England Results Service, Hero Honda FIH World Cup 2010
New Delhi, India

Alastair Brogdon 23 (F)
Ashley Jackson 30, 33 (PC, PC)

Teun de Nooijer 22 (F)
Taeke Taekema 48 (PC)
Klaas Vermeulen 56 (F)
Rogier Hofman 67 (F)

England’s men took fourth place at the Hero Honda FIH World Cup in Delhi after a spirited second half fight back from a Dutch side ranked two places higher in the world rankings. England had responded well to going behind in the 22nd minute and led at the break through goals from Bowdon’s Alastair Brogdon and HGC’s Ashley Jackson but a Teun de Nooijer-inspired Netherlands came back strongly in the second half to win the match and the bronze medal; Rogier Hofman breaking English hearts with just three minutes to go.

The final classification of fourth is England’s best ever at a World Cup on foreign soil, second only to their silver medal at the 1986 World Cup in London.

Going into the match both sides were confident of coming away with bronze medals having beaten each other during their build up to the tournament. The Netherlands had beaten England 3-2 in the last tournament match between the sides, at the ABN AMRO Champions Trophy in December but for England, the European semi final win over the Dutch in Amsterdam last summer was still fresh in the memory.

Before the national anthems, England’s Surbiton pair Richard Alexander and James Tindall were presented with commemorative caps to mark their 100th international appearance for England in the match. The game against the Netherlands was also Ashley Jackson’s 50th for his home nation side.

For the Dutch, veteran goalkeeper Guus Vogels was handed the captain’s armband in celebration of his last match before retiring from international hockey.

Head Coach Jason Lee opted to keep the same starting XI that began Thursday’s semi final against Germany and they made a positive start to the match with Ashley Jackson winning an early free hit outside the Dutch circle on the left hand side.

Beeston’s Ali Wilson found himself taking an early rest on the sidelines after being shown a green card in just the third minute for knocking the ball away. The temporary suspension did not affect England though and after combining with Rob Moore on the left of the Netherlands’ circle, centurion James Tindall won a penalty corner off the foot of Wouter Jolie. Ashley Jackson’s effort was well charged down by the Dutch runner.

In the seventh minute the Netherlands broke upfield to where Jeroen Hertzberger was lurking menacingly on the English back line but his control let him down and the danger evaporated as quickly as it had been threatened.

At the other end, England’s captain Barry Middleton, who had led his team excellently throughout the tournament, took advantage of a Dutch turnover to win a free hit at the top of the circle. From the play, East Grinstead’s Glenn Kirkham found Middleton on the right but his shot from the angle flew over the bar.

Richard Alexander had a good opportunity to make a memorable impact on his100th England appearance in the tenth minute of the match; latching on to Ashley Jackson’s through pass Alexander found himself in a one-on-one with legendary Dutch goalkeeper Guus Vogels. Unfortunately for the Surbiton man, Vogels used all of his experience to read the situation and was quickly off his line, sliding out to block Alexander’s attempted flick towards goal.

Moments later, at the other end, the Netherlands scored with a goal out of nothing but it was quickly ruled out by the video umpire David Gentles after England successfully used their Team Referral. Teun De Nooijer had flicked a pass across the circle at chest height that Ali Wilson missed around the penalty spot and Rogier Hofman fired past Cannock goalkeeper James Fair. Surbiton defender Ben Hawes immediately ran to the Spanish umpire Marcello Servetto to request the referral and David Gentles agreed with Hawes that De Nooijer’s pass had been dangerous, forcing Hawes to take evasive action.

With the score remaining nil nil, England then forced a series of three penalty corners but the Netherlands stood firm. After James Tindall’s breakaway had won the first off the foot of Wouter Jolie, it was Tindall’s deflected effort that Vogels saved but played dangerously back towards the Surbiton forward. Richard Smith then saw two separate penalty corner efforts from the top of the circle cleared from in front of the goal line by Geert-Jan Derikx.

England were made to pay moments later when Robert van der Horst and Jeroen Hertzberger combined well to set up Teun de Nooijer to open the scoring in the 22nd minute. Van der Horst found Herzberger on the left of the England circle and his low flat pass to the near post was met by de Nooijer who had timed his run to perfection, deflecting the ball over James Fair.

England’s response to going behind was instantaneous. A minute after de Nooijer’s goal, Rob Moore received the ball in behind the Dutch defence and shot at goal. Again Vogels was quickly off his line but the shot spun up off his pads into the centre of the circle to where Bowdon forward Alastair Brogdon was waiting. The 22 year old Leeds Metropolitan University student still had work to do as he twisted his body to bat the ball home from waist height to score his second England goal in 25 appearances.

James Fair was soon called into action to save on his near post from Valentin Verga after the Dutchman had created good space for a shot on the inside left.

Just before the half hour mark Barry Middleton successfully appealed to the video umpire for a penalty corner after a Dutch foot in the circle. Ashley Jackson was back on the pitch having been on the bench during the previous three corners and with a low flick to his HGC teammate Guus Vogels’ left he put England ahead for the first time in the match. The goal was Jackson’s sixth in the tournament and an excellent way to mark his 50th appearance in an England shirt.

With three minutes until the break, Dan Fox made an excellent diving tackle on his reverse side as the Netherlands bore down on James Fair’s goal and less than 30 seconds later it was the Hampstead & Westminster defender who found himself with time to shoot from the top of the Dutch circle. His good effort to the back post forced Vogels to stretch out a leg to ensure England did not extend their lead.

