Hockey Women's World Cup: England must improve, says Helen Richardson-Walsh

Hockey Women's World Cup: England must improve, says Helen Richardson-Walsh
Hockey Women's World Cup: England must improve, says Helen Richardson-Walsh
Highlights: England draw with USA at World Cup
2018 Hockey Women's World Cup
Venue: Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London Dates: 21 July-5 August
Coverage: Live commentary of every England game online and on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, reports on England and Ireland matches on the BBC Sport website

England need to improve if they are to reach the latter stages of the World Cup, former international Helen Richardson-Walsh says.

Having drawn their opening two matches, England play Ireland in Sunday's final Pool C game knowing they cannot progress directly to the last eight.

Instead, they will face a play-off to reach the quarter-finals.

"In the first two games, we've not seen the best of this England team," Richardson-Walsh told BBC Radio 5 live.

"But the second game was an improvement on the first game and for them to go further, they really need to improve against Ireland," the 36-year old added on Sportsweek.

Richardson-Walsh, who won gold with Team GB at the 2016 Rio Olympics, attributed England's struggles so far in the tournament to a "lack of experience".

"With the first game the occasion might have got to a few of them," she said.

"For some of these players, playing in front of 10,000 people is very new.

"I know they did prepare as well as possible for it but until you get out there you don't know how they're going to play."

Richardson-Walsh says England can build momentum for the knockout stages with a positive showing against Ireland, who have already won Pool C.

"The performance is really key tonight. If England play well and get a good performance under their belt, they will go into the crossover with a lot more confidence."

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