Men’s EuroHockey Junior Championships final

Netherlands 2 (N Schoenaker, B Burkhardt) Belgium 2 (A Lemaire, G Stockbroekx), Netherlands win 5-3 on shoot-out

The Netherlands scored a perfect five from five to land the men’s EuroHockey Junior Championships gold medal as they eventually overcame Belgium following a titanic tussle in Valencia.

In the end, it was top scorer Boris Burkhardt who slotted the winning shoot-out, dodging right and slipping past Benjamin Pierre to score his side’s fifth effort.

It capped a superb final of end-to-end hockey with both sides having their spells in the ascendancy with the Belgians fighting back in the closing minutes to equalise.

The Dutch had taken the lead inside the first ten minutes when Jochem Bakker picked out Noud Schoenaker from back to front and the forward worked some space and cracked the ball home.

Alexis Lemaire equalised almost immediately with his third penalty stroke of the week, netting after a melee in the circle offered the opportunity.

Burkhardt put the Netherlands back in front when he whipped home a drag-flick past Charles Masset for his 11th goal of the tournament. And they remained in the box seat for much of the second half with Joren Romijn making a pair of glorious saves in quick succession from Henri Raes and Tommy Willems.

Belgium kept fighting and they got their reward when Nicolas Poncelet’s ball into the middle broke to Loic Sidler who returned a pass across the face of goal to the waiting Gregory Stockbroekx who juggled the ball into the net.

It sent the game to shoot-out where the first round ended with both sides on the board. Jochem Bakker put the Dutch 2-1 up before Romijn kept out Raes. It was the gamebreaker as the next four shoot-outs were all scored, giving Burkhardt the chance to net the crucial goal.

Reflecting on the victory, goalkeeper Joren Romijn said it was a superb team effort to bounce back after two tough draws to open the campaign.

“After the hard games in the pool against Spain and England, two points from two games, you know its going to be hard. It was always possible to get the nine goals against Portugal [to get through] and once we did that, we knew there were just four teams left.

“We played an incredible game against Germany; today it wasn’t always good but we just won and it’s incredible.”

Asked about his role in the shoot-out, while he kept out one effort, he hailed the efforts of the side’s shoot-out takers for scoring a perfect set.

“I don’t think it was even my part because we scored five out of five. We trained shoot-outs a lot; I hoped to stop three or four of them but one was enough.

“We didn’t decide before the tournament about who would be in goal for the shoot-outs. We discussed it before the semi-final and we said that I was ending the game and so if it was going to shoot-outs, then I would be the guy.

“You always want to be important for the team. We defended the whole tournament really well. Of course, it’s nice to be an important part of the team but it doesn’t matter how you win. We are European champions.”

Burkhardt’s plans for the next few hours were simple: “Party! Of course!”

Umpires: F Garcia (URU), D Rodriguez (ESP)

Player of the tournament: Rhys Smith (ENG)
Top scorer: Will Calnan (ENG), Boris Burkhardt (NED) – 11 goals
Best Goalkeeper: Charles Masset (BEL)

 

Bronze medal match:

The men’s bronze medal match between Germany and Spain was not played as, under advice from the Tournament Medical Doctor, the Spanish teams were not allowed to play either of their final games of the EuroHockey Junior Championships.

After consultation with the TDs and the EHF Representative it was agreed that these circumstances are not provided for in the Regulations and therefore EHF Regulations for EuroHockey Championships (Outdoor) Item D6 applies.

The men’s bronze medal game was not played and Germany were awarded the bronze medal.

 

Pool C

England 1 (T Sorsby) Austria 0; Ireland 11 (L Madeley 5, S Wolfe 2, J Mullins, C Empey, G Cole, J Dale) Portugal 2 (J Basilio, V Ribeiro)

England closed out their tournament unbeaten with a 1-0 win over Austria in Pool C while Ireland got the better of Portugal 11-2.

Before the day’s action, the Irish needed to cause a 19-goal swing between the two games played on the final morning in Valencia to move ahead of Austria. They probably needed a favour from England against Austria to get the ball rolling but it did not play out that way.

The Austrians proved resolute in defence and dangerous on the counter-attack. Tom Sorsby put England 1-0 up with two minutes to go to half-time with a classy deflection to a left-wing cross.

Austria went close to getting back on terms when Hannes Podpera hit the frame of the goal while a couple of corner chances for Oliver Binder slipped through their grasp.

An equaliser would have made Austria safe but it did not come and so they had to look to the Ireland versus Portugal tie, hoping that Ireland did not go goal-crazy, making up an 18-goal deficit against Portugal.

Simon Wolfe scored twice in the opening four minutes to give them some hopes of a dream result. But the goals slowed up after that with the third arriving in the 20th minute from John Mullins and another came a minute later from Luke Madeley – the first of his five.

Portugal, though, grabbed a goal back via Joao Basilio from Thiago da Sousa’s pass to make Ireland’s task harder. At 5-1, Ireland still needed 14 more goals. Four more corners goals from Madeley and other efforts from Julian Dale and Geoff Cole progressed the score but they never looked like threatening Austria’s tally and they ended nine goals short.