Updated: Saturday, 02 August 2014 03:28 | By Agence France-Presse

'Geek' helps England into women's hockey final

England will face Australia for women's hockey gold at the Commonwealth Games after a self-confessed goalkeeping 'geek' helped them beat New Zealand 3-1 on a penalty shootout on Friday.


'Geek' helps England into women's hockey final

General view during the women's field hockey match between Australia and England at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on July 28, 2014 - by Glyn Kirk

Defending champions Australia had earlier cruised into the final with a 7-1 mauling of South Africa.

The two sides have already met once in the competition already with Australia running out 3-0 winners in the group stages.

England keeper Maddie Hinch foiled penalties from Anita Punt, Katie Glynn and Stacey Michelsen to book her side's place in a Commonwealth final for the first time since 2002.

"I do my homework. I'm renowned to be quite a geek when it comes to this stuff. I watch videos of the players taking penalties and take notes," said Hinch.

"There's no doubt Australia are tough opposition. We played them in the pool match and lost 3-0 but it was a close match. I absolutely believe we can beat them, it's just about taking our chances."

And England coach Danny Kerry also believes they can take heart from their first game against Australia.

"We had more shots than they did in the last game and that was the first time that has happened in two years," he said.

"We always knew today was going to be a hard game. We lost a couple of players from our London 2012 Olympic team.

"Most of the players here today are very young and I am just delighted with what they did."

In a tight game of few chances, Lilly Owsley's goal just before the half hour mark looked to have England on course for victory.

However, Glynn brilliantly swept home Michelsen's cross two minutes from time to send the game into a penalty shootout.

And goals from Georgie Twigg, Alex Danson and Susie Gilbert allied to Hinch's heroics sent England through.

- Aussies favourites -

They will now face Australia who have won the gold medal in three of the four competitions since hockey was introduced to the Commonwealth programme.

Australia took their tally for the tournament to 32 goals in five matches in Glasgow by thrashing South Africa.

"I am very satisfied with the performance. Our ability, particularly in the second-half, to finish off our chances was excellent," said Australia coach Adam Commens.

"This team has come a long way from four years ago when we just battled through and in the end won a gold medal, which was a great achievement.

"But now we are really smashing sides so it shows the sky is the limit and we can really move on after this tournament."

South Africa coach Giles Bonnet, meanwhile, lamented his side's inability to beat New Zealand in their pool earlier in the week which meant facing Australia in the semi-finals.

"Australia are a great team. We knew that from before and we wanted to avoid them," he said.

"We knew the New Zealand game was really important for us. We played well, but unfortunately we didn't get the result and then you face Australia.

"When you look at the number of scoring chances, their conversation ratio is extremely high, they are very clinical."

After a tight start, Emily Smith put the Aussies in front and Kellie White quickly doubled their lead to send the reigning champions in 2-0 ahead at half-time.

White, Georgina Parker and Jane Claxton made it 5-0 after the break before Australia conceded for the first time in the tournament when Celia Evans turned home a consolation for South Africa.

However, normal service was quickly resumed as Parker slammed home her second of the game before Georgia Nanscawen rounded off the scoring.

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