Europe's best set to do battle at the Unibet EuroHockey Championships

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The stage is set as the finest players Europe has to offer descend on London to compete in the Unibet EuroHockey Championships at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

The top eight men’s and top eight women’s teams will take to the field from 21-30 August to see who is crowned the best team in Europe, with reigning men’s champions Germany aiming to add to their record haul of eight titles and their female counterparts also hoping to defend the title they won in 2013. It promises to be a spectacular festival of hockey.

The tournament will be the biggest standalone hockey event the country has ever hosted. The BBC will be televising the matches for England, Ireland and Scotland live on the Red Button and online via the BBC Sport website.
Tournament information can be found on the event website.  Tickets are still available, but one England session has sold out and others are close to sell-out, including both Finals.

Germany have won the most European titles in the men’s competition, scooping the first of their eight titles in the inaugural event in 1971. Their last title was the 2013 competition where they defeated hosts Belgium in the final. The reigning champions have fond memories of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park; it was here they picked up an Olympic gold medal in 2012.

Captain Tobias Hauke:
“It’s always special to come to a tournament as defending champions; we are hoping to win it for a third time in a row. We have Belgium first up which will be tough but we are looking forward to it. It’s really fantastic to come back to Olympic Park. We did well last time we were here, so we hope to repeat that success again.” 

In the women’s competition it is the Netherlands who have won the most titles, taking home the gold on eight occasions. They had to settle for bronze in 2013, however as they were defeated by England in the semi finals. England then went on to lose the final to Germany on shootout after an entertaining 4-4 draw in normal time.

Janne Muller-Wieland:

“We are excited to have the chance to defend the title. The team has changed quite a lot but we will try to progress and hopefully we will be successful. We have lost some players to injury but we are confident. Sometimes that sort of adversity can make you stronger which we hope is the case.”   

Both England sides will come into the tournament with high hopes. After securing qualification for the Rio Olympics as Great Britain just months ago, Danny Kerry’s team now turn their attention to a tournament in front of a home crowd. The England women suffered heartbreak last time out, finishing second to the Germans after a dramatic shootout. However, with the side in good form and with the home crowd behind them, they will hope to go one better and pick up the gold.

Kate Richardson-Walsh, England Captain:

“Everyone is feeling really positive and excited to be able to come here and play in front of a home crowd. It’s not often that happens and I think it will be brilliant. European hockey is so strong. The tournament will be of a really high standard, I think it’s just a case of consistency and who can put it on the line when it matters.”

England’s men finished in the place no one wants to finish in the 2013 tournament, with the Netherlands’ Jeroen Hertzberger scoring and condemning them to fourth place. With the likes of Ashley Jackson, Barry Middleton and Iain Lewers in scintillating form, they will be aiming to get on the podium just like they did in 2009 when they won the gold medal.

Barry Middleton, England Captain:

“I’m really excited for the whole tournament – seeing the stadium as it is and with a big crowd behind us it will be great. The Euros are always fun and we just want to get out there and show everyone how good we are.  This is one of the hardest competitions to win. There are a lot of great teams out there and it’s going to be tough for everyone.”

The tournament is to be held at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The unique £30 million venue has two of the best hockey pitches in the country as well as four indoor and six outdoor tennis courts and hosts a range of community, club and elite events. As the new home of English Hockey, the Unibet EuroHockey Championships is the first of a number of major events England Hockey will host at the venue with the Women’s Champions Trophy Event in 2016, the Men’s World League Semi-Final in 2017 and the Women’s Hockey World Cup in 2018.