Germany and the Netherlands won through to the men’s EuroHockey Championship semi-finals as they shaded two high octane battles against England and reigning champions Belgium, respectively. The Germans advanced with a 3-2 win over the English while the Dutch needed a shoot-out against the Red Lions.
In Pool C, meanwhile, Spain took a bit step toward World Cup qualification while France can potentially deny them should they pick off a big win in their closing game of the competition.
Men’s EuroHockey Championships
Germany 3 (M Häner, M Zwicker, N Wellen) England 2 (A Dixon, S Ward)
Germany became the first side to reach the men’s EuroHockey Championship final, keeping them in the hunt for a ninth continental title as a blistering first quarter did the damage.
Martin Häner’s fourth goal in two games gave them a perfect start when he pushed his corner shot to the bottom right of the backboard. Adam Dixon responded in kind to make it 1-1 by the fourth minute but Germany had the lead back from yet another penalty corner, Martin Zwicker this time flicking home from the second phase following an immaculate pass back from Florian Fuchs.
And the Germans were in dreamland when Niklas Wellen burst through from halfway and his pace was too much for the covering defence. Faced with Ollie Payne, he lifted a beautiful lob over the goalkeeper on the run for a 3-1 lead.
Christopher Rühr went within inches of adding another with a rasping reverse-stick shot as Germany made most of the early moves. But England soon became the side coming to the fore and they went on to dominated much of the remainder of the game.
Indeed, young goalkeeper Alexander Stadler produced a whole string of brilliant stops as England threw everything forward but could not find their way past him in the second and third quarters.
It meant that when Sam Ward’s goal finally came inside the last minutes – another player with four goals in two games – his side’s pursuit of an equaliser was too short on time.
“I think we played our asses off and deserved this win in the end,” Zwicker said afterwards. “I am so proud and we deserved this so much.
“We did so well in defence today; it was a whole team performance; that was the key for us, only conceding two goals in the end.”
Germany – England 3-2 (3-1)
1’ 1-0 Martin Häner (PC)
4’ 1-1 Adam Dixon (PC)
9’ 2-1 Martin Zwicker (PC)
13’ 3-1 Niklas Wellen (FG)
59’ 3-2 Sam Ward (PC)
Umpires: F Vazquez (ESP), C van Bunge (NED)
Netherlands 2 (S van Ass, J Janssen) Belgium 2 (N de Kerpel, A Hendrickx), Netherlands win shoot-out 3-1
The Netherlands won a rip-roaring battle with Belgium via a shoot-out as Jorrit Croon provided a glorious final finish, capping a 3-1 success after normal time ended 2-2.
The first half was a pulsating affair that was high on quality but ultimately produced no goals by virtue of some top class defensive work.
In the sixth minute, Cédric Charlier turned brilliant to shoot on the spin but his shot was well blocked by Pirmin Blaak. Jorrit Croon was buzzing with energy and won a first corner but Jip Janssen’s drag-flick slipped by the post.
Florent van Aubel’s innovative pass through his legs almost unlocked the door for John-John Dohmen only to be foiled by a spectacular Blaak save as the game swung from end to end.
Loick Luypaert came to the Red Panthers rescue when he cleared Vincent Vanasch’s pads from Seve van Ass’s dangerous pull back. One Belgian corner was charged down while Thierry Brinkman’s ball across goal was tantalisingly out of reach to keep the scoreboard blank.
The breakthrough finally came in the 35th minute when Gauthier Boccard mopped up a loose pass out of defence by Glenn Schuurman and returned it with interest. He fired his pass straight to an unmarked Nico de Kerpel who had stayed in the circle; he coolly pushed into the right corner.
That ratcheted up the atmosphere as the tempers began to flare with Victor Wegnez and Sander de Wijn going to the sin-bin after an altercation. Blaak was again to the rescue in the fourth quarter from a gorgeous interplay between Antoine Kina, de Kerpel and finally Tom Boon, his chip hitting the goalkeeper’s helmet.
