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Hockey preview - 1 August

01 August 2002

England are determined to take defending champions Australia every inch of the way in the women’s hockey semi-final on Thursday evening.

England v New Zealand

Australia sailed through their pool games, winning all three with a tally of 25 goals for and only one against.

Their 18-goal haul against Malaysia set a new Commonwealth record, achieved despite resting star striker Katrina Powell, who is sure to be back against England.

The England team is under no illusions about the size of their task, but it’s a match they are looking forward to. They were certainly lifted when they rounded off their pool programme on Wednesday with a comprehensive 6-1 win against Scotland.

“This is the dream you want, playing against the best team in the world,” explained England coach Tricia Heberle, herself an Australian. “We had the perfect preparation against Scotland, playing much better and we all relish the opportunity to play Australia.”

New Zealand hold the advantage in the second semi-final against India, having already beaten the Asian team 3-1 in a pool game.

Since that loss, the Indian team has sparked to life, reaching the last four courtesy of a dramatic 4-3 golden goal win over South Africa.

Gurdial Banghu, coach of India, had promised through the early pool programme that there was still more to come from his team and, though they left it late, he was right.

Suzie Pearce (NZL), scorer of two goals in the pool encounter with India, will be sure to put pressure on the at times uncertain Indian defence.

The morning session will see Malaysia and Canada play off for seventh and eighth places followed by South Africa taking on Scotland to decide fifth and sixth.

Info News Service/dm/rb

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