Goals from Will Calnan and Luke Taylor secured England a mouth-watering 2018 Men’s Hockey World Cup quarter-final tie with Argentina.
It was a second straight win for Danny Kerry’s side at the tournament, following on from their 4-2 victory over Ireland in the previous game.
The Black Sticks had chances throughout the game but couldn’t find a way past George Pinner, while at the other end Mike Joyce was also kept very busy.
There was nothing he could do to prevent Calnan or Taylor though as England secured their place in the final eight against the reigning Olympic champions, a match Player of the Match Liam Sanford firmly believes they can win.
“We learnt from our previous games and knew we had to control it, knew when we were on the ball we had to keep it and the team did that really well today,” he said.
“Tonight we’ll just enjoy the victory and then go away and learn from the game – there’s lots we can still improve on.
“We’ve shown in the last game and this that we can overcome those tough fixtures so it’s all to play for.”
Other than a Mark Gleghorne corner that was easily saved, the first half was quiet until Phil Roper brought it to life in the 25th minute, superbly controlling Sanford’s aerial before going on a mazy run and lifting the ball over Joyce for Calnan to nudge home.
Liam Ansell almost added a second moments later but his shot just went the wrong side of the post, while at the other end Pinner was on hand to block Nick Ross’ fierce strike.
Both ‘keepers were required to be at their best in the third quarter, Joyce producing a brilliant double save to thwart James Gall and Sanford after an electric break while Pinner instinctively stuck a pad out to prevent Stephen Jenness equalising.
There was no stopping Taylor’s 44th minute strike though as he rifled the ball into the roof of the goal after Adam Dixon’s corner hit the post.
New Zealand pressed hard in the final quarter, Jenness forcing Pinner into another save in the 49th minute before they employed a kicking back for the final ten minutes.
There was to be no way through however, while at the other end Gleghorne saw another corner brilliantly charged down by Cory Bennett as England looked to find a third.
Danny Kerry’s side will take on Argentina on Wednesday 12 December live on BT Sport.
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