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‘I couldn’t be more proud’ says Crutchley

England fell 1-0 to hosts the Netherlands at the semi-final stage of the 2014 World Cup on Friday.

A sterling defensive effort kept the free-flowing Dutch side to a single Mink van der Weerden PC goal in the 31st minute. 

England had their chances, including a close-in shot by Ashley Jackson from their first possession of the game, set up by Adam Dixon and Nick Catlin, which was well saved by Jaap Stockmann.

Two second-half PCs were also fruitless with one from Ashley Jackson well charged down and a late-on deflected variation going over.

 Roger Hoffman and Seve van Ass hit the woodwork for the Dutch while England’s George Pinner made several fine saves – including turning Van Ass’s effort onto the bar. Skipper Barry Middleton also stopped two of Van der Weerden’s corners on the line.

England coach Bobby Crutchley said: “We new we had to keep it tight and stop that flowing Dutch hockey – which we did pretty well. To restrict a talented team to one goal was down to some excellent defending. Unfortunately the first half we struggled to play enough hockey the other way. Which is basically where this team is at.

“If we are going to compete with these teams we have got to be better on the ball. Second half, I was worried our legs had been run out. But unbelievably the guys played better hockey and we came back into it. 

“What we wanted to do was be in it at the end, which we were. And there are fine margins when you get that corner – and if you score that?  You could feel we were building a bit of pressure on the Dutch, which was definitely part of the game plan.

“But if you had said 12 months ago that this team would perform so well in the World Cup semi-final I wouldn’t have believed you so I coudn’t be more proud.”

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