England Head Coach Danny Kerry declared himself “pleased” with his side’s performance as England came from behind to draw 1-1 with India in their opening game of the Hockey Women’s World Cup.
Lily Owsley’s goal seven minutes from full-time cancelled out Neha Goyal’s early strike as England avoided a shock defeat in Pool B.
“I’m pleased with how we played. India had one shot and no corners in the whole match. We dominated the game.”
“We instilled our game on them but we didn’t convert our corners. On another day those go in and that’s a comfortable win. We will look hard at the detail around our penalty corners which were the difference today.”
India led from the 25th minute despite England asking for a video referral to cancel the goal out. The umpires ruled in favour of India and Goyal’s strike stood, silencing the home crowd.
Danny Kerry’s team created a number of chances but also found themselves frustrated by India’s deep defence and their stubborn resistance.
It looked like the sell-out crowd of more than 10,000 were going to go home disappointed but the England Coach made a game-changing tweak with 8 minutes to go. He took off goalkeeper Maddie Hinch, who had been a spectator for the second half, allowing the hosts an extra outfield player which made all the difference.
“India were very negative and just giving us possession back. Maddie [Hinch] hadn’t touched the ball in the second half. We thought we’d take advantage of having an extra player. As soon as we equalised I knew they’d start to come out more so we could put the keeper back on.”
The equaliser came almost immediately. A broken down penalty corner was kept alive by a brave jab tackle from Sarah Haycroft and from Ellie Watton’s pass Owsley was on the spot to touch home the equaliser.
Captain Alex Danson expressed her relief at getting something from the first game, but admitted there is room for improvement in their next match against the USA:
“We were professional and well prepared. We’re happy to have come from behind and we’re really happy to have got a point on the board. The performance was fantastic but we need to tidy a few bits up for the next game.”
“The remarkable thing about this group is we know our processes. You support the person next to you. We pride ourselves on that so I don’t need to do too much motivating because it’s ingrained in the team. All 11 players have a job to do. We’ll look at where we did that well and where we can improve and be ready for the next game.”
England’s next game is on Wednesday against the USA, live on BT Sport.
I was stood behind Danny for most of the first half, you could see his frustration at times. So I was really surprised to hear his post-match views – he was very relaxed, bordering on upbeat. There’s definitely a different attitude in the camp now compared to previous years, I think they’ve got a stronger focus on themselves, not the opposition, or umpires, or any of that sort of thing. Which I think is great, they’ve got confidence and swagger. Let’s hope that translates to results.