Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

England Play like Headless Chickens ... We Could Win 5-0; DUTCH CAPTAIN'S TAUNT AHEAD OF LAST-EIGHT CLASHHolland Insist Olympic Hero Hinch Won't Stop Them Now

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

England Play like Headless Chickens ... We Could Win 5-0; DUTCH CAPTAIN'S TAUNT AHEAD OF LAST-EIGHT CLASHHolland Insist Olympic Hero Hinch Won't Stop Them Now

Article excerpt

Byline: Rod Gilmour

HOLLAND captain Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel has raised the stakes before tonight's Hockey World Cup quarterfinal by claiming that England play like headless chickens and can be beaten 5-0. In a damning indictment of England's chances, she also highlighted the world No2 side's lack of trophies since Great Britain won gold at the Rio Olympics in 2016 and admitted she had been unimpressed watching the hosts' run to the last eight.

The 31-year-old said: "It's a little 'chicken without the head' hockey. They get the ball and run hard forward.

"They are fit and have a quick changeover, but otherwise there is no thought behind it. I am not impressed by them."

Holland lost major finals to England at the 2015 EuroHockey Championships in London, and to Great Britain at the 2016 Olympics, but the topranked side have been unbeaten since that famous night in Rio.

"In comparison with the Games, I find the difference between the teams now greater than it was then," she said. "Can it be 5-0? Yes, it could be. I do not think it's going to be a breeze, but I know we're going to win.

"Even in the English press they still talk about that game at the Olympics. But much has changed in two years.

England have won no prize since then." Dirkse van den Heuvel's strong views may prove valid given her enviable international record.

This week she won her 200th cap and has experienced just 13 defeats since making her debut in 2008.

In London, the Dutch brand of 'total hockey' has yielded 26 goals in three games, to England's five in four. In reference to England's play-off victory on Tuesday, which set up tonight's clash, she added: "We were 7-0 against South Korea in one half. They were just 1-0 [2-0 at full-time]."

Although Holland have injected fresh talent after a number of star players retired after Rio and installed a new team culture under their Australian coach Alyson Annan, the two title defeats to their rivals clearly rankle. …

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