Following a gruelling 9 days and 23 games, we have our EuroHockey Champions and history is made by Spain who has been crowned Champions for the first time in the history of the Competition, beating The Netherlands in a shootout competition after they drew the final 1-1.

Match 23: The Netherlands v Spain 1 – 1 (3 – 4 SO)

In the last women’s game of the event, the Netherlands faced the host Spain to determine who would be the next European champion. Early in the first quarter, Moes had a big chance after some good work down the baseline but it went just wide of the goal. The Dutch had more ball possession and Spain was mainly defending. But the Dutch didn’t have too many big changes. In the 25th minute, on the second penalty corner for the Netherlands, van der Veerdonk opened the score for her team. the score at half time was 1-0.

Spain came back with better intentions in the second half. They created more chances. The last minutes of the game was very tense as the Spanish needed to score the equalizer. Somehow, in the dying seconds of the game, Spain managed to equalize via Forte and go to the shootouts.

Spain was the best at the shootouts and became the new European U21 Champions.

Match 22: Belgium v Germany 1 – 1 (2 – 3 SO) (Bronze medal game) 

In the women’s bronze medal match, Belgium faced Germany. The German put a lot of pressure on the Belgian defence straight from the first whistle. In the 11th minute, Germany hit the inside of the post on a shot from the top of the D. In the last minutes of the first quarter, Belgium had a few penalty corners but couldn’t convert them. In the second quarter, both teams had a 1v1 duel with the goalie from the opposition but both goalies saved brilliantly. The score at half time was 0-0.

In the 42nd minute, Germany opened the score on a penalty corner converted by Pluta. In the last quarter, Belgium put pressure higher on the German defence, looking for the equalizer. With 3 minutes left on the clock, Belgium took their goalie off. They created a big chance straight away with an extra player. Rasir scored the equalizer on a corner, 2 minutes before the final whistle. Germany got 2 yellow cards in those last minutes but Belgium couldn’t advantage of it. The final score was 1-1 and we went to shootouts. Belgium was leading 2-0 but Germany came back and scored the winner in the sudden death to win the bronze medal.

Earlier today we had our ranking games 5/8: 

Match 20: Ireland v France 5-1 (7th/8th)

In the 5th/6th place match, France faced Ireland. The Irish team created a chance from the start but were not efficient enough to put one in early in the game. They were pressing high and France was struggling to go out of their defence. In the 7th minute, the French defender saved on the line on a scramble from a penalty corner. At the end of the first half, Ireland was awarded 5 penalty corners but couldn’t convert them and take the lead before half time.

In the second half, Ireland kept pushing forward but France was defending well. Eventually, in the 39th minute, Ireland opened the score via Carey. Two minutes later, Foley doubled the score for her team from a penalty corner. Later in the third quarter, the Irish captain added one for her team to make it 3-0 and settle a comfortable win against France. Ten minutes before the end of the game, Foley scored her second. With 8 minutes left on the clock, Lhopital scored a consolation goal for the French team. Carey scored her second of the morning with 11 seconds left on the clock to make it 5-1 for Ireland. They finished 7th and France 8th. Both teams will, unfortunately, relegate along with Belarus who have finished 9th. 

 Match 21: Russia v England 2-2 3-2 S/O (5th/6th) 

Russia and England played out a 2-2 draw and it took a shoot out to separate the teams.

Incredible overhead deflection from Walker to put England ahead in the 8th minute via a brilliant overhead rebound shot from a penalty corner from Walker. The score remained 0-1 until the second half.

Russia equalised, again a rebound shot from a corner from Eroshina in the 33rd minute. Russia was on the assent in the 3rd quarter, pressing the English defence led by Eroshina. A turnover ball in the midfield led to a beautiful pass from right to left from Malzer, but Walker who was sitting high in the Russian’s half just couldn’t get on the end of it. The score remained 1-1. Park put England ahead in the 48th minute from Park. A series of passes on the right side led to Park pouncing on a loose ball in the circle. Some miscommunication in the England circle seems to have led to Yushkova finding herself behind the England keeper and only had to pop the ball into the goal. Russia pressed hard to win the game in normal time, but some brave defending from England in the dying minutes brought the game to a shoot out.

Russia won the shoot out 3-2 and finish 5th, with England 6th and both will be at the EuroHockey Championship in 2022.

Final Ranking: 

  1. Spain (Champions)
    2. The Netherlands
    3. Germany
    4. Belgium
    5. Russia
    6. England
    7. Ireland (Relegated to Championship II)
    8. France (Relegated to Championship II)
    9. Belarus (Relegated to Championship II)

Individual Awards: 

Top Scorer: Yibbi Jansen (The Netherlands)

Best Goalkeeper: Lucie Ehrmann (France)

Best Player: Julia Strappato (Spain)

All games are available to watch back on  www.eurohockeytv.org 

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Photographs: World Sport Pics (c)