Skipper Barry Middleton played his 200th game for England in Dusseldorf on Thursday, but his side fell 3-1 to the hockey World League champions the Netherlands.
The Dutch scored two first half goals – a Mink van der Weerden corner and an open-play strike from Billy Bakker. Simon Mantell contributed an open-play goal for England in the 39th minute before Van der Weerden hit another corner in the 51st.
England coach Bobby Crutchley said: “It was a poor first half from us, but a much improved second period of 35 minutes. I’m disappointed with the result, but pleased that we upped our game. In the second half we were more dynamic in our movement ahead of the ball, which allowed us to create space and opportunity for more circle entries.
“There’s certainly still plenty of room for us to make progress this weekend as we look ahead to the second match against Germany on Saturday.”
The Four Nations tournament continues tomorrow with England to play Germany and Belgium to play the Netherlands.
Germany and Belgium drew 2-2 on Thursday.
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