Report & reaction: Awesome Ansell helps England qualify for World Cup knockouts

England v Ireland HWC2018

Ireland 2 (0)
Cargo (FG, 35); O’Donoghue (PC, 37)

England 4 (1)
Condon (FG, 15); Ansell (FG, 37); Gall (FG, 38); Gleghorne (PC, 60)

Liam Ansell’s stunning strike was the pick of a six goal thriller as England progressed to the 2018 Hockey Men’s World Cup knockout stages with victory over Ireland.

The forward smashed the ball beyond David Harte in the midst of a goalscoring frenzy early in the second half, with four goals scored in three minutes.

David Condon, James Gall and Mark Gleghorne also found the net for England while Ireland’s goals came courtesy of Chris Cargo and Shane O’Donoghue, but it wasn’t enough for them to qualify.

The result means England finish second in Pool B behind Australia and they will now face New Zealand in the next round, with Ansell believing today’s hard-fought win will set them up perfectly for that game

“It’s always a tight game against Ireland and today they caused us quite a lot of problems,” he said.

“But we said in our previous games we need to take our chances, we did today and it was great to get the win on the board.

“I don’t think any team here is an easy game, they’re all tough. You’ve got to prepare for all of them and be ready on the day. We’ll go away and prepare, see where we can improve, work out New Zealand’s threats and be ready for that game.”

England started firmly on the front foot, Ansell and Gleghorne narrowly missing the target before Condon converted their dominance with a fine goal in the 15th minute after Will Calnan's intelligent run.

Ian Sloan almost doubled the advantage in the 24th minute but mis-hit his shot – following a fantastic run – into the turf and it looped over the crossbar.

Cargo then started the scoring chaos at the start of the second half, bringing Ireland level before Ansell’s moments of magic soon restored England’s lead.

Seconds later Ireland found themselves on equal terms once again as O’Donoghue’s deflected corner beat George Pinner before Gall beautifully deflected Liam Sanford’s raking pass beyond Harte.

The Irish ‘keeper was called into action twice in quick succession midway through the final quarter to thwart Harry Martin and Phil Roper before Cargo put a corner rebound over the bar at the other end.

A kicking back was employed by the Irish for the final four minutes but they couldn’t break through, with Gleghorne having the final say by rifling the ball into the goal for England’s fourth.

You can watch England take on New Zealand in their crossover game live on BT Sport at 11:15 on Monday 10 December.

Starting XI: Pinner (GK, C), Ames, Martin, Gleghorne, Dixon, Middleton, Ansell, Condon, Waller, Gall, Sanford

Subs: Gibson (GK), Taylor, Sloan, Hoare, Roper, Calnan, Wallace