The hosts could not make use of a second corner but they were back on level terms with eight minutes to go with an absolute peach. Thierry Brinkman fronted up and then rolled the ball under his arm to Seve van Ass coming through at full speed, taking it in his stride and cracking it in off the inside of the post.
And Belgium responded almost instantly with Alexander Hendrickx providing the power with a thunderous drag-flick. But the crazy final 10 minutes continued as Jip Janssen equalised again with a corner drag of his own, 2-2 with four minutes to go.
That sent it to shoot-out where it went like-for-like for the first three rounds but the Dutch had the advantage when Thijs van Dam scored and Arthur van Doren was denied by Blaak. Jorrit Croon duly stepped up and calmly lifted the ball into the roof of the net to win it.
Netherlands – Belgium 2-2 (0-0), NED win shoot-out 3-1
35’ 0-1 Nicolas de Kerpel (FG)
52’ 1-1 Seve van Ass (FG)
53’ 1-2 Alexander Hendrickx (PC)
56’ 2-2 Jip Janssen (PC)
Umpires: D Barstow (ENG), B Goentgen (GER)
Russia 5 (M Khairullin, A Nadyrshin, E Artemov, A Skiperskiy, L Fattakhov) France 6 (B Rogeau 2, V Charlet 2, T Clément, P van Straaten)
France played out their second 6-5 scoreline in succession, this time enjoying the best of it against Russia having lost their previous contest by the same numbers against Germany. They twice came from behind as corners from Marat Khairullin and Artem Nadyrshin put Russie 2-0 up inside 17 minutes. Blaise Rogeau and Victor Charlet levelled it at 2-2 at half-time but further strikes from Evgeny Artemov and Alexander Skiperskiy had the Russians flying high at 4-2. France duly scored the next four to turn things right around. Timothée Clément got them back in range but the game was well and truly settled by three French goals in a two-minute spell between the 53rd and 55th minute. Charlet equalised, Rogeau gave France the lead for the first time and Pieter van Straaten put two between the teams with five minutes to go, rendering Linar Fattakhov’s goal a consolation effort.
Russia – France 5-6 (2-2)
9’ 1-0 Marat Khairullin (PC)
17’ 2-0 Artem Nadyrshin (PC)
20’ 2-1 Blaise Rogeau (FG)
25’ 2-2 Victor Charlet (PC)
33’ 3-2 Evgeny Artemov (FG)
36’ 4-2 Alexander Skiperskiy (PC)
37’ 4-3 Timothée Clément (FG)
53’ 4-4 Victor Charlet (PC)
54’ 4-5 Blaise Rogeau (FG)
55’ 4-6 Pieter van Straaten (FG)
58’ 5-6 Linar Fattakhov (FG)
Umpires: D Rodriguez (ESP), S Edwards (ENG)
Spain 6 (D Alegre 2, J Tarres, X Lleonart, P Quemada, M Miralles) Wales 1 (J Morgan)
Spain moved into pole position to win Pool C and, with it, a World Cup qualifying ticket as they proved far too strong for Wales. Three goals in three minutes in the first quarter killed off the tie quite early on as Joan Tarres, a penalty corner rocket from Pau Quemada and Xavi Lleonart’s brilliant blasted shot made it 3-0 by the 11th minute. David Alegre added another soon after and while Jolyon Morgan – in just his second game of the tournament – slid brilliantly onto a left wing cross to get one back, the gap was too much. Alegre and Marc Miralles added extra breathing room for Spain which means they need only a draw from their final Pool C game to secure their World Cup ticket.
Spain – Wales 6-1 (4-1)
8’ 1-0 Joan Tarres (FG)
10’ 2-0 Pau Quemada (PC)
11’ 3-0 Xavi Lleonart (FG)
19’ 4-0 David Alegre (FG)
30’ 4-1 Jolyon Morgan (FG)
43’ 5-1 David Alegre (FG)
60’ 6-1 Marc Miralles (FG)
Umpires: M Pontus (BEL), S Michielsen (BEL)
All games will be streamed on www.eurohockeytv.org (GEO blocking in Belgium, England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales)
Follow us on:
Official Website: https://rabo-eurohockeychampionships2021.com/
Official #: #EHC2021