Pool B was on display in the morning here in Valencia. We rarely have such a tight pool where 3 teams could be in the semi-final or indeed relegated to the Championship II division in the final day of the pool games. But such was the case this morning. If England or Belarus won their game, the other could be 4th in the pool and thereby relegated. In Pool A, the 2 relegated teams are known already, so it was who would be playing for 7th/8th on  Sunday, or would have to earn this right in a playoff game on Saturday.

Match 13: England v Belarus 2-2 

The first game of the day was a critical one for both teams as either could make the semi-final or indeed be relegated from the Championship division.

England had the better start to the game, pressing him and putting pressure on the Belarus defence from the off. Belarus was happy to soak up the pressure and it’s defence held firm. England earned a penalty corner in the 13th minute, but the shot was wide. The score stayed 0-0 into the second quarter. England was awarded another corner at the start of the second quarter. The initial shot was saved and went off the crossbar and somehow stayed out, but PARK pounced on the rebound to put England ahead 1-0. England was awarded a stroke before half-time but it was brilliantly saved by the Belarus keeper LIAVONAVA Tatsiana (C, GK)

England had a number of penalty corners in the second half but failed to convert them. England went ahead in the 49th minute via a solo run and shot from MCCABE. Belarus was making inroads into the English defence and earned a penalty corner with 10 to go, but it was batted away by the English defence. Seconds later MIHUNOVA deflected a perfectly executed penalty corner in the roof of the net to get Belarus onto the scorecard. A second equally well-executed pc in the 55th minute, again a deflection into the net this time by BATSIUKOVA put Belarus on level terms with England 2-2. A frantic last 10 minutes ensued, with neither team able to win the game. The game ended 2-2.

Match 14: Belgium v Germany 1-1 

With only 3 minutes into the game, Belgium opened the score via Englebert on the rebound of a penalty corner. In the 10th minute, Boermans knocked the ball past the keeper, levelling the score between the two sides. In the last minutes of the first quarter, there were chances for both teams. the German goalie made a big save in the 24th minute to deny Belgium to take the lead before half time. With 2 minutes left on the clock before the break, Germany shoot inches wide of the post.

Germany was very fast in the counters but the Belgian defence was very compact and not giving away any chance for Germany. The German team had two corners in the fourth quarter but both were well saved by the Belgian goalie. With 5 minutes to Germany took their goalie out. After a big mistake in the German defence, Belgium shoot was deflected wide with no goalie. The score remained 1-1 until the final whistle. Both teams are qualified for the semifinals.

 Final Ranking Pool B: 

 
Rank Team Played Wins Draws Losses Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Points
1 Germany 3 2 1 0 8 3 5 7
2 Belgium 3 0 3 0 3 3 0 3
3 England 3 0 2 1 4 6 -2 2
4 Belarus 3 0 2 1 4 7 -3 2

Match 15: Spain v The Netherlands 4-1 

In the first game of pool A for the women, Netherlands face Spain for the first spot of the pool. In the third minute, Jansen made no mistake from a penalty corner to put her team ahead early in the match. In the first quarter, the Dutch team was controlling the game, putting a lot of pressure on the Spanish defence and creating a lot of chances. Omrani doubled the lead for the Netherlands in the 21st minute. Later in the first half, Holland earned a few penalty corners but couldn’t convert them. Just before half time, Spain couldn’t put the ball into the net after a scramble in front of the Dutch goal. After that chance, Spain put a lot more pressure on the Dutch before the break.

In the third quarter, it was again the Netherlands with the best chances but they couldn’t increase their lead. Two minutes before the end of the third quarter, de Baat finished an incisive move down the right to make it 3-0 to the Netherlands. Zaldua chases a lost cause and got her reward in the 47thminute. In the 54th minute, Jansen scored her second of the afternoon from a penalty corner. 3 minutes before the end of the game, Spain saved on the line after a great individual action from Albers, who had beaten the Spanish goalkeeper. The Netherlands top pool A and will face Belgium in the semi-finals while Spain will face Germany.

Match 16: France v Ireland 0-1 

In the last pool game of today, Ireland faced France. The game was very much equal between both teams in the first half. Ireland earned two penalty corners but couldn’t convert them as the French goalie saved brilliantly both. Neither team created big chances. The Irish and French defence didn’t give away anything. Finally, one minute before half time, McLoughlin opened the score for Ireland.

France came back after the break with better intentions, creating some chances.  But Ireland managed to keep their lead and to win the game by the smallest difference.

 Final Ranking Pool A:

 
Rank Team Played Wins Draws Losses Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Points
1 Netherlands 4 4 0 0 24 2 22 12
2 Spain 4 3 0 1 12 7 5 9
3 Russia 4 2 0 2 6 15 -9 6
4 Ireland 4 1 0 3 2 10 -8 3
5 France 4 0 0 4 3 13 -10 0

Friday is a rest day, so games will resume on Saturday 20th July.

All games on Pitch 1 will be live-streamed on www.eurohockeytv.org 

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Photographs: World Sport Pics (c)