Goals from Lily Owsley and Sophie Bray guided England to a 2-0 win over Korea to progress to the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup.
England will now face the world number one side the Netherlands on Thursday night in front of another sell out crowd of 10,000 at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre.
The hosts took the lead after nine minutes when Bray pounced on a rebound and Owsley secured the win two minutes from time when she rolled into an empty net.
After the game goal scorer Lily Owsley said: “We had belief that the next goal would come, we were creating chances and I didn’t feel we were going to concede and that the next goal was coming for us.
“I’m thrilled with the win. These tournaments are all about momentum and we are unbeaten and have back to back wins now going into the quarter-finals.
“I’m so excited, nobody is pretending we aren’t underdogs but number one versus number two in the world in front of 10,000 people. Anything can happen.”
The hosts were immediately on the front foot and settled very quickly into the contest. Within the opening few minutes they were already making numerous circle entries through Danson, Owsley and Martin.
Their dominance eventually rewarded a goal when on nine minutes England moved ahead through Sophie Bray. A Long aerial ball from the back by Giselle Ansley took out the entire Korean team allowing Sarah Haycroft to collect in the circle. Her shot was saved but Bray followed up to finish on the reverse.
After the first break the attacking intent continued and straight from the restart Susannah Townsend fired narrowly wide past the far post.
Owsley was causing consistent problems with her pace and it was her turn and drive that created two further chances before half time. Firstly she found Danson but the keeper was quickly off her line before Owsley again dribbled through the Korean side however her cross narrowly evaded Bray on the stroke of half-time.
Korea regrouped and were more solid in the second half with England having to settle for more possession in deeper areas. The first chance of the quarter eventually fell to Korea but Maddie Hinch was able to comfortably kick away the effort.
England came close to doubling their lead as Martin danced her way into the circle but from a tight angle her cut back towards goal was picked up and cleared.
The final fifteen minutes started with the hosts pressing to double the lead and nearly did so when Townsend struck a volley towards goal but it was palmed away by the Korean keeper.
England continued to press but couldn’t snatch a second and there was to be late drama. Firstly Maddie Hinch was called twice into action to keep England’s lead intact and with the Koreans electing for a kicking back England broke and doubled their lead.
The dangerous Owsley once again outpaced the Korean defence and motored down the right before entering the circle and rolling home.
Next up England take on the Dutch on Thursday night at 8.15pm for a place in the semi-finals.
What’s your Reaction?