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Hockey World League: England 0 Argentina 1

PUBLISHED: 09:48 19 November 2017 | UPDATED: 09:49 19 November 2017

England's Laura Unsworth in action with Argentina's Delfina Merino (pic Scott Heavey/PA)

England's Laura Unsworth in action with Argentina's Delfina Merino (pic Scott Heavey/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

England’s women were edged out by a solitary in their second match at the Hockey World League Final in New Zealand.

Beaten 2-0 by Germany in their opening group game, they succumbed to a late effort from Delfina Merino, whose reverse stick strike found the bottom corner with only three minutes remaining.

Both sides were guilty of turning over possession in a scrappy start to the match, but Argentina enjoyed a good spell of pressure towards the end of the first quarter.

England’s defence held firm and Maddie Hinch made a good save from a Maria Granatto penalty corner, before Danny Kerry’s side made a fast start to the second session, forcing two early saves and winning a corner, before Grace Balsdon fired over.

Granatto and Merino were also too high with efforts as play swung from end to end, while captain Alex Danson saw a reverse stick strike deflected away after making room for herself.

Noel Barrionuevo saw a flick from a corner fly just wide as Argentina finished the first half strongly, with Amy Tenant and the England defence holding firm to keep the scoreline blank.

Hinch was called into action early in the second half to deny Lucina von der Heyde, saving well with her feet, before Granatto and Hannah Martin were shown green cards.

Meanwhile, Lucina von der Hyde received a yellow card and England went close to breaking the deadlock on 39 minutes when Giselle Ansley’s drag flick looked to be heading for the bottom corner before Belen Succi’s brilliant save.

Hinch gloved away another Barrionuevo attempt late in the third quarter, but Argentina grabbed the only goal of the game late on through Merino.

Danson told the official England Hockey website: “The difference was one very tidy finish. We’re disappointed not to come away with the points but there was some fantastic work by the team.

“We pride ourselves on how we work defensively and how we break on the counter. So we’re delighted wirth how we did and it’s now about looking at the next day and onwards.

“We’ll recover and then have a look at where we can go forward and come out fighting against China.”

Hinch added: “It’s normally incredibly tight against Argentina and it was the same today. We had to be fantastic defensively, we’ve just got to start puttinng away our chances at the other end.

“We have a huge amount of belief as a side. We were a bit nervous at the beginning but we hung on. It was a case of who would be first to put a chance away and unfortunately it came to Merino, who has a fabulous backhand.

“When you’re at a tournament like this, where every team is great, the results go by the wayside and it’s about how we did as a team. I think we did better than yesterday.”

England will hope for better when they take on China on Tuesday, with play getting underway at 7am British time.

England: Hinch, Unsworth, Haycroft, Toman, Petty, Danson, Defroand, Ansley, Bray, Pearne-Webb, Owsley. Subs: Martin, Paige, Sanders, Rayer, Tennant, McCallin, Balsdon.

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