Spain held off a dramatic late fightback from England to take their place in the men’s EuroHockey Junior Championships along with the Netherlands from Pool A. Belgium took the second semi-final spot from Pool B when they beat Ireland 3-1.

Men’s EuroHockey Junior Championships – day three round-up

Pool A: England 2 (W Calnan, T Sorsby) Spain 2 (M Escude, X Gispert)

Spain clung on to a precious draw to eliminate England on goal difference after the top three in Pool A all ended on five points with one win and two draws.

The only separator proved their respective results against Portugal, Spain’s dozen the divider to put them top of the group with the Netherlands second and England ousted in third.

Spanish goalkeeper Rafael Alvarez celebrates. Pic: Frank Uijlenbroek/World Sport Pics

The final group tie was an absolute thriller. Marc Escude opened the scoring in brilliant fashion, picking up a raking pass from left back, out-muscling his man before pumping a shot into the bottom left corner.

Will Calnan equalised with a drag-flick, his seventh goal of the campaign, to get England level by the end of the first quarter. Xavier Gispert returned the lead to Spain by half-time, though, when a lengthy ball from the back again made it into the forward line where he unleashed a low backhand that made it all the way in.

As time wore on, England became more and more of a force. Tom Sorsby hit the post from a corner deflection before he equalised the game at 2-2 with a smart finish at the near post.

From there, they piled on the pressure but could not break through the Spanish rearguard action. Assistant coach Arseni Sane praised his side for digging deep to grit out the win in the end.

“The level is very equal and it was a really tough game,” he said. “We played really well for the first three quarters but the last one, we sat too far back and suffered a lot of pressure but we are happy to get the draw and a place into the semi-finals.

“England pushed a lot and were really aggressive in our circle so we had to defend corners, second balls and a lot of shots but it’s a positive thing that we defended so well and got the reward.”

It was played out in front of a boisterous crowd who enjoyed seeing their Spanish side come to fruition.

“It’s always nice to play here at home with people all around. We had a short preparation with almost no games so we did not know what our level would be in competition in relation to the other teams. We did three really good games and are very happy.”

  

Netherland 10 (B Burkhardt 7, M de Vilder, T van Dam, T Pieters) Portugal 0

Boris Burkhardt scored a massive seven times as the Netherlands sealed their place in the men’s semi-final, passing the eight-goal target they needed to guarantee progression.

Morris de Vilder opened the scoring from a corner before Burkhardt took over, scoring the next from another set piece before adding one from play for 3-0 at quarter-time. His hat trick was complete for a four-goal cushion at half-time.

He added the next three for good measure to bring the total up to 7-0 before Terrence Pieters got the important eighth goal. Late efforts from Burkhardt and Thijs van Dam completed double figures.

 
Pool B

Belgium 3 (H Raes 2, A Lemaire) Ireland 1 (G Cole)

Henri Raes’ double under-pinned Belgium’s 3-1 win as they swept into the semi-final of the competition, sending Ireland into the relegation group.

He smashed in a brilliant reverse-stick shot into the top corner to break the deadlock in the first 10 minutes. Ireland had a couple of good chances with Charles Masset saving from both Matthew Crookshanks and Luke Madeley before Belgium moved further ahead from a penalty stroke, Alexis Lemaire scoring.

Raes then made the game safe in the 44th minute when his intended cross found a defensive stick which turned the ball passed the impressive Jamie Carr. Geoff Cole got one back within a minute from a corner deflection and while Ireland had good phases in the last quarter, Belgium were comfortable in front, especially when Madeley and John Mullins were shown yellow cards.

Raes said it was a strong performance as his side bounced back from their defeat to Germany a day earlier.

“It was our big purpose today to get through to the semi-finals, win the game and go on with a nice feeling and that’s what we did!” he said.

“A last minute goal [against Germany] is never nice but we did a nice debrief, scanned the Ireland team really well and did a nice job. It’s all good teams in the opposite pool so we will just go for it and play our best game on Saturday.”

Germany 4 (J Grosse, L Pfaff, P Dosch, M Werner) Austria 0

Germany completed a 4-0 win over Austria to make it three wins from three to top Pool B of the men’s EuroHockey Junior Championships in Valencia.

It took a while to break through against a stubborn Austrian opponent who forced the first major chance from a corner. Germany went in front two minutes before half-time from a clever corner move, switching the ball to injector Johannes Grosse who swept in for 1-0.

For thes second goal, Lukas Pfaff took the direct route with a high drag-flick in the 36th minute. And they were further in the clear when Linus Muller stepped forward to steal possession with the ball quickly transferred from right to the left where Paul Dosch controlled and slotted home. Max Werner completed the win with a close-range finish.

** All matches on Pitch 1 will be streamed live on http://www.eurohockeytv.org

Friday – Rest Day

 Saturday 2 September 2017                                                                                     

09.00

Men’s Pool C

Portugal

v

Austria

Pitch 2

11.15

Men’s Pool C

England

v

Ireland

Pitch 2

09.00

Men’s Semi-Final

Germany

v

Netherlands

Pitch 1 *

11.30

Men’s Semi-Final

Spain

v

Belgium

Pitch 1 *