Sunday 6th Round-Up: Men’s EuroHockey Championship

06/06/2021

What a day here in Amsterdam as Germany somehow draw level to take a point from the Dutch and England rocked the World Champions  (BEL) with a win! 

Pool B

Match 6: Germany 2 (C Rühr, L Windfeder) Netherlands 2 (S van Ass, T Brinkman)

Germany netted twice in a crazy last two minutes to add another comeback result to their long list with Christopher Rühr’s stroke and Lukas Windfeder corner giving them a point.

The Netherlands had looked in control for a long time as Seve van Ass and Thierry Brinkman had them in good shape until the late sting in the tail.

“Maybe it’s just Germans!” Tobias Hauke said of the typical comeback about where this special power comes from. “You have to be really fit in the head and physically and I think we are. It’s also about the game.

“If you are 2-0 down and were the worse team all the way, it’s difficult to think you can do it. But it was like this game, you think we have to score. Then you think the whole time you can change it, it’s just one goal. There’s 10 guys on the pitch who played the Olympics 2016 against New Zealand. We just had 40 seconds then and we did it. It’s in your mind and good to have!”

In an intense opening quarter, the Dutch started off brilliantly, their speed and direct running drawing a number of fouls – and two green cards – and they took the lead all within the first five minutes.

It came from Seve van Ass who delightfully escaped a tackle from a switch move and his low push took a heavy stick off Martin Haner to hit the backboard.

Germany took a while to settle but were soon generating their own impact with Florian Fuchs and Christopher Rühr orchestrating things. Timm Herzbruch’s brilliant fast hands soon drew an outstanding save from Pirmin Blaak.

The second quarter saw even more high octane action with Blaak palming away two German corners while Sander de Wijn came within inches of adding to the Dutch lead.

Alexander Stadler’s goal led a charmed life at times in the third quarter with Billy Bakker’s goal chalked off for a back-stick by a video review. Thijs van Dam’s baseline run caused plenty of flutters but the Germans held firm.

That was until – after a spell on the back foot – de Wijn found an outrageous long pass that found Mirco Pruijser all alone behind the last defender. He was unselfish, slipping the ball to Brinkman who had the simplest of tasks to pot into an empty net.

Blaak did well to keep out another series of German corners as the guests threw plenty forward but, try as they might the Dutch defence was seemingly unbeatable on the day.

That was until Blaak was sent to the sin-bin for kicking the ball away after the whistle, leaving both sides without a recognised goalkeeper for a moment. Rühr was fouled from the subsequent corner and stepped up to score the stroke against Maurits Visser. Less than a minute later, they had a corner and Windfeder picked out the bottom corner.

“Quite an emotional game after such a long time without a big tournament with spectators,” Hauke added. “The game was good everyone, good for the sport, for the spectators, for both teams. Netherlands played that bit deeper and looked for the counter attacks which worked quite well to be honest. Our game was not too bad. We had a lot of corners; we could have scored earlier but at the end it got very hectic.

Germany – Netherlands

5’ 0-1 Seve van Ass (PC)

43’ 0-2 Thierry Brinkman (FG)

Umpires: F Vazquez (ESP), D Barstow (ENG)

Men’s EuroHockey Championships

Pool A

Match 7: Spain 5 (P Quemada 2, X Lleonart, V Ruiz, J Tarres) Russia 1 (S Matkovskiy)

Four first quarter goals saw Spain run up a comfortable 5-1 victory over Russia, getting their first points of the competition to reignite their push for a semi-final spot in Pool A.

Marc Miralles created the first goal with his first touch of the game, turning sharply and shooting only to see Artem Nadyrshin collapse on the ball, leading to a stroke. Xavi Lleonart scored his second stroke in two games.

Vincenç Ruiz slid in to get the second goal from Quique Gonazalez’s cross; Pau Quemada tipped in the third as they found plenty of men over in the circle to allow a simple finish.

And the fourth came 20 seconds before the end of the first interval via a pitch length move, David Alegre passing the ball under his arm to Joan Tarres for another handy goal.

Russia improved markedly in the second quarter, keeping the scoresheet blank, but they fell further behind three minutes into the second half when Quemada ripped in his second goal of the day.

