Ukraine dash Ireland's semi-final aspirations

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The Independent Online

Ireland's hopes of automatic World Cup qualification and joining England in Saturday's semi-finals in the qualifier in France were lost here yesterday when they could only manage a 1-1 draw with Ukraine.

Ireland's hopes of automatic World Cup qualification and joining England in Saturday's semi-finals in the qualifier in France were lost here yesterday when they could only manage a 1-1 draw with Ukraine.

The Irish started with a lot of purpose but, having failed to score from a string of first-half chances, including six penalty corner attempts, fell behind two minutes into the second half when Ukraine's captain Tetyana Kobzenko put her side ahead at a penalty corner.

Ireland fought back and, taking advantage of Ukraine being temporarily reduced to nine players, pulled a goal back through Gill Orbinson.

England's coach Malcolm Wood has announced his squad for the three-Test series against South Africa in Johannesburg at the beginning of October. The trip, sandwiched between two National League weekends, will not find favour with the National League sides, some of whom are already struggling with the absence of the Under-21 players.

Jason Collins, the Guildford sweeper, has been given the opportunity to win his first cap. He is the only new player in the squad announced yesterday, although several leading players who are almost certain to feature in England's World Cup plans for Kuala Lumpur next February are missing for various reasons.

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