23.08.2015, London; as we completed Day 3 of the Unibet EuroHockey Championships, the pools started hotting up. The current Champions Germany

WOMEN’S POOL A

Poland 1, Belgium 4

Belgium women put their opening game draw against Spain behind them as they put four goals past Spain in their second game of Pool A at the Unibet EuroHockey Championships 2015 in London.

Belgium’s Red Panthers took the lead when Barbara Nelen worked some trickery down the right side of the pitch before her pass found Louise Versavel, who lifted the ball over Poland goalkeeper Marta Kucharska after only 13 minutes.

Belgium started brightly in the second quarter, Alix Gerniers was on hand to benefit from a rebounded penalty corner shot to double her team’s lead after 17 minutes. They then extended their lead to 3-0 after 20 minutes thanks to an almost identical goal by Emilie Sinia.

The second half began with a solo goal from Judith Vandermeiren after 31 minutes. The player picked up the ball outside the circle and ran into it unopposed before striking a shot into the corner of the goal.

Poland scored a consolation goal with one minute to go through Pauline Okaj to finish the game on a positive note.

Following the game Poland goalkeeper Marta Kucharska said: “That was hard work! Everytime the Belgian’s shot, there were four or five players ready for the rebound. In the next game, we need the defence to get in front of their players and play together as a team in all areas of the pitch – we were a bit too individualistic out there today.”

For more information on this game, visit the match page by clicking here

Spain 1, Netherlands 8

Kelly Jonker and Caia Maasakker each picked up two goals each as Netherlands carried on their high goalscoring form as they defeated Spain 8-1, leaving them with 17 goals after two games, firmly at the top of Pool A.

The sole goal from Spain’s Berta Bonastre will be small positive in a game where Netherlands enjoyed more than 80 per cent of the possession.

It took Netherlands just 10 minutes to go ahead. Carlien Dirkse van der Heuvel was able to pick up the ball as it rebounded from Spain goalkeeper Maria Ruiz, and hit the ball into the net from the edge of the circle.

In the second quarter Netherlands Willemijn Bos had a penalty corner saved by Ruiz but the ‘keeper was unable to keep out Kelly Jonker as she scrambled a ball over the line in the 22nd minute.

Jonker was involved again when she created space for Ellen Hoog to fire in a shot, but it was teammate Marloes Keetels who added the last touch to make sure of the goal after 24 minutes.

On the stroke of half-time, Eva de Goede made it 4-0 when a ball fell fortuitously at her feet after a mis-played penalty corner. The striker saw her shot roll over the line, just out of reach of reach of Spanish goalkeeper Ruiz.

Not much changed in the second half as the Netherlands continued to dominate. Naomi van As made it 5-0 after 31 minutes, then Jonker scored again three minutes later for her second of the game. Caia van Maasakker then scored from a penalty corner after 38 minutes.

Netherlands Maasakker scored her second after 50 minutes to make it 8-0 after replacement goalkeeper, Maria Lopez made the initial save and Rocio Gutierrez had saved off the line. Maasakker was on hand to fire the rebound under the diving Lopez.

Spain’s consolation goal came with only three minutes left on the clock as Berta Bonastre tipped the ball past Joyce Sombroek in the Netherlands goal.

Following their latest win, Netherlands goalkeeper Joyce Sombroek said: “This was another good performance, but, the way we stay at the top is to keep critical and look for ways to do things better. For example, yesterday against Poland we could play expansive hockey as they defended deep, today we had to adjust to Spain defending higher up the pitch.”

Meanwhile Spain’s Rocio Ybarra said: “They are number one and they are head and shoulders above the rest. We will keep learning, improving and trying to close the gap between us and the teams ahead of us. For us, this is a long-term ambition.”

MEN’S POOL A

Spain 9, Russia 0

Spain bounced back from their opening day defeat to Netherlands to record a 9-0 win against Russia.

Spain’s Red Sticks won the second match of their Unibet EuroHockey Championships with Xavi Lleornart scoring after two minutes before Pau Quemada doubled their lead on the 15 minute mark.

Quemada scored his second and Spain’s third from a penalty corner five minutes into the second quarter and Alex Casasayas stepped onto a loose defensive ball to make it 4-0 seconds later.

Despite occasional attacks by the Russians, the Red Sticks began to tighten their hold of the game. Quemada scored his hat-trick after 29 minutes – again from a penalty corner.

With seconds left in the half Casasayas scored his second, a simple tap-in after some good build-up play. This made it 6-0 to Spain going into the break.

