Dominant England beat Germany

Alex Danson against Germany Euros 480 x 290

England 4 (2)
Sophie Bray 2 (FG)
Alex Danson 3, 44, 53 (FG, PC, PC)

Germany 1 (0)
Kristina Hillmann 39 (FG)

A hat-trick from Alex Danson and another from Sophie Bray handed England top spot in the group and a semi-final clash with Spain after Danny Kerry’s side put four past Germany for a famous win. Both Danson and Bray opened their accounts for the tournament in a blistering opening quarter and although Kristina Hillmann pulled one back, England were not to be denied.

The hosts got off to a dream start with a goal from their first meaningful attack. Susannah Townsend’s cross found Hannah Macleod in the circle. The No6 showed superb composure to find space before firing the ball across for Sophie Bray to deflect in her first goal of the tournament. It was 2-0 a minute later. Bray turned provider this time, crossing for Danson to slam home from close range.

England’s pace going forward was causing Germany all kinds of problems. Bray and Owsley linked up well and the latter’s cross almost picked out a diving Sam Quek as Danny Kerry’s side searched for the third goal.

Germany’s first threat took 12 minutes to arrive. Charlotte Stapenhorst showed lovely skills to create space for a shot but Maddie Hinch was equal to the task and made the save. In the last minute of the quarter Danson again slipped away from her marker but Macleod couldn’t quite get the touch to her cross and it stayed 2-0 at the break.

In the opening moments of the second quarter Germany won a penalty corner. Luisa Steindor took the shot but it went wide of the post. At the other end Danson bulldozed her way into the circle and stung Yvonne Frank’s pads with a rasping drive. Frank had to be on her guard again in the seventh minute of the half when Bray weaved her way through the defence and smashed a backhand shot at goal that the goalkeeper had to deal with. As Germany continued to struggle to get a foothold in the contest Danson had a great chance to make it 3-0. Once again Frank excelled, making a fine save and keeping her side in the contest at half time.

Germany rallied in the third quarter and Laura Unsworth was called upon to clear off the line. Then there was a moment of high drama. Kristina Hillmann’s deft touch beat Hinch to pull one back. It went to a video referral and with no advice possible the goal was given. On 44 minutes England won a penalty corner and it paid dividends. The shot from Unsworth was saved by Frank but Danson was alive to the situation and lifted the ball in for her second and England’s third. Danny Kerry’s side ended the third quarter down to ten players after a yellow card for Nicola White, but they were in the ascendancy despite the numerical disadvantage.

The fourth quarter proved to be a tense fifteen minutes. Hinch was called upon to clear under pressure and Germany threw everything forwards. The England No1 saved well again from Anne Schröder and then at the other end Bray won England a penalty corner. Although the first strike was saved, Unsworth played it back in and Danson was there again to complete her hat-trick and grab her 50th goal for England. Germany won a late penalty corner but there was to be no more drama and once again Hinch made the save. England’s lead was clear at the full time whistle.

England’s next match is the semi-final against Spain on 28 August at 19:30 live on the BBC Red Button and the BBC Sport Website

Quotes – Lily Owsley

“These kinds of tournaments are all about momentum and three wins out of three keeps that going. It didn’t matter how we played tonight, we weren’t going to let anyone take top spot away from us. It’s brilliant to finish the group on high like this. We now play the Spanish who we’ve played plenty of times and beaten multiple times. They’re a good side but we can’t wait for Friday.

We’ve come out here and proved we are a serious contender and we are here to try and win the gold. We don’t want to settle for second best.

I got my first cap in front of a home crowd and it’s an emotional moment for me to get my 50th in the same way. It’s a special day for me and it’s great because my first cap was a 4-1 win and now my 50th is too. My friends and family are all here and to do it with one of my best friends, Sophie Bray is even more special.

Alex is a hat-trick hero. You don’t see many in international hockey and all the goals were great goals. She’s a great player.

We’re confident going into the semi finals. We’ve built the momentum and we know they’re a good side. We won’t be complacent but we know we have a chance. The best team will win and hopefully it’ll be us.”

The Unibet EuroHockey Championships 2015 showcases the best eight men’s and women’s teams in Europe, including both England teams. The event will offer entertainment both on and off the pitch with a large fan park, including a fun zone for children. The stadium capacity has been expanded to cater for demand for tickets, with some sessions on the verge of selling out again at the increased capacity. The tournament is one of UK Sport’s National Lottery funded events as part of the #EveryRoadtoRio series. You can find out more at www.uksport.gov.uk/events.