Just before half time England were awarded their sixth penalty corner of the match and it was the World Young Player of the Year Jackson who once again showed his outstanding ability with a powerful flick high to the goalkeeper’s right to give England a 3-1 lead at the break.

The Netherlands began the second half looking to pull a goal back quickly and Ronald Brouwer had an opportunity in the 40th minute but he lost his footing as he attacked the English circle. Two minutes later Teun de Nooijer looked certain to score after coming in off the baseline and riding a Richard Smith tackle. James Fair was smartly off his line, forcing the Dutchman up towards the top of the circle. Twice Fair went down as de Nooijer shaped to shoot and twice the Dutch playmaker moved the goalkeeper again before blazing his shot over the bar with Fair on the ground.

In the 42nd minute Ali Wilson was yellow carded for time wasting as he kept a second ball on the pitch to prevent the Dutch from countering quickly and the Netherlands pressed to make the numerical advantage count.

Reading’s Iain Mackay, who sustained a broken nose in the Pool B match with India last Saturday, then found himself on the Dutch baseline but crowded out by four defenders and unable to find the support of a teammate his opportunity was gone.

On the counter attack Valentin Verga broke down field and into the circle where he won the Netherlands’ first penalty corner of the match. Going into the game Taeke Taekema was the tournament’s joint top goal scorer and he went top in his own right from the set play, albeit with a touch of good fortune. Taekema’s flick deflected off the shin guard of the first English runner, Richard Alexander, and wrong footed James Fair in goal as it flew into the bottom corner to bring the Netherlands right back into the match.

Ben Hawes, who had already made a number of excellent tackles and who went on to be named the Man of Steel for the game’s best defender, was called upon in the 51st minute when he made a solid flat stick tackle as the Netherlands broke quickly.

Beeston’s Wilson then made a good block on the baseline from Rogier Hofman before James Fair cut out a cross circle pass with an outstretched leg.

On 56 minutes England found themselves in trouble as Klaas Vermeulen drove along the right baseline. Looking for a teammate, he played the ball across the front of goal where Surbiton’s Rob Moore picked it up on his reverse stick only to unluckily see the ball slide off his stick and into the bottom corner beyond Fair to give the Netherlands an equaliser.

Much of the second period had been about the Netherlands attacking at pace but England were given brief respite when Robert van der Horst and Marcel Balkenstein both received green card suspensions within a minute of each other. With a two man disadvantage the Dutch sat deep, defending in numbers and preventing England from creating any real opportunities.

Despite the Dutch team’s second half performance the match was delicately balanced at 3-3 going into the final ten minutes. Captain Barry Middleton came close to connecting with Richard Alexander’s pass on the near post but the ball passed across the face of Vogel’s goal untouched. At the other end Rob Reckers looked dangerous until Ashley Jackson successfully brought him to a halt inside the circle.

With three minutes remaining Rogier Hofman broke English hearts with a goal of sheer persistence. Dan Fox narrowly failed to pick up a pass into the circle on his reverse stick and Hofman stole in behind to latch onto the loose ball. Evading tackles from Glenn Kirkham and Richard Smith, Hofman flicked the bouncing ball over the onrushing Fair and into the net to complete a remarkable Dutch comeback.

In the final minute, resolute defending prevented Taeke Taekema from extending the lead at a penalty corner and with the clock counting down the Netherlands held firm as England threw everything at them in search of an equaliser.

It was not to be though as de Nooijer launched a long aerial pass downfield and the final hooter sounded leaving England’s heroes on the floor, clearly disappointed to have come so close to only a second ever World Cup medal.

Speaking immediately after the match, England Hockey Head Coach Jason Lee explained what he felt had changed the game. “For 40 minutes we played the better hockey and were the dominant side,” he said. “In the end though we missed a few chances, final passes or control let us down and we found ourselves chasing back a lot. Against the likes of de Nooijer that’s very hard to do and we made it difficult for ourselves.

“We’re very disappointed at the moment and we probably will be for a few weeks. We’re disappointed because we believed in ourselves that we could have done even better in the latter stages but overall the players have had a fantastic tournament.”

Already looking to the future, Lee added, “We will continue to focus on our development and look to put ourselves in the position to contest the medals at future tournaments.”

Adding to the coach’s comments, Team Manager Andy Halliday said, “It has been a privilege working with this group here. The strength and spirit they have bodes well for the future. We’re disappointed with the match result but a top four finish is a tremendous effort for an improving team like ours.”

England’s players will return to the UK on Sunday.

Squad v Netherlands
(Caps & goals have been updated on the attached sheet)

James Fair (Cannock)
Adam Dixon (Beeston)
Ben Hawes (Surbiton)
Richard Smith (Loughborough Students)
Alistair Wilson (Beeston)
Ashley Jackson (HGC)
Glenn Kirkham (East Grinstead)
Barry Middleton (C) (HGC)
Rob Moore (Surbiton)
Iain Mackay (Reading)
James Tindall (Surbiton)

Substitutes Used
Richard Alexander (Surbiton)
Alasdair Brogdon (Bowdon)
Nick Catlin (Loughborough Students)
Jonty Clarke (Reading)
Dan Fox (Hampstead & Westminster)

Did Not Play
Nick Brothers (Reading)
Richard Mantell (Reading) – withdrawn injured

Fixtures & Results
The results of the other matches at the World Cup and the forthcoming fixtures are included on the attached document.

Rights Free Image **to follow**
Credit: Grant Treeby/EHB

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Further Information
Lawrence West. PR & Sponsorship Officer, 01628 897509/07525 987283