Birmingham — England’s GB hockey players know all about stopping the country in its tracks. Mere minutes after Chloe Kelly had scored England’s winner at football’s Euro 2020, Anna Toman slapped home England’s opener against Canada. ‘It’s coming home!’ screamed a jubilant Fiona Crackles when The Hockey Paper later revealed the news after grinding out a 1-0 win.
England will hope to follow in their football counterparts by reaching the self-billed ‘Super Sunday’ final here a week today. They will aim to do so by becoming the dominant side in their Pool. Beat India on Tuesday afternoon and it will mark the first time they have won their opening three matches in Commonwealth history.
England were the dominant side, as one would expect. They had 16 shots in the opening 30 minutes, just four in the final two quarters – to their opponent’s two all game through Madeline Secco – but couldn’t break down a fit Canadian outfit. England were indebted to Toman’s 20th minute corner strike.
“We came out strong and all guns blazing,” said Crackles. “We had a lot of chances and potentially we got frustrated in the second half, ground each down and got a bit run and gun.
“We knew we were winning, we knew how to ride it out and go to the pockets at the end. It was one of those games.”
It was certainly a slightly nervy ending, as Canada’s best period of attack came in the final two minutes of the game.
The biggest scream – one afforded to the Wembley masses – came when a slap clearance from England’s defence, with Canada having taken off their goalkeeper, found the net 70 yards away. It really was that kind of game.
The England team had been watching the early throes of the final in the athletes’ village. The team had no idea of the result until news started to filter through in the media zone.
“We’ve been following the girls throughout and it’s special watching women’s sport on such a high profile at the moment,” added Crackles. “We would love to get to those finals on Sunday.”
England currently top their Pool on goal difference ahead of India. Both are unbeaten after two matches.
“We heard the result, and they are a total inspiration,” said match winner Toman. “It’s great to see any England team do well, but it’s fantastic that it is in a women’s sport. I hope we can take some inspiration from them.”