Hockey: German test for English

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THE FOUR Nations Tournaments for men and women starting at Milton Keynes today is a wonderful opportunity for England's European Cup squads, announced last week, to prove themselves in the run-up to the championships, writes Bill Colwill.

In the women's competition, England, with no injury problems, open their campaign against Spain this afternoon, a preview of the opening game in the European Cup. Tomorrow evening they take on the Dutch, who last weekend lowered the colours of Australia in a rare 3-2 defeat, and then on Saturday the world and Olympic champions, Australia.

If anything the men's task is slightly less formidable. Their record against Malaysia, today's opponents, is good and they have never lost to Poland, whom they face on Saturday. The crunch will come tomorrow evening when they face the Germans who at the weekend beat Malaysia 5- 2.

The good news for England is that their dependable defender Julian Halls is fit again after undergoing surgery on the hand he broke in Brisbane.