Smith to face Aussies in last eight

Former City of Portsmouth player Richard Smith, right
Former City of Portsmouth player Richard Smith, right
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Richard Smith is aiming to fire England into the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy.

The former Purbrook Park pupil will line up against host nation Australia in the last-eight tie in Melbourne tomorrow (9am).

England booked their clash with the Olympic bronze medallists when they held New Zealand to a 1-1 draw in their final pool B game yesterday.

Having already recorded a memorable win over Germany – following an opening-game defeat to India – Smith & Co finished third in the group. Now the inexperienced England squad will be determined to get back to winning ways against the Aussies, who finished second in pool A.

Smith has enjoyed mixed fortunes in the tournament so far.

The defender, who began his hockey career at City of Portsmouth, scored from a short corner in the curtain-raiser against India.

Unfortunately, his strike was of little consolation as the team went down 3-1.

He then scored an own goal in the rampant 4-1 success over Germany in the second match.

And yesterday Smith produced a superb aerial pass to begin the move that led to Mark Gleghorne’s goal – before Smith was shown a yellow card in a tense finale.

While he was off the pitch, New Zealand notched a leveller but England held out for a draw in the face of intense pressure from the Kiwis.