Dragflick Newsdesk : England secured an historic first ever medal at the Junior Women’s World Cup after a thrilling victory over India.
England equalised with only 90 seconds of normal time left to level at 2-2 and take the game to a shootout which they won 3-0.
The victory was even more noteworthy given that England came into the event without a number of players who had moved up to the senior squad, and in this match they faced an Indian side containing more than half a dozen senior internationals; three of whom helped India finish fourth in the Tokyo Olympics. But the difference in experience was not evident as England dug deep to put on a display full of both character and quality.
Captain Millie Giglio – who opened the scoring – can be very proud of the mentality shown by her team. The event was initially postponed from late last year and it was uncertain whether England would be able to take part and which players would be available.
With limited preparation time, the team put all that to one side to play their best hockey out in South Africa and deserve great credit. A number of the England squad were playing Under 16 hockey last year but can now call themselves World Cup medalists.
It was player of the match Maddie Axford who scored the winning shootout, and she said after the game:
“It’s such an amazing feeling, I can’t believe it! We have put such a shift in, I am genuinely speechless. We’ve worked so hard. Everyone held their own, we never gave up and it’s all paid off, which is amazing.”
Head Coach Simon Letchford was equally proud, commenting:
“In every game we’ve played we have grown and learned, we’ve exerted a huge amount physically and I’m just so happy for the girls. I would also like to say well played to India, it is hard for anyone to lose, especially in that way.”