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England Women finish fourth in the World Hockey League Finals as Netherlands take Gold

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South Korea defeated England 1-0 in a tight bronze medal match in Auckland before the Netherlands comfortably beat hosts New Zealand in the final.

The World League Finals, which serves as the last major tournament before the World Cup in London next July, was a competition England were expected to perform well in.

England started the tournament poorly with consecutive defeats to Germany (2-0) and Argentina (1-0) in the group stages. Dan Kerry’s side redeemed themselves with a resounding 4-1 victory over China, with goals from captain Alex Danson, Sophie Bray, Hannah Martin and Sarah Haycroft granting the team a quarter-final fixture against the USA.

A complete performance from England saw them overcome a strong USA side 2-1 in the quarter-finals. England's Alex Danson’s fine stick skills down the left wing allowed her to drive down the byline before squaring the ball to Sophie Bray who converted from a yard out. The lead was doubled when University of Birmingham’s Olivia Paige made a superb run down the righthand-side finding Bray, unmarked in the D who lifted the ball into the net, before Alyssa Parker scored a late consolation goal for the US six minutes from time.

At the semi-final stage England were defeated by New Zealand through Olivia May’s drag flick with five minutes left on the clock. Despite the 1-0 scoreline both sides attacked well, England having a Lily Owsley goal disallowed for a back stick in the build-up and Sophie Bray hitting the crossbar in the third quarter.

In a bronze medal match against South Korea, the lowest ranked side in the tournament, England found themselves a goal down early on when a short corner was slipped left allowing Kim Jongeun to strike the ball into the net.

South Korea were well-disciplined in defence frustrating England who, for all their good build-up play, rarely created any clear-cut chances. South Korea survived England’s heavy pressure late on and won the match 1-0 claiming a global Hockey medal for the first time this century.

The Women's Hockey World Cup schedule has been announced and England will be in action on the opening day as they take on India on July 21st 2018. 

Looking forwards towards a home world cup skipper Alex Danson said: “We showed a lot of resolve and a lot of character as a squad today and across the tournament. This team has a lot moving forward.

“Having the sport back on home soil next year with the World Cup is very exciting. We’re looking forward to it and it should be a great tournament.”   

England will be placed in pool b alongside the USA (whom England defeated 2-1 three days ago), Asian champions India and Ireland.

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