Belgium and England join the Netherlands and Germany in the final four of the women’s European Championships as their wins over Spain and Scotland saw them advance.

Women’s Pool A: Spain 1 Belgium 2 (1-1)
Anouk Raes got the crucial goal as Belgium beat their arch rival Spain 2-1 to advance to the final four of the European Championships, dropping the Spanish into Pool C with Ireland, Scotland and the Czech Republic.

Spain will be especially frustrated as they had the majority of the play and the chances but they succumbed to two sucker-punches.

The first came in the 15th minute when Joanne Peeters aimed a drag-flick for the right side of the circle for an attacking touch, only to pick out a Spanish stick that redirected the ball into the goal.

Spain replied a minute before half-time with an excellent team effort. Marta Segu wriggled out of a tackle on the right of circle and clipped a pass across goal to the waiting Carola Salvatella who swept hom into the open goal.

Aisling d’Hooghe needed to be on form to smother Xantal Gine’s effort as Spain continued to push on.

But from a rare break, Belgium struck again in the 35th minute when Judith Vandermieren laid the ball back to Raes who burst into the circle. She fired a backhand shot into a group of players in front of Maria Ruiz with a series of deflections going up and over the goalkeeper.

Try as Spain might, they were unable to get back into the tie and fell short of the win they needed to advance.

Spain – Belgium

15’ Joanne Peeters 0-1 (pc)
29’ Carola Salvatella 1-1
35’ Anouk Raes 1-2

Umpires:
S Wilson (SCO), M Meister (GER)

Pool A: Netherlands – Czech Republic (6-0)
The Netherlands cruised to the biggest win of the Rabo EuroHockey Championships tournament so far, beating the tournament’s lowest ranks with plenty to spare.

It took them a little while – and a couple of corners and good goalkeeping from Barbora Cechakova – to get on the board, the first goal coming in the 11th minute when Caia van Maasakker scored off a spin move.

It opened the floodgates with Margot van Geffen getting the second from a deflected shot. Kitty van Male produced some wonderful skills to net the third before Kelly Jonker got the fourth from close range. Laurien Leurink and van Maasakker scored before half-time for a 6-0 lead.

Ireen van den Assem, Leurink and Lidewij Welten extended the lead to 9-0 by the end of the third quarter. Marloes Keetels completed the win two minutes from the end. The Dutch now face England in the semi-final.

Netherlands – Czech Republic 10-0 (6-0)
11’ Caia van Maasakker 1-0 (pc)
14’ Margot van Geffen 2-0
17’ Kitty van Male 3-0
20’ Kelly Jonker 4-0
28’ Laurien Leurink 5-0
28’ Caia van Maasakker 6-0 (pc)
32’ Ireen van den Assem 7-0 (pc)
39’ Laurien Leurink 8-0
42’ Lidewij Welten 9-0
58’ Marloes Keetels 10-0

Umpires: A Keogh (IRL), E Shelbourn (ENG)

Women’s Pool B: Ireland 1 Germany 5 (0-2)
Germany topped Pool B as they beat Ireland 5-1 with three late goals adding an extra gloss to the scoreline after a close battle for three quarters.

Ireland’s place in the relegation pool was confirmed by the earlier result between England and Scotland, meaning the only outcome at stake was whether the Germans could get the result they needed to stay ahead of England.

To that end, they got off to a perfect start with Nike Lorenz nailing a low drag-flick inside the first minute of play. Franzisca Hauke made it 2-0 from mid-circle after a gorgeous interchange down the right wing.

Ireland replied with a corner deflection from Yvonne O’Byrne in the 23rd minute and they enjoyed a strong spell for a while, Katie Mullan almost set through for an equaliser.

But their momentum came to an end in the closing minutes when Pia-Sophie Oldhafer made it 3-1. Within a minute, Ceclie Pieper crashed in another and Charlotte Stapenhorst made it three goals in a four minute spell to seal the deal.


Germany – Ireland

1’ Nike Lorenz 1-0 (pc)
22’ Franzisca Hauke 2-0
23’ Yvonne O’Byrne 2-1 (pc)
50’ Pia-Sophie Oldhafer 3-1
51’ Cecile Pieper 4-1
54’ C Stapenhorst 5-1 (pc)

Umpires: V Bagdanskiene (LTU), I Presenqui (ARG)

England 2 Scotland 0 (0-0)
Second half goals from Jo Hunter and Giselle Ansley kept England’s EuroHockey title retention hopes alive as they beat their neighbours Scotland 2-0.

The tone and pattern of the game was set very early on with England making the vast majority of attacks with Scotland soaking up the pressure while their goalkeeper Amy Gibson produced some outstanding stops.

The first came at the left post from a very early corner, scrambling at the feet of Sophie Bray and Susannah Townsend to keep out a double chance. She also denied a Giselle Ansley drag-flick while Alison Howie had the pick of the Scottish breaks denied by Maddie Hinch to keep the game scoreless at half-time.

England continued to ramp up the pressure and got their reward in the second half when Anna Toman – a key figure on the overlap down the right – fired an inviting cross. Jo Hunter got a touch to it which then took a second deflection off the Scottish back-tracking defender for 1-0.

Gibson then kept her side in the mix with a double save from Bray’s backhand and Hannah Martin’s follow-up shot. Hinch was required to do something similar at the far end from Katie Robertson’s snap shots.

England, though, always had the control and closed out the win with an Ansley drag-flick into the bottom corner inside the last two minutes.


England – Scotland

35’ Jo Hunter 1-0
58’ Giselle Ansley 2-0

Umpires: L Delforge (BEL), C Druijts (NED)