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Can we win it? Yes we can: World cup semi final preview

This is the biggest game for England’s women that most of us can remember. Thursday afternoon they line up in the Estadio Mundial against the reigning world, Olympic and European champions, the Netherlands in the world cup semi-final.
The Dutch have been awesome in Rosario – scoring 25 goals in five pool matches, led by penalty corner drag-flick ace Maartje Paumen who has scored nine corners (and one stroke).
But there are grounds for optimism (other than blind faith that is.)

This is the biggest game for England’s women that most of us can remember. Thursday afternoon they line up in the Estadio Mundial against the reigning world, Olympic and European champions, the Netherlands in the world cup semi-final.
The Dutch have been awesome in Rosario – scoring 25 goals in five pool matches, led by penalty corner drag-flick ace Maartje Paumen who has scored nine corners (and one stroke).
But there are grounds for optimism (other than blind faith that is.)
Firstly England has the outstanding goalkeeper of the tournament in Beth Storry – and if a couple of corners get saved it suddenly doesn’t look so simple any more.
Secondly, England showed against the Spanish, Koreans and Argentineans that they are excellent defenders against technical players and are adept at avoiding conceding soft PCs.
Thirdly, England played very well against Argentina on Monday night – they lost but it was close and what a great way to ‘prepare’ for the semis. The Dutch shellacked Japan, we are going to be a different kettle of fish.
So bring it on. The big game is at 8.30pm UK time (4.30pm here) and the latest I have is that it will be on BBC red button. Failing that there is www.laola1.tv who will have streaming video.
In the second semi, Argentina take on Germany (7.30pm local, 11.30pm UK). If you can stay up for that the atmosphere will be amazing. Germany haven’t set the tournament alight but they have won four matches and gave the Netherlands a tough match only to lose 2-1. The pressure on las Leonas is unbelievable, can they handle it?
For the true hockey addict, Japan play Spain at 1.30pm local for the wooden spoon. I won’t give you the UK time – if you are really that much of a hockey nut, you can work it out yourself.

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