The second week of the World Championships was a mix bag. We were lucky to scrape through the quarter finals against China. China are a team we have played numerous of times over the years and have also met them in the Beijing and London Olympic Quarter Finals. On all occasions we have come away with the win, seeing both London and the World Champs quarters end in penalty shootouts.
Penalty shootouts are very emotionally charged. Unfortunately it comes down to individual brilliance or an individual’s mistake. It’s just you and the opposition out in the middle of the pool. It can either be eerily quite or deafeningly loud. When a team games gets whittled down to a loss or win on a single individual it can seem outrageously unfair. A player may have had the best game of there life and an inch too wide, too narrow, too high or too low can see that player lose the game for the team.
After surviving the quarter we were set to meet the USA in the semi. While a tough game, poor attacking options left us lacking in the second half. After facing a disappointing result, our job was not over. The bronze medal match vs Italy was still looming. Our final match started off quite well, although we missed some early opportunities. After trading goals with the Italians for the entire game, the final hooter sounded and the scores we even. Another penalty shootout… This time we were not so lucky and unfortunately did not come up with the win. This saw us come away from the Championships with forth, far from what we were hoping for ourselves.
So it’s back to the drawing board to both review and develop our team so we can head into the 2016 Rio Olympics in the best possible form we can be, ready to fight for the elusive gold medal.