England cruise to victory over Canada

England's Ashley Jackson challenges for the ball with Canada's Gordon Johnston during their pool game at the XX Commonwealth Games, Glasgow, 31st July 2014.  - photo by Ady Kerry

England secured a place in the Commonwealth Games Semi Finals this morning with a comfortable 3-1 win over Canada on Thursday.

ENGLAND 3 (1)
Ashley Jackson 25, 54 (FG, PC)
Barry Middleton 36 (FG)

CANADA 1 (0)
Scott Tupper 68 (PC)

To watch highlights from the game on the BBC Sport website, click here.

Barring a seven-goal defeat, England were always going to qualify for the final four but they made light work of seeing off the Canadians in their final group game. Ashley Jackson opened the scoring before the break, cleverly diverting in Barry Middleton’s driven cross and skipper Middleton then added a second immediately after half-time in the 36th minute.

Jackson added his second and England’s third halfway through the second period to take his tally for the tournament to seven and move him three goals clear at the top of the goal scorer table [see attached PDF for more information – please note this is current information]. England goalkeeper George Pinner saw his clean-sheet ruined at the death however as Scott Tupper bagged a consolation for the Canadians from a penalty corner.

Victory for England sets up a probable semi-final clash with Australia, the no.1 ranked side in the world and defending Commonwealth champions. England will be looking to improve on their last encounter with the Kookaburras who put five past them without reply in the group stages at the World Cup back in June

Brace-scoring midfielder Ashley Jackson said after the game: “Canada are a physical side and the tighter they kept it for longer the better it suited them. A couple of early goals would have made it much easier for us but we were in control the whole time.

“The next step for this group of players is to make a final, we are ranked fourth in the world and have been very much playing to that ranking, unable to make that next step to get the right result in semi-finals. It doesn't matter who we face, we're confident going into the Australia game, we have lost a few times but we've also already beaten them.”

England Captain Barry Middleton added: “It felt like it was comfortable the whole way through and we just kept on playing our game. We wanted to put out a performance that took our momentum into the semi-finals.

"It should be fun (playing against Australia), that’s who you want to play in big tournaments. We've set our stall out over the last few years that we want to be in the big games and be in semi-finals.

"We are consistently making semi-finals with this group of players but we will go out there, give as good as we get and we have belief in the team that we can beat anyone on our day."