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19 July 2019 | Uncategorized

The final four: The netball world has its say

In what is already widely regarded as the most open World Cup ever, Australia, South Africa, England and New Zealand will all look to claim a place in the final tomorrow.

Holders Australia meet South Africa – whose best-ever finish in the tournament was second – in the first semi-final at 11:15am, while host nation England take on four-time winners New Zealand at 3pm.

With the eyes of the sporting world on Liverpool, who are those within the game tipping for a final appearance?

Northern Ireland coach Dan Ryan said:

“I think that, on their day, all four are capable of winning the World Cup. But based on what we’ve seen of the teams under pressure, Australia should advance through to the gold medal game – it’ll take a lot for South Africa to get over the top of the Diamonds.

“The England v Silver Ferns showdown is so hard to call. The reason I’d go with England is the home crowd advantage, and just the lift that it can give a couple of their big-game superstars.

“The advantage the Silver Ferns have is that they have players in key positions who can potentially quieten the superstars of England. It’s going to be an unbelievable contest – I wouldn’t be surprised whichever team wins, but perhaps with the home crowd advantage, it’s England’s game to take.”

Singapore’s Kiwi coach, Natalie Milicich said:

“I have to say my heart is with New Zealand – I would like to think that they could get that win, which will be tough against England. But I think they’ve got the goods to do it.

“In the other semi-final I think that Australia probably will be a bit too strong. South Africa have done very, very well but I think the way Australia are looking, they’re very strong.

“They’ve got real depth on their bench so they have options if they need something different, and I think they’ll be too strong for South Africa.”

Samoa’s Brooke Williams said:

“It’s so close! I am going to tip Australia v England for the final. I have to say Australia to win – Netball Australia has given us heaps of support, both the Pacific teams – Fiji and Samoa – so we’re very grateful for that; we wouldn’t have been able to have all the training camps we do if it wasn’t for them.”

Kendal Tacu, one of the tournament’s 500-strong team of ‘Pivoteers’ who have extended a unique welcome to players and spectators alike, said:

“The final four is what I expected, with four top teams in there. England look brilliant, and I think if they get a win over New Zealand, they can do it. I’m English and I’ve always been glass half full, so I totally believe that they can do it!”