England v New Zealand – Netball World Cup preview
Silver Ferns stand in way of first World Cup final for England
Wins for England and New Zealand on Day 8 of the 2015 Netball World Cup have set-up a tantalising semi-final at the Allphones Arena in Sydney tomorrow morning.
It will be third versus second in the world rankings as two sides, which have been incredibly closely matched in recent times, go head-to-head with the winner progressing in to Sunday’s final.
The two nations clashed four times in 2014 with the Silver Ferns coming out on top on three of those occasions but England did claim a famous away victory in October.
New Zealand have been crowned World Champions four times while the Roses’ best result was a second place finish in 1975 when the Championships’ were played in a league table format.
If England were to overcome the challenge that lie ahead, they would create history by becoming the first Roses side to reach a World Cup final.
Looking ahead to the semi-final, England’s Stacey Francis said: “It’s what we came for, but we were fully aware that we had to go through a process to get there.
“Everybody has had really valuable time on court which is really going to put us into fantastic stead leading into what will be two incredibly competitive matches.”
The defender acknowledges playing the best in the world brings its challenges, she added “You have to show respect to Australia and New Zealand when you’re coming up against both sides; they will each hold their own levels of difficulty it just means that we adjust the game plan slightly
“What’s most important is that we are aware of what we are doing, that we are playing the ‘England way’ and that we are consistent with that when we step out on court tomorrow.”
As the tournament enters its final stages, Francis says the team have focused on a match at a time: “We were going game by game and were aware that if we didn’t put in performances and didn’t get the results we needed, we wouldn’t even be in a semi-final.
“It’s a huge game tomorrow, massive, but we are ready for it and excited at the prospect of making history.”
England versus New Zealand will be shown live exclusively on Sky Sports 4 from 3am. Non-subscribers can also see matches without a contract through online streaming service NOW TV.
By purchasing a Sky Sports Day Pass for £6.99 or Sky Sports Week Pass for £10.99, you can enjoy access to all seven Sky Sports channels and watch on a TV with a NOW TV Box or on a range of devices.
photos Janos Schmidt