For the fourth time in the last week, Belgium and the Netherlands set up a European Championship final showdown with their women’s Under-21 teams set to meet in Sunday’s Junior decider after their wins over England and Germany. In the relegation pool, Spain gave their hopes of survival a big boost and will meet Ireland on Sunday to decide their – and France’s – fate.
 

Women’s Semi-final 1: Belgium 3 (D Gose, A Ballenghein, M Simons) England 1 (E Sanders)

Belgium’s young red panthers matched their senior counterparts as they reached the final of the women’s EuroHockey Junior Championships with a 3-1 win over England.

It was a win built on a superb opening ten minutes with two goals in the early stages. Daphne Gose got the first when she got a neat deflection in the circle from Ambre Ballenghein’s ball into the circle after Gose had made the initial interception deep in the English half.

Gose also played a role in setting up Ambre Ballenghein for the second goal with less than nine minutes on the clock, a brilliant diving finish at the near post under pressure.

England had plenty of pressure in the opening half with Holly Hunt going extremely close from a corner at the injector’s spot. And they got one back eight minutes into the second half when Hunt made a beautiful dodge out of defence before laying on a great through ball for Erica Sanders. She shot home on her backhand to reduce the gap to 2-1.

But the game was made safe when Manon Simons got an awesome touch to Gose’s corner hit in front of the goalkeeper to make it 3-1.

“I’m still amazed,” said Belgium’s Damy Sistermans following the match. “This is really awesome for the Belgian hockey women. We’ve never done wso well. Our women just achieved the same and played the final last week and we are going to do the same. We’ve worked so hard for this and I still can’t believe it.

“We’ve been defending the whole time, also in the other games. This is how we play and we really knew what was expected of us. We all did a great job and I am really proud of the team.”

And as for the final: “We are going to fight so hard and the final is going to be amazing.”

 

Semi-final 2: Netherlands 3 (M Veen 2, Y Janssen) Germany 1 (T-M Schubert)

The Netherlands came from a goal down to make it a double Dutch-Belgium set of finals at the EuroHockey Junior Championships as they fought back from a goal down at half-time.

They had trailed 1-0 in the 22nd minute when Nicola Pluta angled a beautiful ball from the left flank on her reverse into the centre where Tessa-Margot Schubert deflected home, a quality opener to match the level of play in the game.

Maike Schaunig and Nele Aring combined beautifully to almost score another but Karlijn Adank palmed away the high shot as Germany enjoyed a great spell leading up to half-time.

Elisa Grave fired another shot over the bar for the Germans but the Dutch were always in aggressive, fast-paced form and able to cause serious problems. And the tide started to turn when Marijn Veen was unmarked on the 23-metre line, turning onto her left, beating the keeper and firing into the goal.

Adank kept the Dutch on level terms with a world class save from Schaunig from Katharina Kiefer’s cross. It proved a key moment as Veen put the Dutch in front for the first time with nine minutes to go from a slickly worked long corner move, taking in a pass from Sanne Koolen and rolling in on her backhand.

Yibbi Jansen then made sure of the final spot when she directed a low drag-flick to the corner for 3-1 and there was no way back for the Germans.

Speaking afterwards, double goalscorer Veen said her side really stepped up their game in the second half to turn the game: “We said to each other at half-time that the team that works the hardest is going to win the game and that was us.”

It sets up yet another date with Belgium in a European final, something she cannot wait for.

“Belgium and us are very good so it is going to be a tough final. Belgium are really a team and they work very hard so it’s up to us to play as well as we can.”

 

 Sunday 3 September 2017                                                                                       

15.00

Women’s 3rd/4th

England

v

Germany

Pitch 1 *

20.00

Women’s Final

Belgium

v

Netherlands

Pitch 1 *

 

 

Pool C: Spain 3 (F Amundson, C Ycart, L Brughera) France 1 (V Vankemmel)

Spain took a big step toward women’s EuroHockey Junior Championship safety as they beat France in the first game of Pool C in Valencia.

After a series of Mathilde Petriaux saves in the opening quarter, the Spanish pressure eventually told when Florencia Amundson rebounded a penalty corner in the 20th minute.

France replied from a rare break-out, winning a corner which Victorine Vankemmel fired home at mid-height to make it 1-1 before half-time. The reply was instant, though, as Spain restored their one-goal advantage in the 26th minute when Clara Ycart’s drag-flick took a wicked deflection off number one runner Delfina Gaspari.

Laura Brughera then made the game safe three minutes into the second half when she snapped up a rebound off Petriaux’s pads, popping into the middle of the goal for 3-1.

Spain had chances to extend the lead while France closed out their tournament with a pair of corners in the final minutes. They went incomplete and so now the French must wait to see if they stay in the top tier when Ireland meet Spain on Sunday morning.

For the French to be in danger, it would require Ireland beating Spain; the Spanish need to avoid a three-goal defeat from that game to ensure their place is retained.

Sunday 3 September 2017                                    

13.00

Women’s Pool C

Spain

v

lreland

Pitch 2