Netball World Cup 2019: England thrash Samoa to top Group D

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Netball World Cup 2019: England thrash Samoa to top Group D
2019 Netball World Cup on the BBC
Venue: Liverpool Arena Dates: 12-21 July
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, Connected TVs, BBC Sport website and app from 15 July; Follow daily live text commentaries online. Full details.

England ended the first preliminary stage of the Netball World Cup as Group D winners with a 90-24 win over Samoa.

The Roses were in charge throughout, leading by 32 goals at half-time and finishing with the biggest margin of victory so far in the competition.

At 14th in the rankings, Samoa are 11 places below England.

Although they showed quality in the third quarter of the match, they could not find consistency, and finish bottom of the group without a point.

England have three wins from three games and progress from Group D along with Uganda and Scotland.

The second stage of the tournament features two groups and only the top two teams from each qualify for the semi-finals.

Teams only play countries they have not already come up against in the first group stage, and their previous results are carried through to the second phase.

This means England, Scotland and Uganda will fight for a place in the last four against Jamaica, South Africa and either Trinidad and Tobago or Fiji.

Samoa now go into the play-offs for 13th to 16th place.

The score in Sunday's match at Liverpool Arena showed England's dominance, especially in attack, as shooter Jo Harten scored all but one of her 41 attempts, her only miss coming three minutes before the final whistle.

With the result never looking in jeopardy, head coach Tracey Neville was able to mix up her on-court line-up and give experience to younger players including centre Natalie Panagarry and defender Fran Williams.

"It was a really positive performance," Neville told BBC Sport. "They needed to go out and enjoy themselves.

"There were some things we wanted and they went really well. We were strategic in our combinations and the younger players gained confidence as the game went on."

England will have to play their remaining World Cup matches with a squad of 11, after a tournament-ending injury to Layla Guscoth.

The part-time doctor snapped her Achilles in Saturday's victory over Scotland and she returned to the arena 24 hours later on crutches to watch the Roses win again.

"That one was for Layla, in a way," added Neville. "When we got it confirmed it was highly emotional, more for the athlete herself rather than the netballer.

"After the stellar season she's had, to have her World Cup campaign end early is gutting. It was emotional last night but we've woken up this morning with the strength we've always got."

BBC Sport has launched #ChangeTheGame this summer to showcase female athletes in a way they never have been before. Through more live women's sport available to watch across the BBC this summer, complemented by our journalism, we are aiming to turn up the volume on women's sport and alter perceptions. Find out more here.

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