England lose European semi final

In difficult circumstances, England’s men, defending their European title, went down 3-0 to Olympic Champions and hosts Germany in their EuroHockey Nations Championships semi final.  The result flattered the hosts at the end of a match that was spoilt by a lengthy delay.

Nick Catlin in action against Germany on the flooded pitch at the 2011 EuroHockey Nations Championships

In all, the game lasted two hours and 40 minutes after rain flooded the pitch in Monchengladbach, making it unplayable for more than an hour in the second half.  It was the second time in a year that a crucial match in a major tournament at the venue was spoilt after England’s Champions Trophy final against Australia last August suffered a similar delay after heavy rain.

Earlier, following an entertaining opening spell, Phillipp Zeller had given the Germans the lead with a flick across goal that went in off the pad of Cannock goalkeeper James Fair. England’s response was impressive as almost immediately Wimbledon’s Rob Moore and Beeston’s Ali Wilson came within inches of an equaliser, diving in to meet a cross from the left.

Despite their efforts, England went in 1-0 down at the break but returned confidently for the second half to win an early penalty corner.  But Loughborough Students’ Nick Catlin (above) saw his effort saved by Max Weinhold in the German goal.  With the rain coming down, a German penalty corner stuck in the turf and minutes later umpire Nathan Stagno ordered the teams off the pitch.

A volunteer brushes water off the flooded pitch in Monchengladbach at the 2011 EuroHockey Nations Championships

Following a delay of more than an hour the match restarted with both sides creating chances that were kept out by the goalkeepers.  England saw two penalty corners fizz wide before Germany’s sucker punch; a goal from Oskar Deecke.  The goal all but killed off England’s hopes but Oliver Korn made sure with a goal on the break in the final two minutes.

Afterwards Head Coach Jason Lee said, “I thought we played really well tonight.  The Germans are saying it was their defence that one them the game and I certainly don’t think 3-0 if a fair reflection of the match.  With the crowd very vocally backing them [Germany] I thought some 50:50 decisions didn’t go our way and we’re hearing there was a mix up with the video referral. 

“It’s a night to chalk up to experience.  I really hope we get that same sort of support from the crowds next year at London 2012.”

Hear Barry Middleton's post-match interview on AudioBoo here.

Read the full match report in the International Results Section.

Visit the official tournament website here.

Visit the European Hockey Federation website here.

Visit the BBC's hockey page here.

See highlights of all the matches at the EuroHockey Nations Championships at www.fieldhockeytv.com