Unibet EuroHockey Championships – Final
ENG v NED 2-2 (3-1 after shoot-out)
England produced an incredible late comeback, surviving a huge and sustained Dutch barrage to land their second EuroHockey Championships with Maddie Hinch producing one of the performances for the ages.
They eventually prevailed in a shoot-out 3-1 coming back from 2-0 down with eight minutes to go in regular time to win in the most dramatic of fashion.
Asked to put the feeling into words, Hinch said: “That’s impossible! Literally, the best, best feeling in the world and God do we deserve it. We’ve had some lows but this has been one hell of a summer and this has been coming.
I’m just in a state of shock. I don’t know what to say. It just shows the level of belief in our team at the moment to come from two goals down, to say ‘we’re not giving up on this’ and that’s exactly what we did.”
Caia van Maasakker’s third quarter penalty corner double looked to have won the tie for the Dutch as they eventually broke through a blood and guts English defence. She found her range from the eighth and ninth Dutch penalty corners, finally finding a route past the superb defences of Hinch who kept out 22 shots on target overall.
But England produced a rousing comeback in front of the capacity crowd at Lee Valley with Sophie Bray and Lily Owsley’s corner rebounds in the closing eight minutes, earning their shoot-out chance.
Bronze medal match
GER v ESP 5-1 (4-0)
A hat trick for Germany’s newest superstar Charlotte Stapenhorst was the icing on the cake for Germany in the Unibet EuroHockey Championships bronze medal match. Germany’s hold on the EuroHockey title might have disappeared in the semi-finals, but the team was determined to leave the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre with a medal round their necks and their dismantling of the Spanish team was a study in structure and discipline.
The game was won in the first half as the German team moved the ball at a tremendous pace to create gaps in the hard-working Spanish defence. The first 15 minutes of the game saw a pattern of play emerging that would set the tone for the match. A German defensive platform, mostly involving Janne Muller-Weiland and Nina Hasselmann swung the ball around the back, sapping the energy of the Spain forwards and gradually, inexorably, the ball was moved up the pitch, with the midfield, led by Franzisca Hauke, seeking to release the forwards. In response, Spain sat back and soaked up the pressure, making occasional forays into the German half of the pitch.
Stapenhorst was joined on the scoresheet by Lisa Altenberg and Eileen Hoffmann. Carlota Petchame scored a consolation goal for Spain.
“We played a really good first half.with a really consistent way of attacking and pressing, as well as outletting. That was reflected on the score-sheet, which is not always the case with us,” said head coach Jamilon Mulders. “The team’s reaction after the loss to the Netherlands was good and this is a really good finish to the tournament.”
In the earlier games, Belgium beat Italy to finish fifth, while Scotland finished sixth after beating Poland. The results mean Italy and Poland will be playing in the second tier of European hockey in two years time.
Gold – England
Silver – Netherlands
Bronze – Germany
4th – Spain
5th – Belgium
6th – Scotland
7th – Italy
8th – Poland
Player of the Tournament Alex Danson – ENG
Goalkeeper of the Tournament Yvonne Frank – GER
Top goal scorer Caia van Maasakker – NED