England women book place in 2013 EuroHockey Final

England women celebrate their place in the 2013 EuroHockey Championship Final after beating the Dutch in a penalty shoot out 450x300

Eva de Goede 52 (FG)      

OG 40

England win 2-3 on penalty shoot-out, full details attached below.

It’s been 22 years in the waiting, but England’s women tonight earned themselves a place in the 2013 EuroHockey Championship Final thanks to a historic win over the Netherlands.

At full-time there was nothing to separate the two sides as the game finished in a 1-1 draw. An own goal from the Dutch and a piece of individual magic from Eva de Goede ensured the game would be decided by a penalty shoot-out. Holcombe’s Maddie Hinch was world class in England’s goal, saving four out of six Dutch efforts and the Reading duo of Helen Richardson and Alex Danson (2) both contributed to England’s tally to take the shoot-out 3-2.

It had taken another penalty shoot-out, earlier in the night, for Germany to beat Belgium and seal their place in the final which takes place at 15:00 (UK time) on Saturday afternoon.

Speaking after the game, England Head Coach Jason Lee said, “I think the girls played brilliantly. I know we’ve had an up and down tournament, but I felt confident that they had some really strong performances in them and I think we showed that tonight. I’ve experienced something with these girls since I’ve been in charge, which I’ve been in awe of – they have a fantastic level of ability and the work ethic they have as a team is brilliant. Coming into this game I felt really excited to be with this group in a semi-final against Holland because I know we could do something special. I also think we’re in a great place to go and take the title now as well.”

Speaking about reaching the EuroHockey Final and getting her hands on a medal that isn’t bronze, Captain Kate Walsh added, “I thought I’d jinxed myself by saying I don’t want any more bronzes and that maybe we could end up fourth! But I’m just so proud of the whole squad and the effort we put into that game. The Dutch are a fantastic side and we had to defend very strongly at times, especially with their penalty corners, but we spend hours and hours working on them, analysing every part and making sure we get it right, and it paid off for us tonight.”

Speaking about facing Germany in the final, Surbiton’s Hollie Webb added, “I think we go into the final believing we can win it. We only just lost to them [Germany] in the week and we are confident we can turn that around. With the players we’ve got we know we have the ability and the belief to put it to them and win.”

Speaking about Maddie Hinch’s performance, Lee added, “Madddie’s super cool! I think she looked completely in control tonight. We all watched her walk from the half-way line and we just knew that she had that belief, and I know we all had that confidence in her. She was player of tournament at the Investec World League Semi Final and I think she’s just continued to grow from there.”

The game itself was not short of drama. The world number one side showed their form throughout the first 35 minutes and enjoyed the majority of possession, threatening England's defence at every opportunity. Despite winning six penalty corners inside the first 15 minutes, the Dutch were not able to register on the scoreboard once, proving that this has not been a tournament to convert from the top of the circle. As the attacks came, Kate Walsh had her line-up well organised, keeping Holland at bay and as the sides went in for the break there was nothing to separate them at 0-0.

In the second half England matched the Netherlands across the park; they worked the ball around well and threatened the Dutch defence almost immediately. In the 40th minute Sally Walton played the ball into the danger area and there was little Joyce Sombroek in the Netherlands' goal could do as she watched the deflection roll in off Kitty van Male’s stick to make it 1-0. England’s lead didn't last however, the Netherlands gradually found their feet again and in the 52nd minute Eva do Goede scored one of the goals of the tournament with a fantastic reverse stick strike from the top of the circle to pull the scores back level at 1-1.

With just five minutes to go England lost a rock in their defence as Sally Walton was stretchered off with what looked to be a serious injury to her right ankle. Walton was taken to hospital and is reported to have torn ligaments in her ankle.

The clock ran down and after 70 minutes there was nothing to separate the two sides at 1-1. Playing under FIH tournament rules - due to this being a World Cup qualification event - the game went straight to a penalty shoot out.

After the first five were taken it was 2-2, Danson and Richardson were both on target for England and Maddie Hinch in England’s goal was outstanding, saving three from five attempts. After that it went to sudden death. Richardson stepped up again and this time Sombroek saved, but moments later Hinch matched her opposite number, saving as well. It was down to Danson and Hinch. First up, Danson, who made no mistake again as her trademark reverse stick shot flew past Sombroek to give England the advantage. Next up Hinch, who made yet another brilliant save to seal the victory and book her side a place in their first European final since 1991.

Click here to read the full match report.

The TriFinance EuroHockey Final will take place between England and Germany on Saturday at 15:00 (UK time). It will be shown live on BBC online and Eurosport UK.

For more information about the TriFinance EuroHockey Championships please visit the official website www.trifinanceeurohockey2013.be