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England aim to win Commonwealth Games gold on home soil ‘once in a lifetime’

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England captain Hollie Pearne-Webb has urged her team-mates to seize the golden opportunity to lift Commonwealth gold in front of their home crowd on Sunday.

The hosts meet Australia in the showpiece game at the Birmingham 2022 games after goalkeeper Maddie Hinch was again a hero on penalties in Friday’s semi-final win over New Zealand and a series of saves from Izzy Petter and Hannah Martin converted their penalties to see England through and guarantee them at least silver.

Hinch was the star of the Rio shootout six years ago when Britain secured Olympic gold by beating the Netherlands.

Pearne-Webb was also part of the Britain squad that triumphed in Brazil and was in the England side that beat Australia on penalties at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games eight years ago.

She urged the team to bounce back from a tense and close semi-final.

“Experience is important and some of us were there against Australia in that final in Glasgow. We all have those memories and we know we need to step up,” Pearne-Webb said.

“This is a unique opportunity in front of a home crowd. Hopefully the experienced players will help those who will play in their first final.”

Hinch added: “We’re going to be really ready for that. The biggest thing we have over them is the home crowd, that’s hugely important and I can’t wait to hear them again on Sunday.”

Petter, who scored the first penalty in a penalty shootout, said it was new territory for her to take one in such a big match.

“I’ve never taken one in such a big moment, but I knew my process and I just thought, ‘I’ve got to level up eventually, why practice them if you’re never going to take them in a big moment?’ She said.

“So I got up and did the process.”

The final will be played at the University of Birmingham and will start at 3pm.

https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/england-australia-commonwealth-new-zealand-england-hockey-b2139469.html England aim to win Commonwealth Games gold on home soil ‘once in a lifetime’

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