopes of adding the world title to their under- 21 success faded, although their Atlanta Olympic Games prospects must be high.

The United States, who took the wooden spoon in the last competition, beat Germany 2-1 to claim third place - their first World Cup medal - converting their only two penalty corners. Tracey Fuchs followed up Barbara Marois's strike and then Marois scored the second with a direct shot.

Although Heike Latzsch outran the defence to score a spectacular goal just before the break, the American defence, just managed to hold firm during the second half.

England claimed one of the last two Olympic qualifying places on Saturday when they won a penalty-stroke shoot- out 2-0 after finishing level with Ireland at a goal apiece. Yesterday they beat Canada, who have also qualified for Atlanta, 1-0 to finish in ninth place here. But it was the same old story of midfield dominance and woeful finishing.

After an indifferent opening, the arrival of Jane Sixsmith - surprisingly missing from the starting line-up - added a little sparkle to the England attack. It was pressure from Sixsmith in the 32nd minute that resulted in England's first penalty corner of the game, Jill Atkins converting with a powerful drive.

Although both sides were living dangerously thereafter, England managed to preserve their lead. There are many questions left to be answered, though, following their most disappointing finish in the tournament.

Ireland, meanwhile, came from behind to beat Russia 3-2 with Sarah Kelleher, the captain, scoring twice and Jeanette Turner, a substitute, putting home the winner to the delight of the large Irish crowd. They finished in 11th place.

ENGLAND: H Rose (Ipswich); J Atkins (Bradford Swithenbank); L Youngs (Ipswich), H Whalley (First Personnel Sutton Coldfield), C Cook (Hightown), S Lister (Ipswich, capt)), K Johnson (Balsam Leicester), S Wright (Slough), T Cullen (Hightown), J Smith (Chelmsford), A Bennett (Slough). Substitutes used: J Sixsmith (First Personnel Sutton Coldfield), S Gibson (Trojans), M Davies (First Personnel Sutton Coldfield), T Miller (Clifton).

CANADA: D Whitten; N Colaco, T Croxford, S Davies, L Czenczek, D Covey, S Creelman (capt), L Kopeck, H Jones, R Low, S Reid. Substitutes used: M Colaco, T Holt, D Anderson, J Brough.

Umpires: J McDonald (Scot), N Kato (Jap).