Head coach Bobby Crutchley insists England will do all they can to ensure they don’t leave the Hockey World League Final empty handed after seeing a top-two finish slip agonisingly out of their reach thanks to a shoot-out defeat to New Zealand.
After 70 minutes of their semi-final clash, England and New Zealand could not be separated as the match ended 3-3 – Harry Martin, Mark Gleghorne and Ashley Jackson with the goals.
And after the first round of penalties the scores were once again tied at 3-3 with Jackson, Tom Carson and Barry Middleton on target.
As it moved into sudden death Jackson, Carson and Nick Catlin all found the mark, but after failing at his first attempt Harry Martin once again saw his shot saved and Phil Burrows was New Zealand’s hero as he scored the deciding goal to send them through to the final.
England will now face of against Australia in the bronze medal play-off after they lost 4-3 to the Netherlands, and Crutchley is not about to throw in the towel just yet.
“We’re gutted with the result,” Crutchley said. “To lose that way in a shoot-out in the semi-final of a tournament is really hard to take.
“However we were a bit sloppy in our play across the 70 minutes which meant we couldn’t take the game away from New Zealand and that ultimately led to the shoot-out.
“We had more than enough opportunities, especially in the second half, but we just couldn’t get control of the game.
“All credit to New Zealand, they are quality side with some great talent and our 5-1 victory in the group stages didn’t really reflect the competitiveness of that game. They really came at us and I wish them luck in the final.
“Overall I’m really pleased with the way we’ve played this tournament and a top four finish against the best sides in the world is a great achievement with this relatively new squad.
“The boys will regroup and we’ll do everything we can to come home with the bronze medal.”
© Sportsbeat 2014