Friday, April 19, 2024

England finish last at 4 Nations ahead of Hockey World Cup

England Captain Barry Middleton in action against Ireland at the NOW Pensions Nations Cup earlier this year (c)Ady Kerry
Ireland men have now won three of last five matches over England since 2015

How to assess the 4 Nations tournament in Valencia?

Spain finished top of the round robin, England couldn’t find a win, Spain beat Netherlands and then the Dutch narrowly beat the hosts in the final.

With no live streaming available from the early stages, it is hard to fathom whether teams were holding anything back ahead of the World Cup.

But the fact of the matter is that these are capped internationals and friendlies are for trying out training ground tactics.

And Ireland will head to the World Cup in buoyant mood after two victories over pool rivals England, who had plenty of new faces still finding their feet as well as missing the services of top scorer Sam Ward, nursing a minor injury back home.

Ireland now have three wins from five matches stretching back to their breakthrough display against England at the 2015 EuroHockey Championships.

Their final pool stage match on December 7 could likely decide who progresses and which nation enters the cross over matches, with world No 1 and defending champions Australia favourites to qualify top.

On Sunday England ended their Valencia campaign with a shoot out defeat to the Irish as Alexander Cox’s side clawed their way back into the match with a late strike.

The sides drew 2-2 in normal time as Ireland twice came from behind, Zach Wallace handing England the lead in the second half before Eugene Magee levelled.

A Luke Taylor penalty corner then restored England’s lead before Sean Murray netted a late equaliser with just four minutes remaining and goalkeeper George Pinner smartly stopping twice late on as well.

Harry Martin, Zach Wallace and Adam Dixon were on target for England, with Phil Roper Barry Middleton missing, while Magee, Sothern, O’Donoghue converted for Ireland and Daragh Walsh netting the winning penalty.

Plenty to ponder, then. First blood to Ireland, who along with Spain are also two sides who will not play a part in the inaugural Pro League.

Total Hockey


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