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Archives for November 2009

England play hockey with world's big boys

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Martin Gough | 16:25 UK time, Tuesday, 24 November 2009

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If you want to keep a low profile, you could hardly do better than hanging out in the Reading suburbs on a soaking wet Thursday evening in November.

Only the hardiest hockey players (and the most idiotic reporters and cameramen) would brave a training session in the cold and the driving rain at the local hockey club.

The country's top players had been hoping to stay under the radar, gradually building a team capable of being among the top teams at the 2010 World Cup and gaining a medal at the 2012 Olympics.

Victory for England in the European Championships in August changed all that, though, as they knocked off Olympic champions Germany to win the first major title for a British team since the 1988 Olympics.

They have gone from being nearly men (fifth place for England at the 2006 World Cup and fifth for Great Britain at the 2008 Olympics) to having a far higher profile as one of the teams to beat.

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