Danson and Hinch back England to come good at Hockey World League Final

Danson and Hinch back England to come good at Hockey World League Final

19 November 2017 / 13:54

Alex Danson is calling for calm heads and coolness in front of goal as England slipped to their second consecutive defeat at the Hockey World League Final.

The captain and her team were beaten by a solitary late goal from Argentina’s Delfina Merino in Auckland on Sunday.

That made it two losses on the bounce for England after going down 2-0 to Germany in their opener on Saturday.

They take on China in their final pool game on Tuesday looking to build momentum ahead of the quarter-final stage – and also find the back of the net themselves.

“The difference was one very tidy finish. We are disappointed not to come away with the points but there was some fantastic work by the team,” said Danson.

“We pride ourselves on how we work defensively and how we break on the counter. So we’re delighted with how we did and it’s now about looking at the next day and onwards.

“We’ll recover tomorrow and then have a look at where we can go forward and come out fighting for the next game against China.”

Argentina put their English opponents under plenty of pressure with goalkeeper Maddie Hinch called into action several times in the opening quarter.

England regrouped in the second, with Sophie Bray smashing narrowly wide while Emily Defroand forced a save from Belen Succi.

But Argentina started to dominant again with substitute keeper Amy Tennant twice denying Maria Granatto as the teams entered the half-time break level.

The returning Hinch then had to be alert to save with her feet from Lucina von der Heyde while Lily Owsley went close for England in the third quarter.

But Argentina’s persistence finally paid off with three minutes left as Merino found herself in space before unleashing a reverse stick shot past Tennant.

Eight of the 18-strong England squad won gold for Team GB in Rio last year and one of those, Hinch, was confident there was no reason to hit any panic buttons despite the winless start in New Zealand.

She said: “It’s normally incredibly tight against Argentina and it was the same today, we had to be fantastic defensively. We’ve just got to start putting away our chances at the other end.

“We have a huge amount of belief as a side. We were a bit nervous at the beginning but we hung on. It was a case of who would be first to put a chance away and unfortunately it came to Merino who has a fabulous backhand. 

“I think we’re satisfied. When you’re at a tournament like this where every team is great the results go by the way side and it’s about how we did as a team and I think we played better than yesterday.”

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Sportsbeat 2017