The Netherlands will play England while Germany face Belgium in the men’s Rabo EuroHockey Championships semi-finals. The Dutch beat Austria 6-0, doing enough to overhaul Belgium who lost 2-0 to Spain. Germany and England advanced to the semi-finals with their wins over Poland and Ireland.

Pool A: Netherlands – Austria 6-0 (4-0)
The Netherlands set up a semi-final date with England as their big win over Austria moved them top of Pool A of the men’s EuroHockey Championship in Amsterdam.

Bjorn Kellerman got them up and running inside a minute, using a short-handled shot to find the bottom corner. Just a few second after coming onto the pitch, Mirco Pruijser tapped in a second after Thierry Brinkman’s good work. Brinkman got one of his own in the 23rd minute for a 3-0 half-time lead.

Seve van Ass stormed the Austria defences for the fourth goal and the crucial fifth goal arrived with Billy Bakker producing a perfect backhand from the top of the circle. Mink van der Weerden added an extra insurance goal in the last three minutes for a 6-0 win.

Player of the match Bakker said of the win: “We had a really good start, getting 2-0 up in a few minutes. Then we had a few problems to be dangerous. At the start of the second half, the flow came back. We wanted to get to 6-0 and that happened.

“This match is also important for the preparation for the final. We really wanted to play our own game, develop and be better than the Belgian game. I think we can be really satisfied.

“We want to improve every game. From the semi-final, it all starts zero-zero and it’s a do-or-die game. You just have to win. We have to play relaxed, really concentrated and creative and then we will have a really good chance.”

Netherlands – Austria 6-0 (3-0)
1’ Bjorn Kellerman 1-0
6’ Mirco Pruijser 2-0
23’ Thierry Brinkman 3-0
40’ Seve van Ass 4-0
52’ Billy Bakker 5-0
57’ Mink van der Weerden 6-0 (pc)

Pool A: Spain 2 Belgium 0 (0-0)
Second half goals from Xavi Lleonart and Joan Tarres gave Spain a big confidence boost going into the relegation pool, beating the Belgians who already had a semi-final spot in the bank.

A very even first half ended scoreless as Quico Cortes made a couple of good saves in the Spanish cage in an even first half while Alex Hendrickx shot over. His side always looked dangerous on the counter and they took the lead in the 42nd minute, a brilliant solo goal, twisting and turning inside and out of tackles before hitting home.

Joan Tarres then doubled the lead seven minutes later when he saw a loose ball and bounced it into the net, 2-0 with nine minutes to go.

It might have been even better for Spain when they hit the bar with a penalty corner but it bounced to safety. It was not required, though, as Spain recorded a healthy 2-0 win. They will next face Ireland on Friday in Pool C while Belgium still have a semi-final to look forward to.

For Lleonart, it was a memorable game as he continues his comeback from a shoulder injury.

“After my injury, it was a really hard five months. It was a long wait to get fit again but I really enjoyed this amazing game. It was not important for our competition because we are fighting for fifth to eighth place but we are happy to beat this amazing team. We hope to get to the same level again in the next few days.

“The last two games weren’t good for us. We really needed this kind of game against a strong team like Belgium and it gives us a lot of confidence.

Spain – Belgium
42’ Xavi Lleonart 1-0
51’ Joan Tarres 2-0

Umpires: B Bale (ENG), B Goentgen (GER)

Men’s Pool B: Ireland 1 England 2 (1-0)
England came from a goal down to beat Ireland 2-1 to take up a place in the semi-finals of the men’s Rabo EuroHockey Championships, Sam Ward’s 44th minute goal proving crucial.

“It was played in a great spirit and great intensity,” English coach Bobby Crutchley said afterwards. “They stick at it and stay in it and have been a very good team for some time now.

“It may not have been the most stylish performance but in many ways that was our best performance because of what was on it.”

Ireland had hit the front in the first quarter when Matthew Nelson dove onto a penalty corner sweep from Conor Harte at the right post. Moments earlier, Nelson had the ball in the net only to see his effort called back for the corner he eventually scored from.

They maintained that lead into half-time, one of very few chances with England having a couple of corner chances booted away by David Harte.

But the English tore into the second half and made all the running. David Goodfield smashed home from a fine move, created by Liam Sanford’s powerful pass into the circle.

Then Ireland’s discipline fell, going down to nine players with Shane O’Donoghue sitting out ten minutes after an altercation with David Ames. England bossed the game from there and eventually got their reward when Ian Sloan overlapped, laying into the path of Ward to turn home.

Thereafter, England had most of the game until the closing five minutes when a concerted Irish spell of pressure led to a late corner. George Pinner stood tall to deny O’Donoghue’s drag-flick with his glove and England held on for the win.

“We knew they would keep coming and George had lots of periods where he didn’t have much to do,” Crutchley added. “But he came when we needed him. He stood up and that’s what we needed from all the players.”

England now go through to the semi-finals while Ireland go to the relegation pool.

“Bitterly disappointed,” was Ireland’s Jonny Bell’s reaction. “We all had the belief we would make the semi-finals and get that medal. It’s not to be; we have to regroup. A new tournament starts Friday with two big games and we need to win both and finish in that top five.”

Ireland – England
13’ Matthew Nelson 1-0
32’ David Goodfield 1-1
44’ Sam Ward 1-2

Umpires: A Kearns (AUS), F Vazquez (ESP)

Germany – Poland (3-2)
Germany overcame a second quarter stutter to beat Poland and advance to the knock-out stages of the European Championships in a hugely entertaining, goal-fest.

Niklas Wellen was the key man, netting three times, his first coming in the 13th minute after Lukas Windfeder had opened the scoring from a corner.

Wellen slotted home for 3-0 from Mat Grambusch’s brilliant pass and things all looked to be progressing well for Germany. But Poland rallied and were back in the game when Mikolaj Gumny cleaned up a rebound. Maciej Janiszewski then reduced the gap to one with a back post tip-in.

Wellen, however, pumped home a backhand shot two minutes into the second half for 4-2 and Dieter Linnekogel’s corner flick made the game safer. Tobias Hauke added the sixth.

Mateusz Poltaszewski got another one back with ten minutes to go into an open goal as Germany pursued extra goals with an extra goalkeeper. In the late stages, Christopher Ruhr hit the crossbar from a stroke. His Rot-Weiss Koln team mate Marco Miltkau completed the victory with a seventh goal two minutes from the end.

Speaking afterwards, Tobias Hauke said he was: “happy with the result and through to the semis. That’s what we wanted from today. Like the last two games, you saw some minutes of good hockey and others where we didn’t concentrate so much.

“For the semis, we will have to improve because if we play like the other games, it will be really hard against Holland or Belgium.

“They are both playing really well, it was a brilliant game the other evening from both sides. It would be cool to play in the evening against the Netherlands but Belgium is also no problem – we will take whatever comes along.”


Germany – Poland (3-2)

12’ Lukas Windfeder 1-0 (pc)
13’ Niklas Wellen 2-0
21’ Niklas Wellen 3-0
24’ Mikolaj Gumny 3-1
29’ Maciej Janiszewski 3-2
32’ Niklas Wellen 4-2
39’ Dieter Linnekogel 5-2
48’ Tobias Hauke 6-2
50′ Mateusz Poltaszewski 6-3
59′ Marco Miltkau 7-3

Umpires: J van ‘t Hek (NED), Michael Eilmer (AUT)