Hockey: England must stop wingers: Peter Colwill reports from Edinburgh

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The Independent Online
ENGLAND go into today's semi-final against the Netherlands in the Women's Under-21 Cup here secure in the knowledge that they have already qualified for next year's World Cup in Terrassa, Spain.

They are also one of two teams yet to concede a goal, an enviable record shared with Spain, who play Germany in the first semi-final.

The Netherlands, easily the most impressive team in the tournament so far, will be formidable opponents. Their only concern may be that they have peaked too early, but in Irvy Sheepstra and Ingeborg Evenblij the Dutch have two dangerous wingers, which Sarah Lawfull and Lucy Cope will do well to contain.

Although Germany have never failed to reach the final of this competition, they will need to lift their game against Spain, whose three Olympic gold medallists have been in scintillating form. Spain's weakness may be a tendency to lose composure, as they did against France after taking an early 2-0 lead.

Scotland and Ireland, who play France and the Unified team respectively in the first round of matches for fifth place, are still in contention for the remaining place in Terrassa.

The Scots, who were narrowly beaten by Germany, have taken full advantage of the new rolling-substitute rule, although they did inadvertently start the second half against the Netherlands with 10 players. The other major rule change, which forbids the ball being stopped inside the 16-yard circle from a penalty corner, produced difficulties initially, but they are fast being overcome.

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