Goalkeeper Maddie Hinch stood redundant for much of England’s World Cup opener against India on Saturday, and although the hosts enjoyed the lion’s share of possession, circle entries and shots, they found themselves 1-0 down for nearly half the match. As time ticks away, a popular tactic to create a natural overload when trailing is to substitute the goalkeeper for an outfield player with goalkeeper privileges, also known as a “kicking back”.

A great strategy when used well, but all too often it feels like a desperate last-ditch attempt, rather than a well-thought-out plan. Not being one to make a call based on hope rather than expectation, the England coach Danny Kerry has never favoured playing with 11 outfield players in the dying moments. So when Hinch was replaced with eight minutes remaining against India, it was a surprise. Not to Kerry, of course, as he has regularly employed the tactic in training and towards the end of practice matches for the past two years…

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