England had two reasons to celebrate at the World League Semi Final in Malaysia as victory over Japan saw them progress to the last four and also guaranteed their place at next year’s World Cup.
Mark Gleghorne, Barry Middleton, Harry Martin, Simon Mantell and Dan Fox all found the net in a 5-0 quarter-final win over Japan with Argentina next up in the semi-finals on Saturday.
Gleghorne broke the deadlock in the 20th minute before a brilliantly worked penalty corner moments later saw Ashley Jackson strike the ball straight to a sliding Middleton stick to make it 2-0.
Martin made it 3-0 in the 44th minute and Mantell 4-0 moments later while Fox rounded off the scoring after capitalising on another penalty corner – the injection coming from Nick Catlin.
And England head coach Bobby Crutchley played up the importance of the result and the significance of being guaranteed a place at next year’s World Cup in the Netherlands already.
“There were always going to be mountains to climb during this four year cycle. This might not be the biggest, but it was vitally important for us to take that first step and qualify for the World Cup next year,” he said.
“It was another good performance for this group and I thought we played with flare, tenacity and solidity. I’m very pleased with the way we kept possession. We now have a day to rest and get ready for our semi-final against Argentina on Saturday.”
© Sportsbeat 2013
Photo Frank Uijlenbroek / England Hockey