Field Hockey Canada > Canada hold heads high after shootout loss to Korea in final World Cup game

Canada hold heads high after shootout loss to Korea in final World Cup game

Ali Baggott, for Field Hockey Canada

July 13, 2022 | Field Hockey Canada |

Another shootout decided the fate for Canada’s WolfPack who, after a scoreless game, lost 3-0 in shootouts to Korea to share 15-16th place in the FIH World Cup with South Africa.

‘It’s hard at this moment but it’s obviously been a wonderful experience to be back on the world stage,” reflected head coach Rob Short, a two-time World Cup player himself. “You just learn how hard it is to play on this stage. It’s not easy. We played well and we can’t ask for more from the girls. It’s hard. I guess we must work harder back home but it’s been a wonderful experience and I hope we are back here sooner rather than later.”

Despite the result, it was still a special day for defender Sara McManus (Tsawwassen, B.C.) who celebrated her 200th international and who has three Pan American Games, soon-to-be three Commonwealth Games and now an FIH World Cup to her name. She joins recently retired Danielle Hennig (Kelowna, B.C.) and Kate Wright (Kingston, Ont.) to become just the third Canadian woman to break the 200-cap milestone. She will likely be joined by Hannah Haughn (North Vancouver, B.C.) in this elite group during the upcoming Commonwealth Games.

“I am so excited to be here with (Sara McManus) on her 200th,” noted Short about the defender who earned her first cap in 2010 and has not missed a game for Canada since. “We both come from small town called Tsawwassen so it’s extra special to see her out there today. She is a warrior and has given so much to the team and country – a true professional and a gritty, tough, intelligent back. I’m so proud of her.”

It was the final World Cup game for both sides in their 2022 FIH World Cup campaign and it was a re-match of their opening pool-play game against each other where Korea edged the WolfPack 3-2 after a late comeback goal. With no final placing game taking place, due to the dual-city tournament, today’s match was about pride and ending on a high.

The game was very even on all accords with two penalty corner chances apiece, few field goal opportunities and lots of play through midfield. Veteran striker Brienne Stairs (Kitchener, Ont.) had a highlight performance as she was behind the generation of most of the Canada attack and she also shined defensively.

Photo Credit: Yan Huckendubler

A scoreless four quarters was a fair result between the two sides that played most of the action between the 23-meter lines. In the opening five minutes, Canadian defender Alexis de Armond (Victoria, B.C.) smashed a ball through three lines to Stairs, who redirected the ball just wide of the net.

Korea then had back-to-back chances as a high aerial into the Canadian circle drew keeper Rowan Harris (Ottawa, Ont.) out of her net and the pass was booked for Lee Seungju, who just couldn’t get the final touch towards goal. Then, Korea captain Cheon Eunbi showed good composure in the circle to curl and send the ball across goal past two Canadian defenders and Harris. Cho Hyejin missed at the back post to Canada’s relief.

In the second quarter, Haughn had a ball fall freely for her at the top of the Korean circle. The speedy striker turned and fired on her back-hand but hit the outside of the net. Canada’s best chance of the half came from the hard work of forward Madison Thompson (North Vancouver, B.C.) who stripped the Korean defence and raced towards the circle. Thompson dished to Maddie Secco (Victoria, B.C.) who drew two defenders and earned a penalty corner. Unfortunately, the injection was off target and the resulting shot by Karli Johansen (North Vancouver, B.C.) hit traffic and was cleared.

There were few chances again in the third quarter. Korea’s Kang Jina lifted the ball past two Canadian defenders at the top of the circle and one-timed it just wide of the net in the 45th minute.

Stairs earned a penalty corner with some solo baseline running in the 49th minute but a second miss-cue on the injection kept the ball from even making it to the top of the circle before Korea were able to clear it. Less than one minute later, a bouncing ball was sent across the Canadian circle and took an unfortunate ricochet off Johansen’s feet for Korea’s first penalty corner. As she has all tournament, Johansen ran down the sweep shot from Seo Suyoung. Korea had one last chance with three minutes to go but the penalty corner option by Cho Hyejin was steered away by the glove of Harris.

While Canada were happy not to concede a goal in the final minutes of the game, as they had against Korea earlier and India a game ago, it did mean the game was going to a shootout.

Photo Credit: Yan Huckendubler

Canada started the way they did against India with midfielder Amanda Woodcroft (Waterloo, Ont.) scoring but an umpire self-referral showed the ball crossed the line 0.2 seconds too late. From there, Maddie Secco (Victoria, B.C.) and Anna Mollenhauer (Victoria, B.C.) missed out on their back-hand shots while three-straight Korean shooters scored on their forehand to seal the deal.

“I think we grew throughout the tournament,” said Canadian captain Natalie Sourisseau, who established herself as Canadian master class in each match. “We are disappointed in not getting a win in the tournament, but it’s been our first appearance at a World Cup in 28 years and we have to use this opportunity to recognize where the gap is between us and that next level, the Top 10, and as a collective – as a team, individuals and staff – find out what that difference is and how we can close it.”

With no final placing games taking place in lower brackets, Canada finishes with a shared 15-16th placement with South Africa, who also went winless in the event. Up next the Canadian side will prepare to head to Birmingham for the 2022 Commonwealth Games. The roster will look similar except Alberta’s Melanie Scholz and North Vancouver’s Chloe Walton will replace Kathleen Leahy (Victoria, B.C.) and Shanlee Johnston (Vancouver, B.C.).

“We have 10 days break and then we focus on the Commonwealth Games and then we go home and there’s a bit of time off,” outlined Short. “We have some plans on how to move forward but we obviously are going to learn and hopefully apply it to the way we train and get better for the next one.”

While the Canadian side continued to note their first appearance at the World Cup since 1994 as a feat to celebrate on its own, there was no shortage of disappointment within the Canadian camp on their finish in the event without a victory. The WolfPack showed a level of compete that could rival any of the Top 12 teams at the tournament and will return home motivated to commit investment into the upcoming cycles towards 2024 and 2028.

Photo Credit: Yan Huckendubler

“If I can also just say thank you to the staff that works beside me and alongside this awesome group of women,” credited Short. “I have the best staff out there and so many people here in Spain told me that. I am so fortunate to have Kelly, Fergus, Elliot and Paul here with me. At home we have such amazing support as well. Big thanks go out to Simon Di and Kyle who are on the pitch with me daily. There are many more that give so much to this team, I am just sorry we couldn’t give them all the end results we hoped for.”