Rabobank Hockey World Cup: England believe they are stronger after warm-up defeats
Last Updated: 29/05/14 8:17am
England Hockey forwards Tom Carson and Simon Mantell believe they are ready for the Rabobank World Cup and have learned lessons from warm-up defeats to Australia.
England failed to build upon a promising first-half display for the second successive match as they lost 3-1 to Australia, who they will face at the World Cup in The Hague on June 7.
It was a second defeat in as many days for England after they also lost 2-1 to the reigning world champions on Saturday, with Phil Roper’s 11th minute strike being cancelled out by goals from Kieran Govers and Chris Ciriello.
Carson admits being drawn alongside Australia in Pool A will be challenging, but believes England have gained valuable experience from their narrow misses.
“We are so tight in the group stage and we’ve got a great chance but it is going to be tough,” he told Sky Sports.
“Australia are a good side, they are ranked higher than us but both games we competed and could have beaten them in both of them.
“We’re going in positive that we can get a result against them, we’ve just got to put our game out there and win.”
Fellow forward Mantell echoed the sentiments of Carson and claims facing Australia before the tournament gets underway was a significant step for England.
I think warm-up games before tournaments are very valuable because you’ve got the opportunity to try everything against a top team.
“I think warm-up games before tournaments are very valuable because you’ve got the opportunity to try everything against a top team,” he said.
“Playing against a top team is pretty important because if you play against lower level teams then you might not get as much out of the actual game.
“They are a team that have been up there in the top one or two over the last five or six years so we will look at the games in detail.”
Mantell, who missed the 2010 World Cup and London 2012 Olympics after breaking his left and right feet respectively, returned to action as England claimed bronze in the 2012-14 World League and is hoping to avoid any late injury blows.
“We have to dedicate a lot of time and energy towards our training and we’re very lucky that we have a full-time programme which we’ve been in for five or six years,” he added.
“I had a couple of bad experiences before the 2010 World Cup in India I unfortunately broke my foot and also did the same on my other foot eight weeks before London 2012.
“It wasn’t ideal but that’s just an occupational hazard of what we do, these things happen and you’ve just got to try and bounce back to get back playing as quick as possible.”
Sky Sports will be broadcasting all 38 matches from the World Cup live and Mantell believes the coverage will go a long way to raising the profile of the sport.
“It is incredible for us that we’re getting so much exposure,” he claimed. “Every game on Sky Sports is fantastic and I think building from London 2012 the responsibility is on us to have some success at world level.
“If we can have some success with the cameras on and the media watching, hopefully it will generate more interest and support for hockey.”
Sky Sports 3 HD's live coverage of the Hockey World Cup starts this weekend with England's men taking on Spain from 4pm on Saturday before England women's first match against the United States from 11:30am on Sunday.