30th July 2016: After 20 games we have a new EuroHockey Champion, Germany

Final:
Germany 4 (R Hartkopf 2, J Schiffer, L Harms) Netherlands 3 (D de Vilder 2, S Schoenaker)
 
Germany won an epic penalty corner shoot-out to win the boys EuroHockey Youth Championships title ahead of the Netherlands as their first half work was never caught by the orange tide.
Despite all the goals coming from set pieces, this was a match full of flair and technical wizardry, the dribbling skills on display a joy to watch in an intense affair, enjoyed by a large crowd at the Mardyke.
Leopold Harms got the ball rolling in the 16th minute with a low drag-flick; Raphael Hartkopf got the second, sliding in to deflect Paul Doesch’s low push into the goal.
Siem Schoenacker got one back when a corner move was blocked but the Dutch recovered before working the ball into the centre and he flicked in.
Jan Schiffer – who ended as tournament top goalscorer with nine goals – restored the two-goal advantage, though, on the half hour with another direct drag-flick to the right corner, 3-1 at half-time. And Germany were in dreamland when Hartkopf picked up a rebound and pushed in the fourth goal.
The Netherlands summoned a big sprint in the final quarter as they looked to grab a famous comeback. Captain Derck de Vilder got one back with a low bullet of a corner for 4-2 with 11 minutes to go and they had their chances to get another on the board – especially when Germany were reduced to nine players.

But the only chance that stuck was a penalty stroke on the final second, converted by de Vilder. Germany were already celebrating, however, and despite the concession they were already racing to hug each other in the throes of victory.

Bronze Medal Game: 

Belgium 2 (C Freyling, B Gougnard) England 2 (E Gilmour, L Ward), Belgium win 2-1 in a shoot-out

Belgium finally got a win in a shoot-out after a number of rough defeats in the last two days as goalkeeper Simon van den Broucke made four saves to deny England and claim European bronze.

It came after a cracking encounter between two side full of pace, trickery and power with little quarter asked for or given. England took the lead from a tenth minute penalty corner when Euan Gilmour grabbed a smartly taken rebound from close range.

But this was never going to be an easy ride for either team. Soon after, Boris Gougnard tested Rory McCallum’s reflexes and Belgium won a corner in the 14th minute when William Hewer dived in, picking up a yellow in the process.

Cyril Freyling fired in the drag-flick, clipping the underside of the crossbar for his fifth goal of the campaign to make it 1-1. England bounced back, winning a number of corners before the half-time break but could not find a way through the defences of van den Broucke.

Belgium then went in front early in the second half when Romain Delavignette’s pass trickled all the way through to Boris Gougnard. With time in the circle, he steadied himself before unleashing a rocket to the top corner for a 2-1 advantage.

It signalled the start of an English onslaught as they pushed forward in search of their equaliser. Their corner count moved up and up while both sides shipped yellow cards. The leveller came in the 62nd minute from one of those corners, Lucas Ward pumping home the second phase chance with a brutal bash.

Belgium had the better chances to win it in the closing phases but McCallum kept out a pair of shots to send the game to shoot-out. There, Emile Esquilin gave Belgium the early advantage, Oliver Rogerson equalised in round two before Loic Sidler scored the all-important effort for 2-1 before van der Broucke took over with three successive saves and a bronze medal.

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U18 EuroHockey Championships Pool C

Ireland 2 (M Crookshanks, M Nelson) Italy 2 (M Malucchi, F Rubin)

Matthew Nelson showed nerves of steel to sweep home a crucial equaliser for Ireland, one that keeps them in the top tier of the Under-18 EuroHockey Youth Championships for the next edition.

It means Italy are relegated in devastating fashion, the goal coming with just seven minutes left on the clock in what was a must-win game for Gianluca Cirilli’s team.

Nelson had also created the first goal for Ireland, setting up Matthew Crookshanks with a neat spin and pass which was slapped home first time.

Italy replied instantly with Matthias Malucchi scoring from the penalty spot less than a minute after this side went behind. And they continued to take the game to Ireland in the second half, taking the lead from a penalty corner, Filippo Rubin picking out the top of the goal with a powerful effort.

It put the hosts under huge pressure but they kept plugging away and when Nelson was found on his own on the right of the circle, he calmly picked his spot and swept home for 2-2. Italy had their moments in the closing phases but Ireland clung on for the all-important result.

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Spain 6 (A Tello 2, J Torras 2, S Cortes, M Recasens) Czech Republic 2 (J Griebl, K Bodnar)

Spain finished their EuroHockey Youth Championships campaign with a flourish, capping a campaign that ended with fifth place with a 6-2 win over the Czech Republic.

It was not all plain sailing, however, as the Czechs were level at half-time when Jakub Griebl cancelled out Alvaro Tello’s opening goal. Captain Sam Cortes and Jaume Torras did give Spain some breathing space at 3-1 before Krystof Bodnar reduced the deficit with 14 minutes remaining.

But three goals in the closing 11 minutes from Tello, Torras and Marc Recasens saw Spain pull clear.

Boys top goalscorers
9          Jan Schiffer (GER)
Boys Best Player:
Jonas de Geus (NED)
Boys Best Goalkeeper:
Simon Vandenbroucke (BEL)