England, with a workmanlike performance, eventually unbolted a tight Irish defence in which goalkeeper Alison Vance, playing in her first game of the tournament, was outstanding in a game in which national pride was more than usually present, writes Bill Colwill from Amstelveen, the Netherlands.
England eventually broke through to move into Friday's semi-finals without conceding a point - or even a goal - in their five pool games. With little but national pride at stake, the Irish fought England all the way but made the initial mistake of not believing in their attacking potential. Pinned in their own half for almost the entire game, they eventually succumbed in the 46th minute.
Sandie Lister, back in midfield for the injured Mandy Davies, collected a perfect pass from Karen Brown but was chopped down inside the circle by Julie Stewart. Brown made no mistake from the penalty spot.
Five minutes later, when Tammy Miller was blocked entering the circle, Jill Atkins took her goal tally for the tournament to seven as she struck home England's seventh penalty corner.
So one-sided was the game that England's goalkeeper, Jo Thompson, was not required to touch the ball. Their coach, Maggie Souyave, said after the game: "Five down, two to go. We have achieved the first part of our objective in style. We now have three days to prepare for the semi-finals." Scotland beat Sweden 9-0, with Sue MacDonald collecting five goals and Rhona Simpson scoring three.
ENGLAND: J Thompson (Ipswich); J Atkins (Bradford Swithenbank); F Lee (Hightown), C Cook (Hightown), L Cope (Balsam Leicester); S Lister (Ipswich, capt), K Brown (Slough), T Miller (Clifton ); J Sixsmith (First Personnel Sutton Coldfield), M Nicholls (Slough), A Bennett (Slough). Substitutes used: T Cullen (Hightown), J Smith (Ipswich), L Bayliss (First Personnel Sutton Coldfield).
IRELAND: A Vance; G Stevenson; T Hurley, J Stewart, C Craig; M Logue, J Turner, L Brown; J Chapman, T Stronge, S Kelleher (capt). Substitutes used: R Kohler, J Burke, L McVicker, A Thompson.
Umpires: R Cohen (Netherlands) and A Dale (Zimbabwe).
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