The Vitality Roses fell just short of their first Vitality Netball World Cup final after a gut-wrenching 45-47 defeat to New Zealand on Saturday evening.
Tracey Neville’s side were agonisingly close to securing a final showdown with Australia, taking a three-goal lead into half-time, but their valiant performance was not enough to defeat perennial finalists New Zealand.
Instead, Sunday provides the Vitality Roses an opportunity to secure a medal for the third successive Vitality Netball World Cup. They will face South Africa to decide who finishes third and who, subsequently, secures a bronze medal.
Their opposition, meanwhile, suffered semi-final heartbreak when they lost 55-53 to Australia. Finishing in third would secure SPAR Proteas’ first medal since their second-place finish in 1995.
Ahead of this encounter, Vitality Roses captain Serena Guthrie has insisted that she and her teammates will be fully motivated to win a medal in front of a home crowd in Liverpool.
“There is still a bronze medal up for grabs and we would love to stand on a podium on home soil. That will still be a very proud moment for us in terms of this journey that we’ve been on.”
“After that experience, it lends itself to me to say ‘pick yourself up and keep pushing’ because we’ve got a game to go and we can end up on the podium. That’s what we want to do,” she said.
The pair met earlier at this tournament with the Vitality Roses running out 47-58 winners to finish top of Group G.
Nat Haythornthwaite made a positive impact from the bench in that clash and she was equally as impressive when she was brought on against the Silver Ferns.
The wing attack remained positive after the defeat and spoke of how her teammates can regroup.
“Serena [Guthrie] pulled us together but it’s all a blur. We just said that we’ve got to pick ourselves up and stay together as a team. It obviously really, really hurts right now but we’ve got each other and we need to rely on that ready for South Africa.
“There’s still another chance to get a medal so we’ll go back and reflect on this game. It will be tough but that’s what we want to.”
The Vitality Roses will be back in action, with their eyes firmly on the bronze medal, on Sunday at 2.30pm when they will face South Africa. You can catch all the action by tuning into BBC Sport, Sky Netball or following @EnglandNetball on Twitter.