CWG22: England Set Up Semi-finals Vs Australia

England 11

Phil Roper (2 FG, 45 PC); Nick Bandurak (16 FG, 38 PC, 50 PC, 59 FG); Liam Ansell (19; PC); Zach Wallace (24 PS, 44 PS); Stuart Rushmere (54 PC); Sam Ward (55 FG)

Canada 2

Brendan Guraliuk (11 PC, 56 FG)

England finished Pool B unbeaten after an 11-2 demolition of Canada at the Commonwealth Games.

Top goalscorer Nick Bandurak led the charge with four, while Phil Roper and captain Zach Wallace both chipped in with two apiece.

Sam Ward, Stuart Rushmere and Liam Ansell also got in on the act to complete the scoring in Birmingham.

Canada went into the second quarter level at 1-1 but a red card for Balraj Panesar left them facing an uphill struggle.

The result means England finish second, level on points with India at the top of Pool B but with an inferior goal difference.

The host nation will now face Australia in Saturday’s semi-final at 6pm, where the winner will be guaranteed a medal at the 2022 Games

England: Payne, Waller, Wallace, Ward, Albery, Roper, Goodfield, Ansell, Condon, Sorsby, Smith.

Subs: Griffiths, Sloan, Mazarelo, Rushmere, Creed, Bandurak, Calnan.

Match Report

England got off to a dream start to their final Pool stage match when Roper finished smartly with a deft reverse shot, after a clever lay-off from David Condon.

Already assured of a place in the final four, the host nation looked relaxed and controlled possession in the early stages.

But Canada showed their ability to break at speed and scored from one of their first attacks of the match.

A foul from Tom Sorsby led to a penalty corner and, after an initial double save from Oli Payne, Brendan Guraliuk converted from close range to level the score.

England responded swiftly in the second quarter and re-took the lead when Zach Wallace made a wonderful break down the right to give Bandurak the chance to get his inevitable goal.

Ansell added the third after a swiftly taken long corner reached him at the top of the circle, the forward spinning a defender and finding the net with a precise finish.

England’s flurry continued when Wallace converted a penalty stroke, after a goal-bound shot had been blocked by a Canadian foot.

The game’s major flashpoint came in the final seconds of the first half, a confrontation between Panesar and Chris Griffiths seeing the Canadian player take exception to his stick being held.

His aggressive reaction led to a red card from the officials, while Griffiths saw yellow.

Once England were back up to their full complement, the rest of the match took a familiar pattern, with Canada defending deeply in the circle, trying to keep the score to a minimum.

Another Bandurak strike from a penalty corner made it five, before a second clinical penalty stroke from Wallace further extended the English lead.

At this point England withdrew goalkeeper Oli Payne in search of more goals, with the possibility of winning by a big enough margin to top the Pool not unrealistic at this stage.

Rushmere got in on the act with a low drag flick and Ward brought up double figures on the rebound after substitute keeper Ethan McTavish made an excellent initial save.

Any chance of England chasing down the required goal difference went when a rare Canadian foray down the other end allowed Guraliuk to get his second.

But it was fitting that the prolific Bandurak had the final word.

The top scorer at the Games emphatically slotted home from close range after a wonderful team move saw England cut through the Canadian defence.

England may have finished second but they do progress to the semi-final unbeaten.

Having scored 25 goals across four Pool stage matches, they will look forward to taking on the Kookaburras in Saturday evening’s crunch semi-final.

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