Ralph lauds “patient” England.

Head Coach David Ralph was delighted with his England side after they overcome old foes Scotland in a pulsating encounter. Goals from Jo Hunter and Giselle Ansley handed England the three points they needed to progress to the semi-finals causing Ralph to praise his “patient” side.

“We were in control of the game. We got frustrated with our level of play at times and it fluctuated a little more than in the first two games but there are reasons for that. It was very warm today and Scotland is always an emotional game. The team kept control of those emotions and of the game, created chances and kept going.” Ralph told The Top of the D.


The game started at a frantic pace with both sides throwing bodies forwards in search of the opening goal.

England won the first penalty corner but the injection was off the mark and Hollie Webb’s improvised shot was saved by Amy Gibson. Scotland’s first sight of goal was a good one as Alison Howie was all alone in the circle but she was unable to beat Maddie Hinch who made a good save.

England continued their search for an opening goal with Gibson saving from Giselle Ansley and the rest of the Scottish defence putting their bodies on the line to stem the flow of attacks.

The second quarter adopted much the same pattern with Gibson blocking a backhand strike from Alex Danson and then making a superb save from a low drag flick from Ansley to keep the scores blank at half time.

England started the third quarter on the front foot once again. Five minutes into the third period they got their reward. Anna Toman sent a searching pass into the circle finding a sliding Jo Hunter who did the rest.

“At some point, you hope to convert those chances you’ve created.” said Coach Ralph. “It took us a little longer than we’d like but sometimes you have to wear teams down and that’s what we did.”

Despite falling behind, Amy Gibson continued to defy the England attack producing a world class double save to keep out a strike from Sophie Bray and then somehow recovering to save from Hannah Martin. After England endured “one of those days” against Germany some might have been forgiven for thinking they would struggle to find that all important second goal. Ralph was not one of them: “You only worry when you don’t create chances. Goal scoring is hard and it doesn’t happen often but you are always confident when you’re getting the ball into the right places. Some days you’ll score more than others but that’s how it is.”

Bray continued to give Scotland plenty to think about with her close control a constant thorn in their side but once again Gibson was on hand to keep Scotland in the contest. Maddie Hinch was called upon to make a double save at the start of the final quarter but England soon regained control. It was left to Giselle Ansley to make the game safe. The elegant defender making her 100th international appearance slotted in a low penalty corner with a minute to go.

England’s win looks likely to set up a semi-final clash with hosts, the Netherlands. Once the other pool matches are complete this will be confirmed.

About thetopofthed

Columnist for The Hockey Paper and the man behind The Top of the D. Writer, podcaster, goalkeeper and BBC Sport man. Used to work for Great Britain Hockey and have covered the sport at every major tournament.
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