Double Dutch titles as men win title for fourth time in five editions
The Netherlands won the men’s EuroHockey Championship title for the fourth time in five editions as they won a pulsating final over England 2-1.
First half goals from Derck de Vilder and tournament top scorer Duco Telgenkamp did the damage. England produced a forceful comeback but, in a dramatic endgame, were denied a crucial equaliser, meaning their wait for a second title continues.
The Dutch went in front in the ninth minute when Derck de Vilder followed up after Terrance Pieters hit the post. It came during a rousing opening with Thierry Brinkman at the heart of things.
England got the first corner but it was run down by the defensive side before Oliver Payne prevented it becoming 2-0 with a strong glove save.
Further Brinkman and Telgenkamp shots were repelled before half-time saw the black clouds circle around the venue. Before the sides returned fully for the second half, local thunderstorms and hailstones would delay the return to action for over 45 minutes.
The Oranje carried that momentum into the second half and they doubled the lead from a great move. De Vilder’s crossfield overhead found Tjimen Reyenga in lots of space and his powerful cross was turned in by Duco Telgenkamp to score his sixth goal of the tournament.
Sam Ward reignited the contest at the start of the quarter with a typical poacher’s goal, finishing off David Goodfield’s pass off the back of Nick Park’s excellent run down the right.
England withdrew their goalkeeper with eight minutes to go and survived a huge scare when Brendan Creed produced an incredible block to keep the narrow gap.
And they thought they had their equaliser when Phil Roper nudged home from close range but, after a long video review, a stroke was awarded for a stick tackle which led to the ball bouncing dangerously into a Dutch player.
Maurits Visser saved Nick Bandurak’s stroke first time but it had to be retaken for the goalkeeper stepping off his line. Same match-up, same result as the Dutch held on.
Three more corners followed in the aftermath, all of which were blocked down as the Netherlands breathed a huge sigh of relief.
“What an incredible game. I am happy we are European champions and have that Olympic ticket, fantastic,” said Lars Balk, named player of the match by the commentary team.
“We defended really well as a whole team; I am so proud of all of us – I don’t think I am man of the match, Maurits Visser is! The last four minutes were just crazy.
“The first games weren’t good and maybe against Belgium it wasn’t so good but the last one was our best!”
The tournament was a special one for Duco Telgenkamp who was named both the top scorer but also the young talent of the tournament. The best player was awarded to Teo Hinrichs and the best goalkeeper to Jean Danneberg.