Photograph: Tom HIEBENDAAL scores the winning goal (EHF/Frank Uijlenbroek (c))

25/07/2014: England reached the semi-final after an excellent run in their pool with wins over the host Belgium in the opening game 1-0, followed by comprehensive win 6-2 over Poland and finishing with another big win over France 7-0. The pathway for the Dutch men was a little convoluted, opening with an exciting draw with Spain, their second game v Germany also ended up with a draw and only a win in their final game would be good enough to make the semi-final. Austria almost caused a Tournament upset as the score of 1-1 with 10 on the clock would have pushed the Dutch out of the semi-final, but 2 goals changed that and gave them the 3 necessary points.

Tom Hiebendaal gave the Netherlands the early lead from open play after just one minute after deflecting in the ball following a melee at the top of the circle. England defended well and any attacks by the Dutch forwards were stamped out. The half time score was 0-1 for The Netherlands

England started the second half more brightly and pushed hard for the equalizer. Arjan DRAYTON-CHANA delivered scoring a decent cross. The Dutch stepped up their attacks but once again the English defence held firm and they countered. A couple of missed chances, but both sets of forwards, and the game seemed to be heading to a tie. But The Netherlands were awarded a stroke in the 63rd minute which was taken and scored by Tom Hiebendaal, beating Harry GIBSON, who has been superb all week. Bringing the score to 1-2 in favour of the Dutch.

In the 67th minute England took Gibson off, in favour of a kicking back, and they pressed high with their center backs joining the attack. The Dutch defended the extra ‘man’ well and in the end England couldn’t take enough of an advantage to force the game to 2-2. The final score was 1-2 to The Netehrlands and they await the outcome of the second semi-final to see who they will face.
Head Coach Jon Bleby said: “We made an excellent effort and came out on the wrong end of it. Now we’ve got to pick ourselves up and prepare to go out and win a bronze medal, which will make us the first Under-21 team to win a medal since 1998.” Source England Hockey. So the Bronze Medal game tomorrow is also a vital game for the English boys.

Final Score 1-2 (0-1)
‘2 20 Tom HIEBENDAAL (FG) 0-1
’37 22 Arjan DRAYTON-CHANA (FG) 1-1
’63 20 Tom HIEBENDAAL (PS) 1-2