England’s dramatic last-second Commonwealth Games gold medal win over Australia four years ago was so staggering to the netball world because it wasn’t meant to be. Things got back into shape in Birmingham on Saturday.
Despite England’s strong belief that they could successfully defend their title on home soil, they entered this tournament as third in the world and the best they can leave now is bronze.
Given what had happened in 2018, hopes were high that another thriller was on the way. In that context, what transpired in this semi-final was a total anticlimax.
At no point did England seem to win, with three goals further behind with each of the first three quarters to leave an insurmountable task. The final score of 60-51 reflected Australia’s dominance.
‘We’ve given ourselves a mountain to climb’
“It’s a defeat, so it’s meant to hurt,” said England head coach Jess Thirlby. “We have to recognize the pain of losing. Exercising is brutal.
“When you play really well and you lose, there’s an element that you can turn your head around, but today we gave ourselves such a mountain to climb.
“For the time being it is a disappointment, but we must not sulk. We are a good team, so far we have performed very well and we have grown in the tournament. It’s a snapshot at a very bad time and tomorrow there should be another better performance.”