With a victory over Korea Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup hosts England have booked and secured a quarter-final showdown with rivals the Netherlands on Thursday night.
The sides last met at the semi-final stage of the EuroHockey Championships back in 2017 where the dutch edged past England 1-0 in front of a partisan home crowd.
The tables will be turned tomorrow night as 10,500 England fans pack into Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre to see the next episode in their rivalry.
There was a great deal of excitement for the contest from England’s stars after their 2-0 victory over Korea and anticipation is already skyrocketing amongst fans and players alike.
Lily Owsley, who scored against Korea and was on target in Great Britain’s famous win over the dutch in the Rio 2016 Olympic final, said: “Games like this only come around a few times in a career and even fewer times on home soil in front of 10,000 fans.
“I don’t think they would admit it, but I guarantee the Dutch do not want to be playing us in the quarter finals here, given our history, given how we are playing and building.
“They are unbeaten, we are unbeaten, we’ve been building and building with those chances being created and created and we are starting to put them away.
“Nobody is pretending we aren’t underdogs. The Dutch are brilliant and the number one side in the world. World number one versus number two with 10,000 fans cheering us on, anything can happen.”
England vice-captain Laura Unsworth is equally excited and believes that the extra match the team have played in the crossover could offer some momentum.
She said: “It’s always great playing the Dutch, they’re the world numbers one and we’re the world number two so to have us in the quarter-finals, you couldn’t ask for a better match.
“It was a tight match against them in the European semi-final last summer but we’re a year on, we’ve had another year’s training behind us and we’ll be ready to go come Thursday evening.
“I think playing this extra game does give us an advantage. Because we’re in a centralised programme playing this extra game is no different for us so getting out there and getting an extra game under our belt we’ll keep on gaining momentum.
“We’ve had two draws and now two wins in our last two matches so morale is really high and we’re really excited going into Thursday’s match.”
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