England U18 Boys narrowly miss out on Bronze Medal

England U18 Boys Team Photo

England (0) 2
Tom Poustie 48 (F)
James Albery 57 (PS)

Netherlands (1) 3
Robin Den Boer 14 (F)
Jasper Luijkx 51 (F)
Boris Burkhardt 69 (F)

A last-minute goal from the Netherlands saw them snatch the Bronze medal away from England Under-18s as their third/fourth play-off match ended 2-3 at the EuroHockey Youth Championships in Vienna on Sunday.

Trailing at half time, England had battled back bravely to level the match despite intense 40 degree heat, but conceded a late goal to dash their hopes of a medal.

Both teams took their time getting up to speed, perhaps still jaded from semi-final defeats on Saturday, but the first goal came from a turnover of possession in England’s half. The Dutch counter attacked quickly and had a three v two overlap, and used the extra player to good effect to create a tap in for Robin Den Boer at the far post.

England responded immediately and won a penalty corner, but the shot from Ruiz was saved.

The Dutch had a penalty corner of their own on 25 minutes after a defensive lapse, and a good save from Dan Darby set up a counter attack from which England nearly scored.

A Dutch foot made contact with the ball in the circle which earned England a penalty corner, but as the ball was quickly returned to the injector he missed the ball and the chance went begging.

At the start of the second half the Dutch nearly extended their lead, but for a last ditch tackle from Elliot Smith. England created their best chance of the game so far when full-back Liam Sanford carried the ball forward into the Dutch circle, but his rising shot narrowly missed the top corner of the goal.

England won a penalty corner on 43 minutes when a good receive under pressure led to a shot from James Gall being blocked, but the resulting penalty corner was deflected wide of the goal.

England finally got back on level terms on the 48th minute when a free hit outside the circle was moved wide, and the cross by James Gall was met with a diving deflection from Tom Poustie who scored in the bottom corner. But the Netherlands retook the lead three minutes later with Jasper Luijkx scoring from open play.

A breakaway by James Albery found Oliver Nail at the top of the circle, who carried the ball strongly and tried to round the goalkeeper, but he was taken out by the keeper and a penalty stroke was awarded which James Albery converted on 57 minutes to level the game again.

The Dutch won a corner on the 62nd minute which was dealt with comfortably by Ellis-Phillips with a good clearing save. But with a minute and a half to go the Netherlands built up down the left hand side and overloaded the baseline. They then slipped the ball back across the face of goal for Boris Burkhardt to score.

England’s Head Coach Jody Paul said afterwards: “I’m very proud of the way the team battled until the end in very difficult conditions. The team were completely committed to the cause and we’re obviously bitterly disappointed to lose in such fashion.

“For some of these players this will be their last opportunity to play in this age group, and through the course of the programme they have shown a willingness to learn and improve and to challenge themselves, and are much better players for it.”

Full match details available at www.eurohockey.org