In their words: the Green Army on their World Cup odyssey

Chloe Watkins
“It was a tight game, not much between the sides but we just stuck at it. We worked extremely hard and when it came to one v ones, we knew Ayeisha was going to make saves. She’s the best in the game at it. The girls put theirs away and it came to the last one but it was such a team effort.

On her shoot-out: “We have practiced them a good bit over the last few series and they have gone quite well. I was relatively calm because I didn’t necessarily feel the pressure was on me. Thankfully Ayeisha had taken that away. It was just exciting and I saw it as an opportunity to get to a semi-final.

“This whole week has gone amazing but it hasn’t been down to the last few weeks or months. It is years and years of hard work, of sacrifices from everybody, staff included. It’s so great to get the rewards on a world stage, to be involved in a World Cup and to show everyone what we can do. I am absolutely thrilled.

On how her move to Bloemendaal has helped her game: “I guess I have been involved for over eight years and it gets to a point when it gets very difficult to keep getting up early, going training, then work. The opportunity came to play abroad this year and I couldn’t say no. It was a chance to get a life balance and, with the World Cup, it was ideal to hone in and live as professional a lifestyle as I could. I really enjoyed it but it was something I had to do to be ‘a professional’

“Personally, I am happy with my form but everyone has really stepped up this week. It makes your own job easier; it gives you an extra second on the ball, an extra second to make a decision; if you make a mistake, you know there is someone to cover for you. It’s just so enjoyable

On having a cocktail named after her: “I haven’t had one in a while! Hopefully I get to try it soon enough, maybe with a medal around my neck. The support has been amazing. We are in a bubble here but we really appreciate everything that has happened.

“When you get an opportunity like this, you have to grab it with both hands. It’s what we have done all week. We have come out with smiles on our faces and enjoying the occasion but if anyone under-estimates us, they would be foolish. We are going for a medal now, we are in the mix and will do the best job we can.”

When shown the ingredient of the Chloe Cosmo – “that’s right up my street”

Megan Frazer:
On her improving form with each game: “From our results over the last few years and then with my injury and rehab, it is a dream come true. You can’t help but think good things come to those who work hard and keep going.

“It’s not the knee now; it’s my confidence [that’s coming back]. I have played very little hockey over the last two years. To come into the World CUp without any training really, that’s what I feel like I need now, a good solid training block!

“To come in without that, I am having to build it as I go along which is a weird position to be in, using every game as a training session to get that touch back. I was able to get on the ball more today and that helps.

“The tournament structure has helped, especially after the first game. I had a bit of swelling, a bit of a reaction and it was sore. That reaction is getting less and less. I have been really lucky.”

Reflections on the game: “Speechless [on the final whistle]. It was very tactically well done by India. They were able to play the opposite of what we did, getting numbers around the ball which didn’t allow us to move the ball. We ended running it more than we would have talked about before the game.

“The pitch is sticky so when you are running with the ball, making passes on the move, I noticed a few mistakes. They did well to counter what we were trying to do but the positive for us was they were trying to counter us rather than create something themselves.

On the shoot-out: “I couldn’t watch. I just watched the reaction in the crowd. They are always so difficult and fate will be what it will be. I was tempted [to put my hand up] but I haven’t even practiced one in two years so I didn’t know if it would be a regret, knowing the girls had practiced them.”

Looking forward to Spain: “We have a lot of history, played them a lot in different series so we will have a lot of background on them. We have got the best semi-final for us so really exciting for Saturday

Katie Mullan
“I don’t think it has really hit us. We have been in tournaments before, playing back to back games so I don’t think there will be any concerns there. At the end of the day, it’s a World Cup semi-final and beyond so I don’t think anyone will be getting tired on Saturday.

“I think all credit to the girls. whole new dynamic a whole new belief and we tried not to cling on to Valencia [in the 2015 Olympic qualifier]. Belief has taken us so far in this tournament and I genuinely believe when you’ve Ayeisha McFerran in those one v one situations, you give yourself the very best chance.

“The work rate was incredible, the girls never stopped fighting for every single ball and it was hard out there in the heat, really tough , we just kept going and kept going and I think that was what took us through the shoot out as well.

Spain next? “We tend to go over there and early year trip annually so we know them and they know us. I’m sure they’ll have a really good game plan for us and vice-versa. But the hunger’s there and we woke up in the morning and starting preparing as well as we can for a world Cup semi-final, however bizarre that statement might have seemed before the start of the tournament. It’s just amazing.

On back to back matches: “With the tournaments we’ve played in the past we are used to having games played closer together so I think the fitness from previous competitions will stand to us. at the end of the day, it’s a world Cup semi-final, the body won’t be feeling tired and I know they girls will be able to get themselves up for it easily

Ali Meeke:
On her shoot-out: “We practiced two on Wednesday and was just thinking do exactly what I did then, took two, scored two. ‘Just do that again’ and I just kept replaying that over and over again.

She’s not renowned for goalscoring (one in 110 internationals) “Yeah, that was only two weeks ago so maybe I have opened the floodgates, fingers crossed!

“Four years ago, I was in the stand watching the girls play. To say this is a dream come true is an understatement. I had a couple of knockbacks along the way but this is the highlight of everything. I am the biggest hockey nerd going so I am in my absolute element.”

Lena Tice: “We just tried to go out and impose our style on India. At times it wasn’t pretty and we could have taken a few more chances but we kept going.

“We wanted to put them under pressure from the get-go and go forward the entire game. At times it went okay and at time we were turned over but our defence is really tough. The defence is prepared to take the hits.

The atmosphere: “Absolutely unbelievable out there. It felt like it was all Ireland and when our legs began to ache, the crowd really got us going.

The shoot-out: “We dominated the first half and we had to grind out the win. We are lucky because we have two incredible ‘keepers. It gives you so much confidence to have someone like Ayeisha behind you.

“We try to go into every game without fear. We are the under dog every time but we want to push on, become a top 10 team and expect to win.”

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