Nicholls sets England on victory course

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reports from Amstelveen

England 4 France 0

Mandy Nicholls gave her side a two-goal start yesterday against France, although England had to wait until the 29th minute for their first success. A precision pass from Karen Brown sent Nicholls dashing into the circle to unleash an unstoppable shot.

One minute into the second half, the Slough striker deflected a long corner from Tammy Miller past the French goalkeeper for her second. Three minutes later, as she drove her way into the circle, she was bundled to the ground to win a penalty stroke, but Brown put it wide from the spot.

England by now had worn down all French resistance and continued to bombard their opponents' goal, with Jill Atkins converting two second-half penalty corners to give England their second convincing victory and a place at the top of Pool A. After today's rest day, England will meet Germany tomorrow in a repeat of the last European Cup Final.

n Scotland came from behind with two goals in the 52nd minute from Sue MacDonald and Pauline Robertson to beat the Czech Republic 3-1 in a dour game which they will be relieved to have won.

ENGLAND: J Thompson (Ipswich); J Atkins (Bradford Swithenbank); S Lister (Ipswich, capt), F Lee (Hightown), L Cope (Balsam Leicester); M Davies (First Personnel Sutton Coldfield), K Brown (Slough), T Miller (Clifton); J Sixsmith (First Personnel Sutton Coldfield) M Nicholls (Slough), A Bennett (Slough). Substitutes used: C Cook (Hightown), L Bayliss (First Personnel Sutton Coldfield), T Cullen (Hightown), J Smith (Ipswich).

FRANCE: S Taillaint; B Picard; M Lazennec, A Noel, S Remoue; M Jobin, S Le Jossec; S Llobet; V Dufour, N Agis, L Peyrelongue. Substitutes used: M Boulet, H Esnus, L Doutriaux.

NCM EUROPEAN CUP (Amstelveen, Neth) Pool A: Italy 1 Belgium 1; England 4 France 0. Pool B: Czech Republic 1 Scotland 3; Russia 0 Spain 3.