Ireland and England face key World Cup showdown on Friday

©: Frank Uijlenbroek / World Sport Pics



Ireland and England will showdown on Friday in a crucial battle in the World Cup with both of their tournament lives on the line following a couple of frustrating games.

The English lost 3-0 to Australia with all the goals coming in the final quarter. England had some great chances in the first half with Tyler Lovell making an exceptional glove save while Phil Roper’s chip shot hit the outside of the post.

As time wore on, the Kookaburras eventually turned the screw and had the best of the second half, going ahead via a powerful Jacob Whetton shot from Tom Craig’s skills down the right. Blake Govers hit the next with 10 minutes to go and Corey Weyer added to his impressive tournament for 3-0.

Later on, Ireland drew 1-1 with China as the European side were frustrated for long periods by the world number 17 side. China went in front from a corner from Jin Guo in the 43rd minute before Alan Sothern equalised with a cracking touch to Michael Robson’s cross a minute later. But Ireland could not make their statistical dominance count on the scoreboard and so have to settle for a draw.

"The No 1 goal before the start of the tournament was to reach the quarter-final and that hasn't changed,” Sothern said afterwards. "We came out here to win and if you look at the stats we edged the game but didn't make it count. The group is tight and it's coming down to the last game. We will fire on Friday.

"Teams like China defend really well and sometimes you need to get the ball to bounce in the right area, like it did for the goal. We weren't quite clinical enough in certain phases of the game. It cost us in the end in the result.”

The results mean Australia go straight through to the quarter-final while China are in second on two points.
Ireland and England are on one point with the Irish ahead on goal difference meaning a draw when they meet on Friday will be enough; the English have to win.

On Wednesday, looking ahead to the meeting between two European giants, Netherlands Head Coach Max Caldas said: “Germany has a very strong team. Their forwards are super-fast and the team knows how they want to play. They stick to their own game plan.

“For us it’s important to constantly improve our own game, that’s our main goal. Playing Germany is different than playing Malaysia; both teams force us to show different skills and tactics. We need to be prepared for just that.”

Germany Head Coach Stefan Kermas, who saw his team defeat Pakistan 1-0 in their opening game, said: "It will be an interesting one, because the winner has the best chance to finish top of the pool. We are happy with the result of our opening game, knowing that our structure and defensive performance was good.

“We have to improve our offensive skills and dynamic, otherwise we will not be able to attack the Dutch goal with results. The Dutch made a really good job offensively against Malaysia, so we have to put a lot of attention to keeping the sheet as clean as possible."