Quemada made it four from four after 45 minutes when he slotted home Spain’s seventh at the end of the third quarter, before scoring his fifth after 55 minutes as he hit the ball into an empty net – Spain’s eighth goal of the game.

Gabriel Dabanch then scored the ninth goal on the hour mark.

After the game, Spain captain Sergei Enrique said: “After the Hockey World League we changed our philosophy so now we take it one game at a time. And we are Spain, we pride ourselves on playing as a team and that is what you saw today.”

Meanwhile, Russia’s Sergey Kostarev said: “We had no control out there today. Basic skills were lacking and Spain took full advantage.”

 

Netherlands 2, England 0

Netherlands made it two wins from two as they defeated hosts England 2-0 on Sunday evening to retain top spot in Pool A.

With just two ranking places between them, the game turned out to be a close encounter.

The Netherlands made the breakthrough however, after 26 minutes of play. Mirco Pruijser was on hand to hit a rebounded penalty corner into the goal, despite the best efforts of England goalkeeper George Pinner.

The fourth quarter saw both teams continue at the high pace, quality and intensity that had been common throughout the game, but as England pushed for an equaliser the game was put beyond doubt when Constantijn Jonker turned in a cross from Rogier Hofman into the goal to give Netherlands a 2-0 lead after 55 minutes.

Netherlands goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann said his team were satisfied with the result but added the team still needed to discover greater consistency. He said: “We played well for periods but, like our performance against Spain, we did let the intensity slip for a time.”

The result leaves the Netherlands clear at the top of Pool A, with England ahead of Spain on goal difference.

For more information on this game, visit the match page by clicking here

MEN’S POOL B

France 3, Belgium 4

Belgium picked up their first win of the Championship as they defeated neighbours France in what was another close game between the two teams.

France took an early lead through one of a quartet of 21-year-olds appearing in the line-up. After six minutes, Victor Charlet gave France the lead when his powerful drag flick stunned the Belgium defence.

It took Belgium just four minutes to draw level as Alexander Hendrickx evened things up with an equally powerful penalty corner that left France ‘keeper Corentin Saunier stranded.

Seconds before the end of the quarter, Matthew Cobbaert gave Belgium the lead when he turned a cross from captain John-John Dohmen into the goal.

France came straight back into the game with a second penalty corner from Charlet after 17 minutes.

Sebastien Dockier turned the match to Belgium’s advantage when he picked up the ball and slammed it home from a seemingly impossibly wide angle on 34 minutes.

Once again, France showed their resilience and four minutes later Olivier Sanchez shot the ball past Belgium goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch and even the match again.

On the 50 minute mark, Belgium’s Tom Boon scored what turned out to be the winning goal from a penalty corner.

Belgium played out a nervous end to the game as Dockier was dismissed from the field thanks to a yellow card with around 10 minutes to go.

After the match, Belgium’s Sebastien Dockier said: “Yes, it was a stupid yellow card. Luckily we train for that situation, playing with 10 men, so we dealt with it. France are a team that play short, sharp passes, so we had to work hard. In the end I think our experience paid off.”

France’s Olivier Sanchez agreed, saying: “I am disappointed that in the last 10 minutes we didn’t pressure more as they only had 10 men, we had no entries into their circle in that time, but that comes down to experience and a bit of fatigue. We played well, but once again we are on the wrong side of a narrow scoreline.”

For more information on this game, visit the match page by clicking here

Ireland 0, Germany 2

Germany finished day 2 of the Unibet European Championships topping the Pool B standings, but were made to work hard to secure three points against Ireland.

It was not until the final few minutes of the last quarter that the reigning champions were able to break through a strong Irish defence.

Lukas Windfeder’s drag-flick penalty corner flew past Ireland goalkeeper David Harte to give Germany the lead in the 54th minute.

As Ireland pushed to get back into the game, the field became spread out and openings appeared in the Irish defence. This was exploited when Germany’s Florian Fuchs doubled Germany’s lead with a well taken goal from open play after 56 minutes.

Speaking after their loss, Ireland’s John Jackson said: “Taking the bigger picture that was an okay result for us. We had a very specific game plan and we stuck to it for most of the game, and that was to keep the goal difference down. We now have a great chance of making the semi-finals and that will be a first.”

Germany’s Mo Fuerste agreed it was a tough game for the reigning champions, but said: “On reflection, we probably deserved to win based on possession. Ireland defended well as we knew they would, but for us it was a game of patience and now we have achieved our aim of reaching the semi-finals.”

ESP v RUS

POL v BEL

ESP v NED

FRA v BEL

NED v ENG

IRL v GER

 

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