England men to contest EuroHockey bronze

George Pinner is dejected after England lose to Belgium in their EuroHockey Semi-Final 450x300

Thomas Briels 20 (FG)
Jerome Truyens 44 (FG)
Florent van Aubel 52 (FG)


England left everything out on the pitch tonight, but it just wasn't enough as they came up against a Belgian side in superb form. With one goal before half-time and two in the second, the host side took the victory 3-0 and will play Germany in the EuroHockey Final on Sunday. England will battle it out against the Netherlands for the bronze medal.

The game was played at an incredible tempo as both sides pushed hard early on for a break through. Belgium have been the in-form team of 2013, despite their ranking of number 9 in the world, and they showed why as their attacking play threatened England at every opportunity. The hosts were rewarded for their smart play in the 20th minute when a great ball in from Florent van Aubel was expertly deflected past George Pinner by a diving Thomas Briels to make it 1-0. The remainder of the half continued to entertain the packed Belgium crowd as both sides played world class hockey. It was Belgium however, who went in to the break with the advantage.

In the second half, Belgium pushed England back on to the defensive foot early on and it remained that way for much of the 35 minutes. They added two more goals to their score line; Jerome Truyens with the first, a free shot in the circle in the 44th minute and then Florent van Aubel made it 3-0 just 8 minutes later. There were half chances for David Condon, Barry Middleton and Tom Carson, but England couldn’t convert. At three goals down it proved impossible for England to get back into the game and Belgium booked their place in the final.

The result means that England will now face the Netherlands in the bronze medal match at 12:30 on Sunday after they were beaten 5-3 by Germany earlier in evening.

The match marked Dan Fox’s 50th appearance for England.

Speaking after the game England Head Coach Bobby Crutchley said, "I think it was a reality check for us tonight, Belgium played really well and deserved the victory to take them to the final. They scored at key times when it was still tight and they managed to take the game away from us. As a team we are some distance away from getting the results that Belgium have had recently, beating the likes of Germany and Australia."

Adding his thoughts on the Netherlands bronze medal match on Sunday, Crutchley added, "I'm really proud of the boys to get into the top four, I said before the tournament that was our primary objective and we've achieved that. We've played the Netherlands a lot recently and we've just come out on the wrong side of those games, but they have been really close battles. It will be great to play them again on Sunday for a medal."

Speaking after the game England Captain Barry Middleton reflected on England's performance and overall position in world hockey, "Belgium played really well tonight and deserve to be in the final on Sunday. It was an unbelievable atmosphere to play in. I think if you look at their squad they have been together for a number of years now and are playing their best hockey with some really experienced and talented guys.”

“Our squad now compared to what it was a year ago is so different, we've gone from averaging around 150-200 combined caps to somewhere more like 50. It's a big change for us and without Ashley Jackson, Mark Gleghorne and Harry Martin we’re missing some key players. I know that this squad has a lot more to give and in a couple of years I'm confident we can match where Belgium are playing at the moment, but we need to give ourselves that time. Making the top four here is a really good achievement."

Click here to read the full match report.

England’s men have a rest day tomorrow before their bronze medal match against the Netherlands on Sunday at 12:30 (UK time).

Meanwhile, England’s women will go for gold tomorrow as they take on Germany in the 2013 EuroHockey Final at 3:00pm (UK time). This match will be shown live on the BBC Red Button and online.

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