- Written by Jess Anderson
- BBC Sport at First Direct Arena
Netball Nations Cup 2024 Final: England vs Australia
place: First Live Arena, Leeds Dates: January 28
coverage: Commentary on the England-Australia match in the Nations Cup final on BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra and BBC Sounds, in addition to the BBC Sport website and app.
England beat New Zealand by one goal in an exciting match to qualify for the final of the African Cup of Nations, where it will meet world number one Australia on Sunday.
In front of a raucous crowd at the First Direct Arena in Leeds, the Roses cruised to a thrilling 58-57 win.
The match witnessed ebbs and flows, but England took a three-point lead before the final quarter and had enough to hold on to achieve victory.
“There are a few fluctuations but that's to be expected,” said head coach Jess Thirlby.
“I still don't think we've figured out how to play against the New Zealand style but we've found our own way and I think that path is brave. We need to be more efficient in our decision making. Sometimes we've outsmarted them, but have you seen progress?” ? Yes, I saw that.”
England are ranked third in the world while New Zealand is second, and Thirlby said she was happy to see her team starting to get used to beating the two dominant forces in netball.
“We try to pit ourselves against Australia and New Zealand as much as we can,” she said.
“We're not at a place yet where we can expect to win these games by a wide margin, and as much as it may not seem like it, I'm thoroughly enjoying testing us the way we need to,” he added. He is.”
The match was the latest in a series of exciting matches between the Roses and Silver Ferns, and after losing to 12-time world champions Australia last weekend in London, both teams knew they had to win it to book a place in the final. .
In last year's World Cup semi-final, England came out on top, preventing New Zealand from qualifying for the final for the first time in the tournament's history, before the Silver Ferns won three closely contested matches 2-1. Home lawn in September.
Thirlby picked a young side in that series, but the return of England's experienced players as well as New Zealand top scorer Grace Nweke, who was injured for much of last year, made the game a difficult one.
England came out strong and it took three and a half minutes for the Silver Ferns to score, by which time the Roses had a five-goal lead thanks to great defensive work from England's Championship player Razia Kouachi. For the first time since 2020.
But carelessness from both sides gave the game a chaotic feel – much to the delight of the delighted Leeds fans – and the Silver Ferns were soon back within striking distance, taking a one-goal lead at half-time.
England had moments of brilliance, as Fran Williams executed a perfect long-range pass to find Eleanor Cardwell under the post, while Helen Housby continued to push from the front in what was a remarkable tournament for the 29-year-old.
Ellie Ratto, making only her ninth appearance for England, showed her potential as she replaced the injured Imogen Allison, heaping pressure on New Zealand's powerful attack, led by Nowicki, who scored 47 of her 50 tries.
Both teams' bench was on its feet for the final 15 minutes, shouting encouragement and instructions as New Zealand cut the deficit to one goal as the minutes ticked off the clock.
The Silver Ferns had the chance to equalize with seconds to go, but defender Funmi Fadogo produced a massive interception to prevent Tayla Earle's pass from reaching sharp shooter Nweke, and England ran down the clock to seal the win.
The Roses suffered a two-goal defeat to Australia last weekend, and now face a tough turnaround ahead of Sunday's rematch at 16:15 GMT.
Earlier on Saturday, the Diamond Group – whose place in the final was already confirmed after two wins in London last week – faced Uganda for the first time in their history, beating them 63-49, and the African team will face New Zealand in the third match. – A playoff match will be held on Sunday.
“Internet nerd. Avid student. Zombie guru. Tv enthusiast. Coffee advocate. Social media expert. Music geek. Professional food maven. Thinker. Troublemaker.”