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Saturday, 3 August, 2002, 18:44 GMT 19:44 UK

England dignified in defeat

By Sean Kerly
Former Olympic gold medallist

England's decision to forego a second appeal against India's golden goal was a very dignified one, and the only way to go forward at the time.

They believed the umpire's whistle sounded to signal the end of the half and not to award a goal, after Mambta Kharab put the ball in the net.

There's certainly a lot of confusion over this issue.

But even if the whistle or the hooter sounds, play doesn't stop from a short corner until either a goal is scored or the ball leaves the D.

The technical team looked at the replay and made what I think was a good decision.

While the ruling was being made the England players stayed out on the pitch.

But that wasn't their decision, they were just doing what they were told by their team officials.

After all, if the goal had been ruled out they would have had to be ready to play on.

I think part of the reason England deliberated over a second appeal for so long was the sheer disappointment they felt.

They were all over the Indians for most of the second half, and if they had converted 10% of their chances they would have won the game.

When they sit down and think about the match after the furore has died down, it's the opportunities they missed that will disappoint the English girls.

After all, it's been a fantastic tournament for England and beating Australia in the semi-final was the obvious highlight.

It was totally unexpected but they worked hard for it and will have learned a lot over the last two weeks.

They created plenty of chances and just have to get a little better at making them count.

The coach Tricia Heberle has done a great job, along with her assistant Ian Jennings, to get this England team organised over the last 14 months.

But we shouldn't ignore what the Indians have achieved in Manchester - it's been astonishing.

There's a World Cup at the end of the year and they will not be there as they haven't qualified.

Yet they've just won a tournament that included Australia, England and New Zealand.

They are a skilfull and tenacious team with a fantastic conversion rate of chances scored.

So despite the ending, I hope people will remember the last two weeks of this tournament.

The England girls are very upset, and it was very big of the team to accept the defeat when they're not sure they've been beaten.


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