English coach Bobby Crutchley says that if his side are not already
wary of the challenge Ireland pose on Wednesday, he will not be shy in
His side fell 2-1 to the Netherlands to leave the final group game
between Ireland and the English as a winner-takes-all affair for a
The Dutch advanced to the final four but, in a decent second half
showing, England showed enough quality to put them in the favourites
bracket on Wednesday.
Middleton fired home a 54th minute goal to give his side a lifeline
after Billy Bakker and Jelle Galema had put the Dutch 2-0 up at
Speaking afterwards, Crutchley said that the next match will be a huge tussle for his side.
“When you saw the fixtures, you knew it was always likely to be the
crunch game for the semi-finals,” he said. “We are very aware of the
challenge ahead. The Irish team have been improving for a number of
years and they’ve shown again here they are a high quality side.
“We’re a reasonably inexperienced squad; we’ve only got six guys here
from the Olympics. That make it a tough game for our guys to appreciate
how hard it could potentially be. But don’t worry, I will be telling
them if they don’t already know.”
He added, though, that due to the volume of players who have played
in England before means that most will have already have had face to
face experience with their opposite number.
“There’s also a lot of connections whether it be through club or ex-university team mates. They know each other pretty well.”
Middleton chipped in by pointing out that a brotherly showdown was ruled out, saying: “No Gleghornes though!”
Crutchley joked that Paul and Mark’s sibling rivalry could act as a
substitute for the game itself: “I’m sure the two could have played the
game on their own to decide it!”
Ireland fell to England 3-2 at the Hamburg Masters last month and
have yet to beat England in a ranking event and the stats are heavily in
the English court with June 2002 in Manchester the last time Ireland
recorded a win.
** Pic by Grant Treeby/FIH
Ireland vs England (head to head)
98 meetings; IRL 12 wins, England 66 wins, 12 draws; Ireland’s biggest win 3-0, Belfast 1938; England’s biggest win 8-0 in 1909
* Ireland 2 (Kyle Good, Conor Harte) England 3 (Tom Carson, Darren Cheesman, Nick Catlin); Hamburg Masters, July 2013
* Ireland 2 (Chris Cargo, John Jermyn) England 4 (Barry Middleton 2,
Matt Daly, Ashley Jackson); August 2011 Europeans in Monchengladbach
* Ireland 1 (John Jermyn) England 1, August 2007 Europeans in Manchester in group stage
* Ireland’s most recent win – June 2002, Manchester; 3-1 (Stephen Butler, Mark Raphael, Julian Stevenson)