England saw out their final group games in style, with another two impressive score lines. The host nation Hungary managed to prevent an England clean sheet, but were powerless to stop the English momentum, falling 27-1 to the red and white tide. The following game with Italy was not dissimilar, seeing England round out their group games with a 22-0 clean sheet.
The English came out all guns blazing, giving up only 16 shots (for 1 goal) across both games. The defence looked calm and in control throughout, with both Coote and Baxter at ease in the cage.
The only thing that was more surprising than the defensive record, was the sudden numbers the England attackers began to put up. Sugden, Roden and Guy were involved in 21 of the 27 goals England scored against Hungary, whilst the Italy game saw Watson take 8 points, Hunns snag 9 and Roden crop up again with a further 8 points.
Things have undoubtedly been going well for England, and coach Tom Wenham has been pleased with the way the tournament has gone so far. When we asked about the feeling around the England camp he was brimming with positivity:
“The atmosphere has been great. Having all the teams staying at the same place has been ideal, particularly with some of the games being on-site as well. The organisers have done an amazing job.”
On England’s closest game, against Latvia (13-10), Tom remained pragmatic:
“The Latvia game was one that the coaches had assessed beforehand as a potentially tough game so it came as no surprise to us. They’ve got some very talented players, are well organised and well coached. We were disappointed with the performance and didn’t execute the game plan as we’d have liked but were pleased with the win.”
England now advance to play Switzerland on August 3rd in the quarter-finals. Despite the impressive start, mistakes at this stage could cost England dearly. With so many games played already, and three tough games yet to be played the emphasis will be on the team to stay healthy and prepare.
Captain Nick Watson added: “We have had a successful pool campaign and the team are hitting their performance goals but now is when it counts and we need to take our performance up to the next level. We cannot underestimate Switzerland and it will be a tough match today.”
Wenham’s closing sentiments on the team were simple: “We’re obviously pleased with the five wins, however we all feel that there’s a lot more to come and we haven’t reached our potential yet.”