England set-up World League quarter-final clash with Italy

26 June 2013 / 06:46

England coach Jason Lee insisted there was work to do as his team booked their quarter-final slot at the hockey World League in London.

The hosts remain unbeaten through the group stages but for the second straight game they settled for a 1-1 draw after succumbing to a late goal.

Sophie Bray's 54th minute corner gave England the advantage but just four minutes later Spain were awarded a penalty stroke, which Lola Riera Zuzuarregui stepped up to convert.   

England finish second in their group and will now face Italy in Thursday's quarter-finals.

"We were trying to develop our style of play and I’m not sure we quite nailed it," admitted Lee. 

"We seemed to lack a bit of intensity, however Spain put up a great fight as they pursued their goal of finishing third in the pool and avoiding Argentina.

“I think both sides have come out of the game pleased with the result. We’ve got a quarter-final draw which we are happy with and that was the ultimate aim from the pool stages."

England nearly snatched a winner in the final few minutes when Sally Walton drove into the Spanish circle. Susie Gilbert was alive to the chance but pulled her shot just wide of the net.

But captain Walsh insisted things were slowly starting to click, in a new-look squad that has deliberately mixed youth and experience.

“I think over the first two games we built up some good momentum, but like Jason said we tried some things that didn’t quite work for us," said Walsh, who also skippered the British team to bronze at last year's London 2012 Olympics. 

"We are still developing as a team and we have to take the momentum we’ve built up into the quarter-final game on Thursday. 

"I know we can really build on the strengths we have and if we focus on the positives we’ll put in a good performance against Italy.”

© Sportsbeat 2013