Russia did get one back just before the end of the third quarter via Semen Matkovskiy’s corner strike, their first goal of the tournament. It proved the last goal of the contest.

“We started the game quite hard,” reflected Quemada after the win. “We knew it was the key to the game to go at full power and score as much as we could. We did it but it is a pity we slowed down in the second, third and fourth quarter.

“We changed a little bit of the way we were playing; we became a bit more selfish and that’s why instead of transferring the ball, we started to run a bit more to try and make one extra dribble instead of a pass. For me that was the difference before the beginning and the last part of the game.

“Russia fought back and it is quite impressive the way they performed after being four down.”

As for the challenge of England in their final group game, he added: “We really need to be stronger in our D; we gave too many easy corners today and yesterday so we need to improve this. And we need to believe in ourselves; we have a lot more potential than what we have shown until now. We need to go all or nothing!’

Spain – Russia 5-1 (4-0)

8’ 1-0 Xavi Lleonart (PS)

12’ 2-0 Vincenç Ruiz (FG)

14’ 3-0 Pau Quemada (FG)

14’ 4-0 Joan Tarres (FG)

33’ 5-0 Pau Quemada (PC)

Pool A

Match 8: England 2 (Z Wallace, L Ansell) Belgium 1 (T Boon)

England produced a stunning performance to beat world number one side Belgium 2-1 and put themselves on the brink of qualification for the semi-finals on six points in Pool A.

The first quarter was wild with England drawing first blood as they won a host of penalty corners, the fifth of which was slipped to Phil Roper. His shot hit Florent van Aubel on the body on the line, setting up a stroke for Zach Wallace to flick in.

But the Red Lions were level in similar fashion in the fifth minute. This time, Loick Luypaert took a direct drag which hit Liam Sanford in the goalmouth; Tom Boon emerged to slot this chance, 1-1.

In total, England had eight corners in that first quarter with Arthuer de Sloover having to clear another off the line. Vincent Vanasch, meanwhile, was at his best to keep out Roper in the seconds before the first break.

The game continued at this intensity through the second quarter with chances a plenty. Ollie Payne was rock solid to keep out Cedric Charlier from the pick of the chances as it remained locked going into half-time.

That changed, however, 27 seconds into the second half when the brilliant Wallace tore around the right wing and despite almost being knocked over, kept his feet and flicked a perfect pass to Liam Ansell who volleyed in.

Thereafter, the game became fractious with England having the better of the play as Belgium struggled for a rhythm, not helped by yellow cards for de Sloover and Gauthier Boccard.

Sam Ward also did time for England but no major chances accrued for much of the final quarter with Payne keeping calm to boot away what did come his way.

For the goalkeeper, in just his second England cap, he said he was “absolutely buzzing” afterwards.

“It’s amazing to beat a team like Belgium and just a great start to the tournament for us,” Payne said. “There’s a fine line between respecting the opposition and what they have achieved and then not fearing them to go into the game with a bit of self-confidence. I think we got that balance right.

“I’ve had a mental year; it has been really enjoyable and taken everything as it comes. Very thankful to the great coaches and team mates for their support, giving me the confidence to play my own game.

“I’ve been very fortunate that we were able to carry on training throughout lockdown as I wouldn’t have been able to break in or got the exposure of playing [to make this breakthrough].”

Wallace, meanwhile, was one of the stars of the show but he says there is even more to come.

“I’m feeling confident. The way we have set up to play, I’ve got that license to go forward to attack; at the same time, I am still young and realistically, I am nowhere near where I want to be as a player. I’ve a lot of work still to do and want to keep on getting better and better.

“{As a team], we wanted to go at them. We have respect for them but, at the same time, you can’t let them attack you the whole game. We did that well and created a lot of chances.

Umpires: M Otten (NED), B Goentgen (GER)

England – Belgium 2-1 (1-1)

4’ 1-0 Zach Wallace (PS)

5’ 1-1 Tom Boon (PS)

31’ 2-1 Liam Ansell (FG)

********

All games will be streamed on www.eurohockeytv.org (GEO blocking in Belgium, England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales)

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Official Website: https://rabo-eurohockeychampionships2021.com/

Official #: #EHC2021

Photographs: EHF / World Sport pics (c)

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