Women’s TriFinance EuroHockey Championships
Netherlands 1 (E De Goede) England 1 (own goal), England win 3-2 on penalties
England reached their first TriFinance EuroHockey Championship final since 1991 as they won a dramatic shoot-out in Boom, defeating Olympic champions the Netherlands.
Alex Danson and Maddie Hinch were the heroines in the finale, the former scoring twice while the goalkeeper made four great saves and stood tall for a fifth to deny Roos Drost, sparking her side’s celebrations.
It came after normal time ended 1-1. The first half was a low-key affair with the Netherlands unable to capitalise on their eight penalty corners while England also let two slip through their fingers.
The latter took the lead in fortuitous fashion when Willemijn Bos turned a right wing cross into her own goal under pressure from Lily Owsley.
It heightened the tension and the Dutch pushed forward with greater vigour. And they got back on terms in wonderful fashion as Kelly Jonker tore down the left wing before pulling the ball back. Kim Lammers got a touch into the path of Eva de Goede who unleashed a truly brilliant first time backhand shot into the top of the goal.
Neither side was able to find a winner in normal time with both sides serving suspensions late on. And so, for the second semi-final in a row, a shoot-out was required to decide the finalist.
The shoot-out swung both ways with England having initial momentum before Drost and Bos scored to pile the pressure on Helen Richardson. She scored the final penalty of the initial shoot-out, bringing the tie to sudden death. There, Danson scored in the seventh round while Hinch kept out Drost to end the Dutch reign as European champions.
For England’s Kate Walsh and Helen Richardson, it means they will finally improve on a bronze medal having won five of that shade in this competition.
Germany 2 (E Hoffmann, M Mavers) Belgium 2 (J Boon, C De Vos), Germany win 2-0 on penalties
Germany produced an incredible late fightback to grab what looked an unlikely women’s TriFinance EuroHockey Championship final berth with two minutes left.
Marie Mavers scored a late penalty corner goal, though, to send the game to penalties and her side duly held their nerve in the shoot-out to reach their fifth successive European final.
It was a sensational spectacle of free-flowing hockey throughout, one in which Germany hit the front after 18 minutes when Hannah Kruger found a great line for Eileen Hoffmann to tip in.
Belgium had plenty of tricks up their sleeve though and were level just before half-time when Jill Boon got on the end of a top class cross.
And her side hit the front in stellar fashion when Anne-Sophie De Scheemaekere turned over possession on the 22. The ball was quickly worked from left to right to Judith Vandermeiren who picked out Charlotte De Vos to apply the perfect connection and make it 2-1.
Her side had plenty of chances to extend the lead with Alix Gerniers through one-on-one while Emilie Sinia’s cross just bounced away from Boon due to Tonja Fabig’s top intervention.
Germany, though, conjured the first penalty corner of the game in the 69th minute and came up the perfect move to elude the Belgian defence with Mavers all alone on the right post to slide the ball in.
It deflated the hosts and Germany showed the greater confidence in the penalty shoot-out. Maike Stockel and Julia Muller scored their efforts while Kim Platten saved two Belgian efforts and De Scheemaekere hit the outside of the post with another effort.
And when Platten saved for a third time in the fourth round of the shoot-out – a brilliant triple save from Anouk Raes – Germany were over the line and into the European final.