Euro Hockey: England women unhappy despite winning start

EuroHockey Nations Championships 2011

Venue:
Warsteiner HockeyPark, Moenchengladbach, Germany
Date:
20-28 August 2011
Coverage:
England matches live on BBC Sport website and red button; Twitter updates from BBC Sport's Ollie Williams - @BBCSport_Ollie
Chloe Rogers scores England's second goal

England's women began hockey's European Championships in convincing style with a 4-0 win over Belgium on Saturday.

Alex Danson, Chloe Rogers and Kate Walsh all found the net for England, as did Crista Cullen on her 26th birthday.

But captain Walsh said she considered the team's performance unimpressive despite the emphatic four-goal margin.

"We're trying to get a scoreline and a performance and today we didn't stamp our authority or play the fast-paced game we can," Walsh told BBC Sport.

"In that respect it's disappointing. The good thing is to get four goals on the scoreboard and get the three points.

"When we wake up in the morning we'll be in a positive frame of mind and on to the next game."

Belgium are ranked 19th in the world, whereas England are ranked fourth. Their next opponents, hosts Germany, are ranked third.

Both the men's and women's Euros are being held in the German town of Moenchengladbach, and they form the biggest remaining event for England before the London Olympics.

The Netherlands' women had earlier demolished Azerbaijan 8-0 to confirm their status as favourites to win European gold.

But, after a succession of bronze medals at this level in recent years, England are desperate to go at least one better and reach next Saturday's final.

In sweltering conditions England's first two goals came before the break, courtesy of Danson and Rogers finishing off goalmouth scrambles.

Belgium brought a hefty following to Moenchengladbach, many of whom felt the match officials deprived their side of several penalty corners, but the Belgians rarely threatened English goalkeeper Maddie Hinch.

Cullen finished the game as a contest with a driven penalty corner that squeezed home, and Walsh followed it with a crisp penalty corner of her own into the top corner.

The women now face Germany on Sunday at 1500 BST. In Saturday's other women's Pool B game, Germany beat Ireland 3-0.

"The key thing is to pick ourselves up quickly," said Walsh. "We'll look at things we can work on tonight and put them into play against the Germans.

"We'd like to play better but if we have to scrap it out again, we'll scrap it out again and take the three points."

Sunday also sees the beginning of the men's competition, in which England are the defending European champions having stunned Germany 5-3 to lift the title two years ago.

They begin their group stage against Ireland at 0900 BST inside the 9,000-capacity Warsteiner HockeyPark.

Both England teams are currently ranked fourth in the world. Though playing as England here, the team train full-time alongside players from the other home nations and will play as Britain at London 2012 - for which they are automatically qualified as the hosts.

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