Amsterdam — Maddie Hinch praised both England’s youngsters and the defending lines which saw them to a first Women’s World Cup win and a trip to Terrassa for the cross-over knock-out stages.
Hinch, who didn’t make one save in the 2-0 win over China, was largely a bystander as the backs snaffled any penalty corner chances and didn’t allow Alyson Annan’s side any meaningful shot on goal.
After the disappointing defeat to New Zealand, England provided a rapid turnaround in form (although playing well against the Black Sticks) and fortune, as their new crop of players added another key learning curve to major tournament life in what Hinch described as a “proper knock-out game”.
Hinch, 33, said: “You have to go through these extreme highs and lows, like the rollercoaster ride I went through as a youngster to understand what it takes. At the top are fine margins.
“You can’t decide one minute you’re going to jump back, one minute you’re not, one minute you are going to put your body on the line, the next you’re not.
“You have to do it every single minute. You saw some of the girls on their knees with fatigue. That should apply against China, Chile and whoever.
“You have to find a switch and today they learnt that. And to beat the real big teams you have to do it more.”
England also kept a clean sheet for the first time in 21 games stretching back through the Pro League games to their 4-0 win over Italy at EuroHockey 2021.
“We have known defensively we haven’t quite been where we pride ourselves as a nation and how hard we are to score against,” added Hinch. “I think we have let that go a little bit over time.
“Today was about how much do we want them not to put the ball in the back of the net and how much we want to put it in theirs.
“It was so good to see that, especially with the youngsters.”
England now head to Terrassa for a match-up with Korea on Sunday evening at the revamped Olympic Stadium. Should they win that, they will play Argentina in the last eight where they will have to be at their clinical best.
Their discipline and outletting against China has given them every optimism as their tournament kick started into life.
“To give away a handful of corners and no shots is incredible,” said Hinch. “That is the GB/English mentality we should be delivering every time.”