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Frazer inspires Irish to historic win in Rio bid

Ireland 2 USA 0

By John Flack

Megan Frazer was captain fantastic as Ireland produced the shock of the World League 3 tournament to beat the United States 2-0 in Valencia yesterday and top their Pool.

The Ulster Elks player scored a stunning opener and then set up Anna O'Flanagan for a second goal near the end as Ireland secured a first-ever win over the Americans at the 12th attempt.

USA are ranked fifth in the world - nine places higher than Ireland - and last year narrowly missed out on the bronze medals at the World Cup.

Only last month, the Americans defeated Ireland three times, scoring 10 goals and conceding only once in the series in Pennsylvania, and earlier in Valencia they held European champions Germany to a 2-2 draw.

Ireland, who now play China in the quarter-finals tomorrow with a place in Rio 2016 the prize for the winners, were under the cosh for most of the 60 minutes as USA won the penalty corner count 8-0 but they defended heroically, with goalkeeper Emma Gray outstanding.

"I knew we had it in us; we played them three times in the past month and it served us well and we learned a lot about them," said Frazer.

"All credit to our coaching staff who put together a fabulous tactical plan."

Coach Darren Smith paid tribute to his players.

"At times in the third and fourth quarter, we had to defend well but we did it. It was nice to grab the second goal at the end and keep a clean sheet," said the New Zealander.

Frazer broke the deadlock a minute before half-time when she beat the USA keeper with a sublime backhand shot.

Ireland soaked up almost incessant pressure until Frazer intercepted a poor pass with 70 seconds remaining, skilfully beat a defender and slipped the ball to the unmarked O'Flanagan, who swept the ball home.

Results: Pool A: Great Britain 2 China 0; Spain 2 Argentina 2; Final standings: 1. GB 12pts; 2. Argentina 7; 3. Spain 7 4. China 3 5. Canada 0.

Pool B: USA 0 Ireland 2; South Africa 0 Germany 0; Final standings: 1. Ireland 9pts; 2. Germany 8; 3. USA 7; 4. South Africa 2; 5. Uruguay 1.

Tomorrow: quarter-finals: (times to be confirmed): GB v South Africa; Ireland v China; Germany v Spain; Argentina v USA.

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