World Cup target ‘virtually unrealistic’

England netball

Tracey Neville took charge of the England team in March 2015

England’s target of reaching the 2019 World Cup final is “virtually unrealistic”, according to head coach Tracey Neville.

England’s players will go full-time in June this year, aiming to better their semi-final exit at the 2015 tournament.

“That’s a really difficult target,” Neville told BBC Radio 5 live.

“To say you’re going to get there over four years when we’ve only got 20 athletes who are full-time is virtually unrealistic.”

England are currently ranked third in the world, behind Australia and New Zealand, who have contested the past five World Cup finals.

England have reached the final only once before, in 1975, and were defeated by New Zealand 50-39 in the last four in 2015.

“We are just trying to get to that number one status,” added Neville. “It will be a long time – it might be an eight-year or a 12-year plan.

“Hopefully we can start supporting athletes as we go through and this is the first time that netball has ever done it.”

England will face Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland in the Netball Europe competition in May.

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