Source: England Hockey

England win first ever medal at Junior Women’s World Cup

  • +1

England secured an historic first ever medal at the Junior Women’s World Cup after a thrilling victory over India.

England equalised with only 90 seconds of normal time left to level at 2-2 and take the game to a shootout which they won 3-0.

The victory was even more noteworthy given that England came into the event without a number of players who had moved up to the senior squad, and in this match they faced an Indian side containing more than half a dozen senior internationals; three of whom helped India finish fourth in the Tokyo Olympics. But the difference in experience was not evident as England dug deep to put on a display full of both character and quality.

Captain Millie Giglio – who opened the scoring – can be very proud of the mentality shown by her team. The event was initially postponed from late last year and it was uncertain whether England would be able to take part and which players would be available. With limited preparation time, the team put all that to one side to play their best hockey out in South Africa and deserve great credit. A number of the England squad were playing Under 16 hockey last year but can now call themselves World Cup medalists.

It was player of the match Maddie Axford who scored the winning shootout, and she said after the game: “It’s such an amazing feeling, I can’t believe it! We have put such a shift in, I am genuinely speechless. We’ve worked so hard. Everyone held their own, we never gave up and it’s all paid off, which is amazing.”

Head Coach Simon Letchford was equally proud, commenting: “In every game we’ve played we have grown and learned, we’ve exerted a huge amount physically and I’m just so happy for the girls. I would also like to say well played to India, it is hard for anyone to lose, especially in that way.”

Skipper Giglio added: “I’m absolutely over the moon. Not only are we the youngest England side to play in this tournament, we have also made history today. This team only came together two months ago with brand new people in a brand new squad but we’ve smashed it. I am so proud. We’ve given it our all and we’ve been rewarded.”

Match report
England 2 Giglio (18 FG), Swain (58 FG)
India 2 Mumtaz (21 FG, 47 FG)

England win shootout 3-0

Starting XI: Welch (GK), Burnley, Mackenzie, Brough, Guckian, Chapple, Curtis, Long, McCabe, Giglio (C), Axford
Subs (used): Wood (GK), Mason, Martin, Manton, Butterworth, Gardens, Swain

England had to deal with some early penalty corners from their Indian opponents, but Simon Letchford’s team started the game with composure and were certainly not overawed against their more experienced opponents. Tilly Butterworth made an incisive run into the Indian D after five minutes but was denied by the umpire’s whistle. And then right at the end of the first quarter Claudia Swain did very well down the left but her shot was just wide at the near post.

Into the second quarter India had a big chance through Lalrindiki, but she couldn’t find the target when very well placed. Then England made them pay as captain Millie Giglio’s underhit shot found its way home through the legs of goalkeeper Kharibam.

The lead did not last too long though as the impressive Mumtaz Khan levelled matters with a very tidy finish after the initial shot was saved well by Mila Welch. Just before the interval England went close again as Giglio hit one on the reverse, but the teams went in level at the break.

The third quarter was understandably a tight affair as both teams cancelled each other out, but England set the tone for the final quarter by flying out of the traps and winning two corners in succession. It was Mumtaz though who scored next, producing another lovely finish on 47 minutes as England unsuccessfully asked for it be disallowed for danger. With no video referrals, England had no choice but to simply get on with it, and to their credit they did just that.

On 52 minutes they fashioned a big chance for Becky Manton but she just had to stretch too far to get it on target. So again, England had to dig deep and removed their ‘keeper to line up with eleven outfield players. Coach Simon Letchford’s decision very much paid dividends as Maddie Axford cut forwards excellently, and as Vicki McCabe made a nuisance of herself in the middle, it ran free for Swain to produce a lovely finish and take the game to a shootout.

India went first in the shootout, but Evie Wood did brilliantly in the English goal to deny Sharmila Devi. And when Katie Curtis scored to put England 1-0 up, they never gave up the advantage. Sangita Kumari was desperately disappointed to shoot wide in India’s second attempt, while Swain scored confidently for England. Indian captain Salima Tete was unfortunate as her attempt appeared to be stopped early by the umpire’s whistle, and Axford made no mistake on the reverse to send her team into raptures.

While there were tears of joy for England, one must also spare a thought for those Indian players left visibly upset at the end of the game. It was a fantastic advert for the sport and both teams can be very proud of their efforts.

Full squad:

Beth Alexander – Loughborough University
Emma Allroggen – Berliner
Maddie Axford – University of Nottingham
Bronte Brough – Repton Hockey Club
Ella Burnley – ISCA
Tilly Butterworth – Repton Hockey Club
Kitty Chapple – Clifton Robinsons
Katie Curtis – University of Nottingham
Georgie Gardens – Harleston Magpies
Millie Giglio (Captain) – University of Birmingham
Emily Guckian – Harvard University
Maddie Long – Surbiton
Lorna Mackenzie – Loughborough University
Vicki McCabe – Team Bath Buccaneers
Sofia Martin – Southgate
Becky Manton – University of Birmingham
Mollie Mason (Co-Vice Captain) – University of Nottingham
Claudia Swain – University of Nottingham
Mila Welch (GK and Co-Vice Captain) – East Grinstead
Evie Wood (GK) – University of BirminghamSupport Staff
Simon Letchford – Head Coach
John Bell – Assistant Coach
Leigh Maasdorp – Manager
Tom Millington – Goalkeeping Coach
Lynn Booth – Physiotherapist
Hannah Cureton – Performance AnalystWith thanks to England Hockey