13th January 2018: An historic day as the Indoor Red Lions roared here in Antwerp. A 7-3 victory over a well established Polish side put them into their first ever EuroHockey Indoor Championship final where they will face Austria, who held their nerve in a breathtaking sudden death shoot out v current Champions, Germany! 

The afternoon session started with the relegation Pool C as all 4 teams want to make sure they are at this top division in 2020.

POOL C: Denmark 3-6 (3-2) Switzerland

A fantastic game from both teams with plenty of goal mouth action, easy to know this was a “do or die” game and critical for staying in this division. Denmark took a 3-2 half-time lead but the Swiss turned the tide in the second half to boost their chances of avoiding relegation with four unanswered second half goals with Yves MORARD doing the damage with a hat-trick.

Czech Republic 4 – 3 (1 – 3) Russia 

The Czech Republic produced a superb comeback from 3-1 down at half-time against Russia to win 4-3 with David VACEK’s goal nine minutes from the end the decisive score. Alexander ZHIRKOV’s 15th minute goal had helped build a strong Russian lead but Jakub KYNDL led the Czech fightback in the second half to level the game before VACEK provided the winner.

SEMI-FINALS: Belgium 7 – 3 (3 – 0) Poland

Belgium got off to an electric start in the first semi-final of the Championships with goals coming from Gaetan DYKMANS in the 2nd and Max PLENNEVAUX in the 4th minute. A 3rd goal, a cheeky flick over the keeper from Tanguy ZIMMER and it was the perfect first half from Belgium 3-0. A penalty stroke in the first minute of the second half pushed the score to 4-0.

Belgium weren’t done and went on to score a 5th with no reply in the 27th minute via a rebound off the post! As Poland scrambled for ideas on how to stop the Belgian Lions they opted for a power play early in the second half but conceded again as PLENNEVAUX earned his second of the game and a 6th for Belgium. Poland never gave up and worked incredibly hard to claw back a couple of goals against the clock but were always too far off. The final score was 7-3.

It earned the Belgians their first appearance in a final and means they will at least match their second place finish from 1976 when they ended up second in Arnhem in a six-team tournament.

Germany 2 – 2 (2 – 2) (3 – 4 SO) Austria

Austria had the better start to this semi-final going 2-0 ahead without reply. A Michael KORPER ‘special’ drag flick in the 3rd minute followed by a quick fire spin from Patrick SCHMIDT. Germany did reply, a superb pass to Hannes MÜLLER and they equalised just before the half via Jesper KAMALDE. 2-2.

A cat and mouse game in the second half and some incredibly brave defending, the score however remained 2-2. It set the scene for an incredible shoot-out which spanned eight rounds with the first series of three ending 2-2. The deadlock was finally broken in the eighth round when Fabian UNTERKIRCHER took his chance to slot the winning shoot-out. It puts them in with a chance of winning the title for the first time since 2010 in Almere.

Sunday schedule:

14 Jan 10:00 17 Russia Denmark Pool C
11:10 18 Czech Republic –  Switzerland Pool C
13:00 19 Poland –    Germany 3rd/4th Place
14:30 20 Belgium Austria Final