England women win European bronze

Two second half goals from Reading midfielder Helen Richardson helped England’s women to a fourth consecutive European bronze medal as patience paid off against Spain at the EuroHockey Nations Championships in Monchengladbach.

England women and Spain walk out ahead of the EuroHockey Nations Championships bronze medal match

Helen RichardsonHaving gone behind against the run of play to a scrambled goal from Spanish captain Silvia Munoz, England responded superbly with Reading’s Alex Danson setting up Richardson for the equaliser with just under 20 minutes remaining.  Danson herself had further efforts cleared, including one off the goal line, as England piled on the pressure. 

If Richardson’s first had been relatively straightforward, a back post diversion, her second three minutes from time was spectacular.  Again set up by Danson, the 29 year old World All Star entered the Spanish circle before unleashing a rising reverse stick shot that the Spanish goalkeeper could only help into the top corner.

Helen Richardson scores a goal for England against Spain at the 2011 EuroHockey Nations Championships

Speaking afterwards, Head Coach Danny Kerry was pleased with how his side had played the waiting game.  “It’s very difficult to break down a team that is not interested in playing hockey,” he said.  “We were patient though, we stuck to our game plan and we came through it.  In the grand scheme of things we might be disappointed with bronze because we came here looking to win gold but we should remember that in competitive tournaments we have only lost twice so far this year.”

Investec graphicCaptain Kate Walsh, who picks up her fifth European bronze medal, said: “We’re happy to be on the podium again and win a medal.  We came here to push our momentum push to get into the final.  It didn’t happen but now we go forward as Great Britain, getting stronger.”

Following the morning’s matches, Ireland secured their place among European hockey’s elite for 2013 with a 4-1 win over Italy, who were relegated to the second tier.  Belgium too will play in the 2013 Championship after their 3-1 victory over Azerbaijan, who are also relegated.

The Netherlands and Germany play off for the gold medal in the final at 14:00 BST.

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.

Facebook logoEngland’s men will hope to win their bronze medal contest against Belgium on Saturday following semi final defeat to Germany on Friday night.  The match gets underway at 12:00 BST and is live on the BBC Sport website and BBC red button (excluding Freeview).

Twitter logoStay in touch with us, give us your thoughts on the tournament and hockey's presentation on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/englandhockey or on Twitter @EnglandHockey