England Women beat Scotland to reach Semifinal

Maddie Hinch EuroHockey Championships England Scotland
England’s women have booked themselves a place in the EuroHockey Semi-Finals with a 2-1 victory over Scotland in their final Pool B match. It wasn’t the prettiest of performances, but the three points were secured thanks to goals either side of half-time from Hannah Macleod and Sam Quek. In the other Pool B match Germany maintained their 100% record in the tournament by beating Spain 2-0, which means that England have finished second.

Before the game Holcombe’s Laura Unsworth received flowers from England Hockey’s Performance Director, Danny Kerry, for achieving her 100th combined international cap.

The first half was a cagey affair and Scotland certainly created the better of the chances, however it was Hannah Macleod and England who registered on the scoreboard first. With just a minute to go before the break, Macleod got herself into a good position in front of goal and Reading’s Susie Gilbert hit a pin-point pass across the circle for Macleod to slot home past Amy Gibson in Scotland’s goal to take a 1-0 lead into the break.

Scotland came out fighting in the second half, giving their all to try and take something from the match, and they were duly rewarded in the 49th minute when Nikki Kidd scored from a penalty corner. The equaliser seemed to spur England into action and it took them just four minutes to get their lead back. This time it was a first senior international goal for Reading’s Sam Quek as she guided the ball home through Scottish defenders to make it 2-1.

With the victory secured England can look forward to semi-final on Thursday. Their opponents will be confirmed by the end of the day; however it is likely to be Holland if the remaining fixtures go by the form books.

Speaking after the game, England Head Coach, Jason Lee said, "I feel sorry for Scotland, I thought they were unlucky not to get anything out of the game today; they certainly had better chances than us. I think against Germany we had a poor result but played well and then today we were poor, but managed to take the three points and book ourselves a place in the semi-finals. We've got a sickness bug running through the camp with nearly all the girls suffering from it, so energy levels were very low today and we just had to do what we could to get through the game. Although as I say I do think Scotland played very well and I don't want to take anything away from them, I have no doubt they will be strong contenders in their remaining matches."

Looking ahead to the semi-finals on Thursday, Lee added, "We'll start again really, we've had an up and down time in the group stages, but this is the exciting part of the tournament now. I'm optimistic we can bring it together for the final two games and physically I'm sure we'll be in better shape by Thursday. If we do end up playing Holland, which at the moment would seem likely, it's great to have a chance in an environment like this to do something special, so it's exciting for us."

Adding her thoughts on the likely opposition of Belgium or the Netherlands, England forward Alex Danson said, "We never underestimate any of our opponents. Both Holland and Belgium are very skilful and threatening at corners. No matter who we play, we have a lot of faith and confidence in each other, and we just hope this might be the time we can make that final."

Commenting on the support they've been receiving from back home, Danson added, "It's been fantastic. We've noticed such a huge amount of support out here from everyone back in England, both on social media and people watching on the BBC. As a team we just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone, it really does make a difference."

Click here to read the full match report.

England’s semi-final will be on Thursday evening at either 17:00 or 19:30 (UK time). Watch it live on the BBC Red Button and Eurosport.

Meanwhile England’s men are in action tomorrow at 10:30 (UK time) against Ireland. Watch it live on the BBC Red Button and Eurosport.