Hockey: Heberle sets up German showdown

England will play Germany in the 5/8th play-off section of the Women's World Cup in Perth tomorrow following their powerful 3-0 win against Spain in their last Pool game yesterday.

England will play Germany in the 5/8th play-off section of the Women's World Cup in Perth tomorrow following their powerful 3-0 win against Spain in their last Pool game yesterday.

England's Australian coach, Tricia Heberle, who earlier in the week had been so critical of her team's lack of commitment, was satisfied with the vastly improved performance against the Sydney Olympics semi-finalists. "Regardless of how we go from here we will end up with a higher ranking that we did in Utrecht and Dublin. I thought we put together some nice hockey. We have hit our straps and are playing with confidence and things are coming together."

Against Spain, England started in confident mood with Helen Grant scoring after just five minutes, following a fine move from Leisa King.

England turned up the pressure for the next 20 minutes and created numerous chances without being able to increase their lead. As the interval approached the Spanish got back into the game and only good defensive work by the goalkeeper, Hilary Rose, and her back three kept them at bay.

After the break, there were plenty of opportunities at both ends, including wasted penalty corners by both sides, before England increased their lead in the 54th minute. Sarah Blanks, intercepted a casual clearance by the Spanish and then sent England's captain, Jane Smith, in for number two.

After several anxious moments in the England circle, Smith broke clear in the closing stages to find Anna Bennett for number three to put England ahead of Japan on goal difference. Heberle's decision to stick with her new back three line up, with Frances Houslop replacing Mel Clewlow, paid dividends as Houslop had an outstanding game.

Argentina became the only team to finish on maximum points when they beat Russia 1-0 and will play Australia in one semi-final, with the Netherlands meeting China in the other.

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