Hockey: England pay for cautious tactics

Click to follow
The Independent Online

England, although beaten 2-1 by the Netherlands in a fiercely contested third game in their World Cup campaign last night in Perth, still remain on course for a sixth-place finish which was a realistic target when they arrived here.

England, although beaten 2-1 by the Netherlands in a fiercely contested third game in their World Cup campaign last night in Perth, still remain on course for a sixth-place finish which was a realistic target when they arrived here.

The England coach Tricia Heberle expressed her disappointment at the defeat in a game which she felt could have been won. "We went into our shells and were too conservative," she said. "The Dutch have not been playing well and I really felt we could have won."

After the usual initial sparring England drew first blood in the 21st minute. A harmless looking cross from the left fell to Leisa King, unmarked in the circle. She swivelled to turn the ball wide of the Dutch goalkeeper to put England ahead. The Dutch then stepped up a gear with their captain Mijntne Donners presenting plenty of problems to the English defence. Six minutes later they were level, Karlijn Petri scoring her first international goal.

There were limited chances at both ends after that. But, as England's defence tired, the Dutch were awarded a penalty corner in the 58th minute, from which Ageeth Boomgaardt scored the winner. Not even cricket's "Barmy Army", in town for tomorrow's Third Test, could lift England as they fought desperately for the equaliser they deserved.

Earlier in the day Spain had shaken South Africa with a 3-1 win which showed the value of successful counter-attacking. Penned in their own half for most of the game, the Spanish occasionally took the game to the South Africans, scoring three breakaway goals. The Springbok Sue Webber, who had planned to join Canterbury when the National League season restarts after Christmas, broke her hand during the game.

Japan claimed their first points of the tournament with a 2-1 victory against the United States. Ireland's second choice goalkeeper Angela Platt was the heroine of their match with the hosts Australia, the current Olympic and World champions, who just managed to edge home 2-1 in the most entertaining game of the tournament so far.

WOMEN'S WORLD CUP (Perth) Pool B: Spain 3 South Africa 1; Japan 2 United States 1; Ireland 1 Australia 2; Netherlands 2 England 1. Standings after 3 rounds: 1 Australia 9pts; 2 Netherlands 9pts; 3 England 4pts; 4 Spain 4pts; 5 Japan 4pts; 6 United States 3pts; 7 South Africa 1pt; 8 Ireland 0pts.

Comments