Hockey: England to face tougher tests

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The Independent Online
ENGLAND'S games this evening at the Milton Keynes National Stadium will give an indication of what might be expected of them at the World Cup, which starts in Utrecht tomorrow week, writes Bill Colwill.

The women, who have not lost since their 4-2 victory over the Australian Olympic and world champions in Perth in January, can expect a tougher game against them this evening.

After that defeat, Australia came back with a vengeance in a four-game series against the Dutch, the Olympic bronze medallists, which they won 3-1, finishing with a convincing 6-0 victory.

There will also be a score to settle in the men's game against New Zealand. When the teams last met in Malaysia in March, England shipped three goals in the opening 11 minutes before losing 4-5.

The Kiwis have made one change from that squad, the return of their most capped player and former captain Jamie Smith who was injured at the time.

England have enjoyed an easy run since Malaysia, with six victories in six outings, scoring 32 goals in the process.

But the crunch comes at Milton Keynes this evening. Both England teams expect to be at full strength.