ENGLAND DENIED A SPOT IN THE SEMI-FINALS, FOR THE FIRST TIME IN EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY
Scotland defeated by phenomenal Dutch at EuroHockey Championships
Knowing only a victory would see them qualify in the top four, England could only draw 1-1 with Belgium in their final group game, meaning they finished third in their group and will enter Pool C knowing they have to finish top of that to qualify for the 2022 Women’s Hockey World Cup.
They will be joined by Scotland, who suffered a heavy 10-0 defeat at the hands of The Netherlands to finish fourth in their pool.
With plenty riding on the game for both England and Belgium, their clash was a tight and cagey affair for much of it. Ambre Ballenghien fashioned the first chance of the game in the fourth minute, flashing a shot wide, before Maddie Hinch had to race off her line to thwart Abi Raye in a one-on-one situation early in the second half.
Heading into the final quarter, England won the game’s first corner but Giselle Ansley’s effort was blocked on the line. There was nothing anyone could do to stop her next effort though as she gave England the lead with two minutes remaining, seemingly securing their place in the semi-finals.
But less than a minute later Belgium won two corners of their own, with Vanden Borre scoring to send her side through to the semi-finals and also booking their place at the 2022 World Cup.
With The Netherlands and Spain (co-hosts of next year’s tournament) also securing their places in the semi-finals, England can still reach the event by finishing fifth overall. That means they will have to beat Ireland and Scotland when they play them at 10:30 on Friday 11 June and 17:45 on Saturday 12 June respectively.
Having agonisingly lost their second game against Ireland two days before, Scotland went into their game against The Netherlands hoping to pull off a huge upset against hosts and world number one ranked side The Netherlands. But by the end of the first quarter, they found themselves 3-0 down courtesy of a double from Eva de Goede and another strike from Marloes Keetels.
They held firm in the second quarter though, conceding no more goals, but the Dutch upped the tempo once again in the third quarter and added four more goals through Frederique Matla, Keetels, Maria Verschoor and Felice Albers. Verschoor then struck twice more in the final quarter to complete her hat-trick and Matla added a penalty stroke to take the Dutch into double figures.