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Page last updated at 17:41 GMT, Sunday, 11 July 2010 18:41 UK

Netherlands beat England in hockey's Champions Trophy

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Highlights - England 0-3 Netherlands

By Ollie Williams
BBC Sport in Nottingham

England's women were handed a dose of reality by world and Olympic champions the Netherlands after their opening-day Champions Trophy success in Nottingham.

The hosts, seventh in the world, beat world number two Argentina on Saturday but could not contain the Netherlands.

Ellen Hoog's simple opener was followed by a Kelly Jonker goal from a Dutch counter-attack, before Eva de Goede completed a 3-0 win from close range.

"It hurts but there are positives," England's Kate Walsh told BBC Sport.

"And we can't forget yesterday's performance [against Argentina].

Cullen disappointed by Dutch loss

"We've got a rest day on Monday to get ourselves back up and make sure everyone is feeling positive about their individual game.

"We knew these two first games were the hardest. Now we can pick ourselves up, start the tournament again, and take some points off China and Germany."

The Netherlands are the world's finest female hockey team and, despite having occasionally looked vulnerable in their opening 3-1 win over New Zealand, showed very little weakness against coach Danny Kerry's England side.

In contrast England failed to reach reach the heights which propelled them to a 2-1 victory over Argentina on Saturday.

Lidewij Welten had already fired a warning shot over goalkeeper Beth Storry's crossbar before England defender Crista Cullen gave away possession, allowing Hoog an easy reverse-stick goal.

Towards the end of what might politely be called an attritional first half, a squandered England penalty corner handed the Netherlands a breakaway from which Jonker picked off a second.

The Dutch are so professional, they know how to play the umpires and the technical bench, and perhaps that's something we can learn

Kate Walsh, England captain

England's players, unimpressed with veteran Argentine umpire Soledad Iparraguirre for the decision which set their opponents on the break, needed to channel that anger into a battling second-half performance.

But a lengthy stoppage following a nasty head injury to the Netherlands' Sophie Polkamp made it all the harder for them to build momentum.

While they had more possession after the interval, the home side lacked the invention needed to open up a team sitting on a comfortable lead.

Three minutes from time, as England began to flag, De Goede slapped home a rebound following a smart Storry save to round off proceedings.

"We will all make mistakes and Crista is a fantastic player, we'll make sure she's ready for the next game," said England captain Walsh, who placed more emphasis on the Netherlands' controversial second strike.

England said after the game that they still did not know why their penalty corner attempt had been curtailed by umpire Iparraguirre, leaving players stranded in the Dutch half as their opponents broke away to score.

"It's really frustrating. You don't like to blame the umpires but it's difficult enough when you're playing the world's number one team without those little, added advantages," said Walsh.

"The Dutch are so professional, they know how to play the umpires and the technical bench, and perhaps that's something we can learn if it'll make us the number one team in the world."

England have not beaten the Dutch since December 2003, where Kate Walsh scored the only goal in a 1-0 win, and were hammered 5-0 by the Netherlands in their last competitive meeting, at 2009's EuroHockey Nations Championships.

And this result gives England's target of a top-four finish at the six-team Champions Trophy some perspective after Saturday's memorable victory, their first over Argentina in 20 years.

British officials will use this tournament, which sits behind the Olympic Games and World Cup in the pecking order of hockey competitions, to measure their progress with just over two years to go until the Games begin.

While the team taking part here is badged as England and not Britain, the two squads share the same coaching staff and the GB team is predominantly made up of English players.

606: DEBATE

This is the first time a British squad has been kept in place for a full four-year Olympic cycle in the run-up to London 2012, training together each week.

Particularly relevant here is how England (and hence Britain) perform against the world's best teams in front of a home crowd - the country has never previously hosted a women's tournament of this stature.

Not that they had much of a crowd to impress, playing to a half-full 2,000-seater grandstand.

While the British Grand Prix and World Cup final are tough events for any sport to go up against, it says little for hockey's core fan base in this country that a fixture between the national side and the world's best team can draw so few supporters.

Organisers must hope that England's form returns before next weekend's matches, where golf's Open Championship provides the only major distraction.

The tournament concludes next Sunday with the final, plus play-offs for the remaining places.

Earlier on the second day, Germany fought a determined rearguard action to hold Argentina to a 2-2 draw, a result which may help English chances as it deprives both rivals of valuable points.

New Zealand and China, who lost to the Netherlands and Germany respectively on the opening day, faced each other in the late match on Sunday with China winning 3-1.

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see also
England stun Argentina in opener
10 Jul 10 |  Hockey
Nottingham hosts hockey's finest
09 Jul 10 |  Hockey
GB on course for 2012 - Mantell
10 Jul 10 |  Hockey
First England call-up for Twigg
29 Jun 10 |  Hockey


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