England slump to 20-goal final defeat by Australia – BBC Sport


  • By Jess Anderson
  • BBC Sport at First Direct Arena

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption,

England lost 61-45 to Australia in the World Cup final last year in Cape Town, South Africa

England slumped to a 69-49 defeat by 12-time world champions Australia in the final of the Nations Cup at Leeds’ First Direct Arena.

In a fast start, the Diamonds built a significant lead, which England were unable to chase down.

It was another agonising defeat at the hands of the world number ones for the Roses, who also lost to Australia in last summer’s World Cup final.

Australia have won every trophy they have contested since 2022.

The defeat marks the latest in a pattern where England perform well against Australia in group games, then struggle against them in a final.

They beat Australia in the preliminary stages at last year’s World Cup and fell short by just two goals in London last weekend, before going on to lose in the final on both occasions.

The Roses were nervy at the start as Australia established a seven-goal lead but closed the gap to four by the end of the first quarter.

Defensively, the Roses struggled and head coach Jess Thirlby quickly made changes, bringing on Ellie Rattu, who impressed in the win over New Zealand on Saturday, and shifting Funmi Fadoju to her favoured goal defence position.

But the Australian pressure continued as Courtney Bruce, arguably the world’s best defender, had the better of Sasha Glasgow, while Sophie Garbin and Sophie Dwyer punished mistakes with goals, missing just four shots between them all match.

Boos rang around the arena each time a decision went against the Roses and cheers erupted for every penalty they were awarded, but by the half-time break the mood was flat.

Having roared the Roses on to court before the match, the crowd greeted the half-time buzzer with total silence as Garbin scored to stretch the Diamonds’ lead to 10.

More changes came in the third quarter as Thirlby trialled numerous combinations. But none had the desired effect as England scored just three goals to Australia’s seven inside four third-quarter minutes.

Natalie Metcalf put her head in her hands as Jamie-Lee Price intercepted a wayward pass and the errors kept coming as a dominant Diamonds took a monumental 18-goal lead into the final period.

The final quarter brought much of the same as a frustrated Eleanor Cardwell tried to galvanise her side but the damage had already been done as Australia head coach Stacey Marinkovich made changes at will and England looked shot.

The Roses showed immense progress and determination to reach the Nations Cup final, beating world number two side New Zealand in the semi, but things spiralled rapidly once Australia began to build a lead and England fell short against netball’s dominant force once again.

Of the 85 times the two nations have met, the Diamonds have won 75, with one draw and nine England victories, two of those coming since pipping Australia to Commonwealth gold in 2018.

Earlier on Sunday, New Zealand beat Uganda 62-57 in the third-place play-off match.



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