Herbert’s World Cup joy

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Although the World Cup qualifying tournament in Rome is still being contested, five victories have put England top of their group to gain automatic qualification for the tournament in Madrid this September.

Seeded No 9, England have won all five of their matches, with Herbert playing a part in all of them.

They have beaten top seeds China (ranked No 5 in the world) 2-1 and Japan (ranked eighth) 3-0 to top Group A with 15 points.

They now play the USA, runners-up in Group B, tomorrow, as the top four play-off.

The other play-off match tomorrow features Korea and Japan.

The final play-off sequence ends on Saturday.

The games will be televised on Eurosport.

The qualification stages have thrown up some surprises, with the top-ranked Chinese and New Zealand teams playing-off for fifth to eighth places with Ireland and France.

The team finishing fifth gets the final ticket to Madrid.

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