England's German test

HOCKEY
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The Independent Online
England face Germany this afternoon in the focal point of the All England Women's Hockey Association's centenary celebrations in Sheffield. It is a repeat of the last European Cup final, in which England took gold in Brussels, and promises to be a classic game before a capacity crowd. The two-day event involves more than 1,100 participants, 65 teams at five Sheffield venues, and over 90 matches.

Franzisca Hentschel, the 24-year-old German captain, said: "We are very privileged to be part of the hockey centenary and are looking forward to an excellent game. It should be a close match, but we are confident of winning and upsetting the celebrations a little."

Whilst agreeing the match will be close, the England coach, Maggie Souyaze, has other ideas. "It will be a real test for our European Cup squad, the first since it was announced, and provide an accurate measure as to where we stand in Europe," she said. "We hope to break down the German possession hockey at which they are so good, and to celebrate the weekend with victory."

Souyaze is expected to continue with Fiona Lee in the central defender position, and the Under-21 captain, Lucy Cope, may come in at left defender to subdue Heike Ltzsch.

ENGLAND (probable): J Thompson (Ipswich); J Atkins (Bradford Swithenbank); S Lister (capt, Ipswich), F Lee (Hightown), L Cope (Balsam Leicester); M Davies (First Personnel Sutton Coldfield), K Brown (Slough), T Miller (Clifton); J Sixsmith (First Personnel Sutton Coldfield), M Nicholls (Slough), T Cullen (Hightown). Substitutes: C Cook (Hightown), L Bayliss (First Personnel Sutton Coldfield), J Smith (Ipswich), A Bennett (Slough), H Rose (Ipswich).

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