Ipswich’s George Pinner targeting triple World Cup success with England in Amsterdam

George Pinner

George Pinner - Credit: Ady Kerry

Ipswich goalkeeper George Pinner believes England’s crunch clashes with leaders Australia and second-placed Belgium are likely to determine their progress at the Rabobank World Cup in Amsterdam.

England are currently third in Group A, following a 1-1 draw with Spain and Monday’s 2-1 victory over India, and face whipping boys Malaysia, tomorrow.

Bobby Crutchley’s squad, which also includes fellow former Ipswich School pupil Harry Martin, need to finish in the top two to secure a semi-final place, and victory against the South East Asian nation would set them up nicely for their toughest tests to date.

“It’s a cliche but there are no easy games at this level,” said Pinner.

“Belgium only just got past India (on penalty shots), while they were also losing 2-1 to Malaysia in the first half, before eventually going on to win the game (6-2).

“It will maybe come down to the Australia and Belgium games for us to determine whether or not we get through and we can maybe afford to lose to Australia if we beat Belgium.

“But the game against Malaysia is a massive game too, every game is a cup final and must-win, and they possess a good penalty corner and are dangerous on the counter-attack.

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“While we will look to get three points against them, there is no gimme in the World Cup.”

Monday’s victory against India required a last-gasp strike from Simon Mantell to see them home, following their opening game draw.

“In a way, we are not playing our best hockey but hopefully it’s coming together at the right time,” Pinner added.

“You see it in football, at tournaments such as the World Cup, where teams blitz their groups but then fail to build from there.

“We want to get through into the semi-finals and see where we go from there, but hopefully we are building momentum at the right time.”

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