The Netherlands produced the biggest semi-final win in the women’s Belfius EuroHockey Championships as they smashed England with a devastating display in Antwerp. Nike Lorenz’s last minute corner goal kept alive Germany’s chances of winning a third women’s title as they beat Spain 3-2. Anna O’Flanagan grabbed a winning goal for Ireland with just over a minute to go to see the Green Army all but safe. Russia landed a big blow over their eastern European rivals Belarus.
ENGLAND – NETHERLANDS 0-8
A flawless first half saw the Dutch lead 3-0 and they sped away into the distance in the second half with five more goals as they continue to grow into the competition in pursuit of a 10th title.
Laurien Leurink set the ball rolling in the 12th minute from a corner into a semi-guarded goal as Maddie Hinch’s save was not cleared by her defence, leaving her to chase Lidewij Welten who passed the ball around her for 1-0.
Welten doubled the lead with an awesome power-shot on her backhand in the 20th minute, turning the defenders inside and out before shooting home.
Caia van Maasakker completed the first half scoring with a high drag-flick down the goalkeeper’s glove side, getting one by her former club mate at SCHC.
Marloes Keetels added to the lead in the third quarter when Leurink found her available on the left of the circle. Xan de Waard’s corner deflection accounted for the fifth and a great dummy from Frederique Matla opened the door for van Maasakker to score her second of the day.
Matla then set up Welten for a magnificent seventh before Leurink slapped in the last of the day off the inside of the post.
Goals: 12′ Laurien Leurink (PC) 0-1, 20′ Lidweij Welten (FG) 0-2, 28′ Caia van Maasakker (PC) 0-3, 35′ Marloes Keetels (FG) 0-4, 43′ Xan de Waard (PC) 0-5, 50′ Caia van Maasakker (PC) 0-6, 51′ Lidewij Welten (PC) 0-7, 55′ Laurien Leurink (FG) 0-8
SPAIN – GERMANY 2-3
The Spaniards led early on via Maria Lopez before falling behind 2-1 to Cecile Pieper and Hannah Gablac goals. Marta Segu’s wonder strike equalised before Lorenz had the final say, setting up a sixth European final meeting between the teams.
It was a tie that Spain had the best of in the first quarter but slowly but surely Germany began to work their way back into the contest. Maria Tost raided down the right as far as Julia Sonntag who got an important block in while Maria Ruiz – in her 150th international – did the same at the far end. Gigi Oliva was in glorious form throughout, picking passes and making the vital interceptions and tackles.
Lopez broke the deadlock in the 14th minute with an awesome reverse-stick shot, following up after her run through the middle tumbled off Julia Pons’ stick and back into her path.
Germany were tetchy and were reduced to nine players at one stage for two green cards. But the likes of Lorenz and Anne Schroder started getting more onto the ball to give Spain more to think about and they were level in the 22nd minute.
Schroder’s run created it , beating a path to the left baseline and her pass squirmed between a couple of sticks to Cecile Pieper to finish off.
And the Germans moved in front from their second penalty corner early in the second half. The ball was initially moved slightly to the left but the shot was still charged down; Pieper poked it goalwards and it bounced to Hannah Gablac at the back post for the 2-1 finish.
The fourth quarter brought the response from Spain who started to apply the pressure once again, pinning Germany back in their area, hunting in packs. One corner went awry but they were level in the 52nd minute when Marta Segu scored one of the goals of the tournament.
She pounced on some slow outletting, tackling 25 metres out before drifting left and unleashing a master-blaster to the top of the net.
But Germany finished the stronger with Gablac shooting across the face of goal. And, on video review, they won a penalty corner with 54 seconds showing on the clock. Lorenz kept her cool to drag the ball into the bottom corner and win it 3-2.
Goals: 14′ Maria Lopez (FG) 1-0, 22′ Cecile Pieper (FG) 1-1, 33′ Hannah Galbac (PC) 1-2, 52′ Marta Segu (FG) 2-2, 60′ Nike Lorenz (PC) 2-3
BELGIUM – IRELAND 1-2
Anna O’Flanagan grabbed a winning goal for Ireland with just over a minute to go to see the Green Army all but safe in the women’s Belfius EuroHockey Championships.
They led early on via Beth Barr’s second goal of the tournament before the Belgian hosts equalised in the second half. But Ireland kept fight and now move up to six points with Belgium on three and needing a result in their final match of the tournament on Sunday.
“Sometimes you score and you don’t even remember how it happens. It just fell to me and I got a nice touch to it!” O’Flanagan said of the goal.
Goals: 11′ Beth Barr (PC) 0-1, 44′ Ambre Ballenghien (FG) 1-1, 59′ Anna O’Flanagan (FG) 1-2
RUSSIA – BELARUS 5-0
Russia landed a big blow over their eastern European rivals Belarus to give themselves a fighting chance of staying in the top tier on Sunday morning.
Their penalty corner machine provided most of the joy as Bogdana Sadovaia nailed two drag-flicks in the first half and Kseniia Koroleva added another for 3-0. Kristina Shimilina and Iuliia Cheplygina completed the rout.
Goals: 24′ Bogdana Sadovaia (PC) 1-0, 28′ Bogdana Sadovaia (PC) 2-0, 39′ Kseniia Koroleva (PC) 3-0, 50′ Kristina Shimilina (FG) 4-0, 52′ Iuliia Cheplygina (FG) 5-0
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