England limp into the semi-finals

[img_assist|nid=8326|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=94|height=100]England 3 Italy 2

England fell over the line into the semi-finals at Chiswick and all-but qualified for the 2014 World Cup with a 3-2 win over 17th-ranked Italy.

After taking some sort of control, England’s game deteriorated as the pitch slowed up. And a string of minor errors allowed Italy to come back into a match that should have been dead and buried.

Italy rebounded late in the second half and made it interesting with a 56th-minute penalty stroke. But Alex Danson had already produced the two decent finishes and Hannah Macleod one that were enough to take the win. 

Danson set England rolling in the third minute when she turned up at the far post to turn in a well-placed cross from the top left of the circle by Kate Walsh.

Italy were, however, ready to scrap and they equalised four minutes later with a high finish from Macarena Ronsisvalli on a corner rebound.

It took Macleod’s deflection of Ashleigh Ball’s smashed cross from the right on 26 minutes to restore a semblance of control for England.

Danson’s third followed a minute later as she picked up a good through ball from the hard-working Macleod to round the keeper to the left and finish on the reverse.

That was about if for highlights, although Maddie Hinch took a big piece of Agustina Di Bernado’s penalty stroke, to her right.

England now play Argentina at 5.30 on Saturday for a place in Sunday’s final.