Germany will meet the Netherlands in the final of the Belfius EuroHockey Championships for the sixth time after the pair won two wildly contrasting semi-finals at Wilrijkse Plein.
The Netherlands were the first side to reach the final with a thumping 8-0 win over England, the biggest win at this final four stage of the competition as everything they touched turned to gold. It puts them one step away from a 10th gold medal.
Germany’s path was much more complicated as they played out a 3-2 thriller with Spain in the second semi-final which was eventually decided by Nike Lorenz’s drag-flick in the final minute.
Their final will be at 16.00 (CET) on Sunday afternoon. The Bronze Match will be at 13.30 (CET) between Spain and England.
Earlier in the day, Ireland and Russia got wins in the relegation pool to give their hopes of avoiding the drop a huge boost. Russia started off the day with a 5-0 win over Belarus with Bogdana Sadovaia firing home two corners.
Ireland left it late but Anna O’Flanagan netted inside the last two minutes for a 2-1 win over Belgium that lifts them to six points and very close to safety.
The positions will be finalised on Sunday morning when Ireland face Russia at 09.00 (CET) and Belgium face Belarus at 11.15 (CET).
Saturday’s schedule will see the 2019 winner of the men’s Belfius EuroHockey Championships crowned with Belgium up against Spain at 20.30 (CET). The Bronze Match between Germany and the Netherlands is at 18.00 (CET).
The relegation pool starts the day with England facing Scotland at 13.30 (CET) and Ireland coming up against Wales at 15.45 (CET).
Semi-final: England 0 Netherlands 8 (L Welten 2, C van Maasakker 2, L Leurink 2, X de Waard, M Keetels)
The Netherlands produced the biggest semi-final win in the women’s EuroHockey Championships as they smashed England with a devastating display in Antwerp.
A flawless first half saw the Dutch lead 3-0 and they sped away into the distance in the second half with five more goals as they continue to grow into the competition in pursuit of a 10th title.
Spain 2 (M Lopez, M Segu) Germany 3 (C Pieper, H Gablac, N Lorenz)
Nike Lorenz’s last minute corner goal kept alive Germany’s chances of winning a third women’s EuroHockey Championships title as they beat Spain 3-2.
The Spaniards led early on via Maria Lopez before falling behind 2-1 to Cecile Pieper and Hannah Gablac goals. Marta Segu’s wonder strike equalised before Lorenz had the final say, setting up a sixth European final meeting between the teams.
Russia 5 (B Sadovaia 2, K Koroleva, K Shimilina) Belarus 0
Russia landed a big blow over their eastern European rivals Belarus to give themselves a fighting chance of staying in the top tier on Sunday morning.
Their penalty corner machine provided most of the joy as Bogdana Sadovaia nailed two drag-flicks in the first half and Kseniia Koroleva added another for 3-0. Kristina Shimilina and Iuliia Cheplygina completed the rout.
Belgium 1 (A Ballenghien) Ireland 2 (B Barr, A O’Flanagan)
Anna O’Flanagan grabbed a winning goal for Ireland with just over a minute to go to see the Green Army all but safe in the women’s EuroHockey Championships.
They led early on via Beth Barr’s second goal of the tournament before the Belgian hosts equalised in the second half. But Ireland kept fight and now move up to six points with Belgium on three and needing a result in their final match of the tournament on Sunday.
Match schedule (all times CET; Wilrijkse Plein, Antwerp)
Saturday, August 24
Final: Belgium v Spain, 20.30
Bronze match: Germany v Netherlands, 18.00
Pool C: England v Scotland, 13.30; Ireland v Wales, 15.45
Sunday, August 25
Final: Germany v Netherlands, 16.00
Bronze match: Spain v England, 13.30
Pool C: Ireland v Russia, 09.00; Belgium v Belarus, 11.15