England into semi-finals at a canter

Click to follow
The Independent Online


reports from Dublin

England 4 Belarus 0

England moved into the semi-finals of the European Championships yesterday with a convincing win against Belarus.

England found it difficult to prise open a tight defence which remained secure until the 20th minute when Rob Thompson glided Calum Giles' well- placed pass from a penalty corner past the Belarus goalkeeper.

Seven minutes later, after Nick Thompson was fouled by the Belarus captain, Russell Garcia converted the penalty to give England a 2-0 interval lead.

Two minutes into the second half England put the game beyond doubt when Nick Thompson scored with a reverse stick scoop. When John Shaw swept behind the Belarus defence in the 58th minute, Rob Thompson was available for the cross to collect his second goal of the game.

A delighted England coach, David Whitaker, said: "That's our first objective achieved - a semi-final place. Next it's a win against Switzerland to top the pool."

Ireland's faint hope of a semi-final place evaporated following their 1-1 draw with Poland.

ENGLAND: D Luckes (East Grinstead); P McGuire (Teddington), J Wyatt (Reading); S Hazlitt (Hounslow), S Singh (Southgate, capt), R Garcia (Polo Barcelona); J Shaw (Southgate), K Takher (Cannock), R Thompson (Hounslow), J Laslett (Teddington), N Thompson (Old Loughtonians). Substitutes used: C Giles (Havant), B Sharpe (Cannock).

BELARUS: V Vachkis; V Klatchkov; A Yukovets, V Kachkar (capt), A Vintskevitch; N Sankovets, D Yukovski, V Kholopov, A Boudnikov; Y Korotchenko, S Klimovitch. Substitutes used: I Barkov, A Mankovski, I Tsarev, L Oniyouk, S Urbanski.

Umpires: J Gorissen (Netherlands) and A Ayman (Egypt).