Dutch disappointment for England

England’s European Championship semi final ended in disappointment as the Netherlands, the reigning champions, ran out 2-0 winners in Monchengladbach on Thursday evening.  It was a result that Head Coach Danny Kerry admitted was “bitterly disappointing”. 
The side will now play Spain for the bronze medal at 11:00am BST on Saturday following Spain's 2-1 defeat to Germany.

Helen Richardson comes under pressure from the Netherlands at the 2011 EuroHockey Nations Championships

England, who came through the pool phase with maximum points, found themselves defending for long periods of the match and struggled to create meaningful attacking opportunities.  With just over ten minutes gone, from the game’s first penalty corner, Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel latched onto a rebound from Maartje Paumen’s flick and fired the Netherlands into the lead. 

Investec graphicAs they repelled a number of efforts, there remained hope for England’s women that one goal would be enough to level things but Kim Lammers extinguished that hope ten minutes from time, adding a telling close range deflection to a smashed pass towards goal by Marilyn Agliotti.  The result puts the Dutch into the final and seals their qualification for the London 2012 Olympic Games.  For the fourth consecutive European Championships, England will contest the bronze medal playoff on Saturday.

Afterwards, Danny Kerry said, “The Dutch played well today and we were outcompeted.  I thought we turned the ball over too much.”

England captain Kate Walsh added, “We were too tentative on the ball and it coming back at us.  The Dutch tackled back very effectively and our players weren’t ready, which is disappointing.”

Hear what Kate's central defensive teammate Crista Cullen had to say after the match on audioboo here.

Back to Hockey chatsEngland Hockey is set to launch Back to Hockey, a programme for women making hockey fun and helping women build fitness and friendship.  If someone you know would be interested in picking up a hockey stick again then why not direct them to www.englandhockey.co.uk/backtohockey.

Read the full match report here.

Visit the BBC Sport website's hockey coverage here.

Find out more about Investec's support of the England Hockey women here.

See highlights of all the tournament matches at www.fieldhockeytv.com.

Visit the official EuroHockey Nations Championships website here.

Visit the European Hockey Federation website here.