Germany and the Netherlands recorded 1-0 wins to make it two wins from two each, results that put them into the semi-finals of the women’s Rabo EuroHockey Championships in Amsterdam. Belgium and Spain will now battle for second place in Pool A on Tuesday while England are in pole position for the second semi spot in Pool B


Pool A: Netherlands – Belgium 1-0 (1-0)

The Netherlands got their second win of the campaign to assure they advance to the semi-finals, leaving Belgium and Spain to battle it out for the other spot. Margot van Geffen’s corner goal nine seconds before half-time did the damage in a 1-0 win.

For a huge majority of the game, it was a case of the Dutch knocking on the Belgian defence’s door but they found it incredibly hard to break through.

Player of the match Laurien Leurink admitted as much: “It was a tough match and they played very well. We need to be more efficient in the circle and continue to have the control that we had here.”

Xan de Waard and Maria Verschoor both had early shots go incomplete while Lidewij Welten and Kitty van Male had reverse-stick shots go close before the end of the first quarter.

It continued in the same vein through the second quarter with de Waard – after brilliant work from van Geffen – fired a tester at Aisling d’Hooghe which the goalkeeper saved well.

The breakthrough eventually came from a corner just nine seconds before half-time when van Geffen ran a lovely line to get in position to deflect Caia van Maasakker’s push from the top.

The pressure was incessant in the second half once again with van Male hitting the crossbar after she and Frederique Matla stole possession, setting up a great chance.

Ireen van den Assem had a corner closed out as Belgium continued to frustrate the Dutch attackers with the likes of Aline Fobe, Louise Cavenaile and Judith Vandermeiren putting in the big tackles and key clearances.

Van Maasakker and van Geffen were the next to have a go but d’Hooghe was equal to what they had to throw at her. Laura Nunnink flashed another big chance over the bar.

The result has the Dutch top ahead of their game against the Czech Republic while Belgium are in second, ahead of Spain on goal difference.

Netherlands – Belgium

30’ Margot van Geffen 1-0 (pc)


Umpires:
S Wilson (SCO), E Shelbourn (ENG)

Women’s Pool A: Spain 7 Czech Republic 1 (3-0)
Three first quarter goals for Spain put them in pole position to bounce back from their opening win over the Netherlands and into contention for the semi-final spots.

They also grabbed a trio of late goals that Rocio Ybarra says could be very important when it comes to their showdown with Belgium on Tuesday.

It’s always the same fight and we are on the same level [as Belgium] so it comes down to the small details, especially when we meet each other,” she said.

“We had a tough moment in the second half where we weren’t as focused as the first quarter. The score ended ok, the same as Belgium did which we are pretty happy about.”

Ybarra also praised the new, young players who are making their mark for the side.

“If you saw our Under-21s at the World Cup, they did a pretty good job, forcing us seniors to be better as a team and are coming into our team now. I think our performance is better with them and we need to combine that energy to be a better team.”

Carola Salvatella scored a glorious first six minutes in, guiding home at the right post after Maria Tost juggled the ball around a couple of defenders before unleashing a reverse-stick cross to the back post.

Begona Garcia netted the second from mid-circle, latching onto the pass from Xantal Gine’s speedy move down the right wing. Maria Lopez then added the third goal on the 13th minute when she recovered a blocked corner chance and slammed in with a backhand shot.

But any semblance of the Czechs being swept aside were put on hold as they battled through a scoreless second quarter, keeping the tie at 3-0 into the half-time break.

After a series of near misses, Spain extended the lead to 4-0 in the 41st minute when Garcia guided in her second goal from a Lopez pass at corner-time.

The Czechs, though, drew the loudest cheer from the growing crowd when Klara Hanzlova latched onto a loose Spanish pass out of defence. She exchanged passes with Nikol Babicka before popping in at the second attempt.

Barbora Haklova then almost nicked a second when she won a race with Lopez from halfway but her shot went inches wide.

Spain, though, showed some lovely touches of quality and went 5-1 up when Cristina Guinea created and finished a beautiful goal, feeding Beatriz Perez who returned the favour where Guinea swiped in.

Carlota Petchame then added a corner goal with four minutes remaining and Berta Bonastre rifled a beauty into the top corner 15 seconds later.

Spain – Czech Republic
6’ Carola Salvatella 1-0
10’ Begona Garcia 2-0
13’ Maria Lopez 3-0 (pc)
41’ Begona Garcia 4-0 (pc)
44’ Klara Hanzlova 4-1
53’ Cristina Guinea 5-1
56’ Carlota Petchame 6-1
57’ Berta Bonastre 7-1

Umpires: V Bagdanskiene (LTU), C Druijts (NED)

Pool B: Germany 1 England 0 (1-0)
Germany became the first side to advance to the semi-finals of the Rabo EuroHockey Championships as Cecile Pieper’s fifth minute goal was the difference.

“It was a great performance, hard defending as always against England’” Nike Lorenz said of the result. “It was nice to score early and great to get the win.”

Her side began in superb fashion, hitting the front when Teresa Martin Pelegrina hit the baseline, checked her run and picked out Cecile Pieper who poked home from close range.

From there, England had a large number of chances to get back on terms through the first and second quarter with Alex Danson going close on a number of occasions while Susannah Townsend was also dangerous on the counter.

Indeed, it was a wide open affair with Charlotte Stapenhorst blazing a good chance over the bar with the tie somehow staying at 1-0.

Maddie Hinch showed why she is the world’s best goalkeeper in the second half with an amazing left-hand glove save from Stapenorst’s touch to Frnazisca Hauke’s cross. Hinch made another couple of great interventions while when Germany had a hint of beating her, Giselle Ansley got back to keep her at bay.

In the closing five minutes, Hinch made yet more saves as England threw everything forward but left themselves open to counter attacks to keep them just about in touch.

In the end, an insurance goal was not required as Germany held on for the 1-0 win to advance to the semi-finals.

“We know Hollie Webb is always good with the long ball so we tried to defend that, keep our set-up even though they had a lot of movement and just keep the ball away from our goal,” Lorenz added about their tactical plans.

“Now, we have six points, we definitely want to get the last win [against Ireland]. It will be hard work and hopefully we get up to nine points.”


Germany – England

5’ Cecile Pieper 1-0

Umpires: A Keogh (IRL), I Presenqui (ARG)

Pool B: Ireland 0 Scotland 0
Ireland and Scotland played out a gritty Celtic battle with little to separate the sides, leaving both with one point from their two games to date in Pool B.

It was a game of few openings with the Green Army shading matters in terms of territorial and circle penetration stakes but not on the scoreboard.

Deirdre Duke was inches from breaking the deadlock four minutes in when an opportunist Roisin Upton touch redirected a Scottish pass into her path. Dodging right, she slipped a clever shot at goal that caught the heel of Amy Gibson, deflecting the shot just a couple of inches wide.

After that, chances were scarce in the first half with both sides battling hard but too few major outcomes.

The second half had more verve and bite to it with Scotland initially enjoying a decent phase, Millie Brown’s attacking runs causing plenty of problems.

But soon Ireland were back on the front foot and they looked the more likely to grab a winning goal. The pick of the chances fell to Katie Mullan from a fifth corner.

Roisin Upton’s first-up shot was blocked by Gibson; Hannah Matthews lifted the ball over the goalkeeper to the right post but it came sharply at the skipper and away from her stick.

Umpires:
K Alves (FRA), A Unka (NZL)