The final pool games were played here in Valencia today with plenty of action and potential for teams to make it through to the semi-finals,

Match 9: Belgium v Poland 6-0 

The first game of day 4 was between Belgium and Poland. In the 8th minute, the Belgian team hit the post on a penalty corner from Weyers. Straight after that, they had another big chance on a counter but the ball went just over the goal. One minute before the first break, Biekens T. scored the first goal for Belgium with a reverse stick strike across the goal. On the buzzer, the Belgian captain found the net after a battle on the goal line to make it 2-0 for his team at half time. Belgium was putting a lot of pressure on the Polish defence as they clearly needed a big score to still get a chance to make it through the semifinals.

Belgium pushed further into the lead at the start of the second half as Esquelin fired the ball through the Polish defence. Weyers hit the post one more time from a penalty corner a few minutes later. In the 36th minute, Stockbroekx taped it in behind the goalie to make it 4-0. In the next minute, Esquelin scored his second of the game from a shot from the top of the D. In the fourth quarter, Muschs added one for Belgium from a penalty corner. The final score was 6-0 in favour of the Belgian team.

 Match 10: Austria v Germany 2-9 

Germany finished out the pool games with a strong display against Austria to ensure a place in the semi-final. SCHELLINGER opened the scoring in the 13th minute, ending the first quarter 1-0. WEIGAND added 2 in the 2nd quarter, with PRINZ adding one to bring the score to 4-0 without reply. 3 more were added by the German’s in the 3rd quarter, with KAPOUNEK getting on the scoresheet via a pc for Austria. It was 7-1 going into the final quarter. WELLAN added a second for Austria, again from a pc, but Germany added 2 more (a second for HARTKOPF) and CHWARZHAUPT closed out the game with a field goal almost on the final whistle.

Match 11: Netherlands v France 0-0

On paper, France was expecting to go down to the stronger Netherlands team. Their strategy was to defend well and that’s what they did in spades. Their keeper CROUTTE had the game of his life, soaking up the endless pressure from the Dutch. The Dutch were a bit subdued, perhaps after their battle yesterday v Germany, which was a hard-fought win, but there was no denying that the French played better all over the park, but especially in defence.

Speaking to the French captain T CLEMENT after the game he said he was “very proud of his team” and especially his keeper who was “really really good” today.

Match 12: Spain v England 

A tight first half with both teams having chances, but neither was able to convert.

The second half was a stunning display of attacking hockey. England had their 3rd pc of the game 7 minutes into the second half but didn’t convert. Two minutes later they earned a second corner, a stunning drag low into the bottom left corner beat the Spanish keeper and England were ahead in the game 0-1 via WAY. Spain had wave after wave of attacks on the Spanish circle, with some brave defending from the English. Spain was awarded 2 penalty corners in the final quarter, both run down by the English runner and reawards also failed to be converted by Spain.

England earned a pc with 2 minutes to go, a chance to top the pool – but a mistrap and turnover ball saw the English sprint back to defend their goal. Again Spain was awarded a pc in the 59th minute and a beautiful strike saw they draw level with England via ZORITA. 1-1 and seconds on the clock and Spain earned another pc – again the English defence was solid and the hooter went, much to the delight of the English team. A draw earned them a place in the semi-finals at the expense of the Belgians.

Final Ranking Pool A:

 
Rank Team Played Wins Draws Losses Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Points
1 Spain 3 2 1 0 9 2 7 7
2 England 3 1 2 0 8 4 4 5
3 Belgium 3 1 1 1 7 3 4 4
4 Poland 3 0 0 3 3 18 -15 0

Final Ranking Pool B

 
Rank Team Played Wins Draws Losses Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Points
1 Netherlands 3 2 1 0 12 1 11 7
2 Germany 3 2 0 1 19 5 14 6
3 France 3 1 1 1 7 10 -3 4

Friday is a rest day, the games will recommence on Saturday.

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

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Photographs: World Sport Pics (c)