Disappointment for U18 Girls against Belgium

U18 Girls v Belgium 2018
Game 1 – Sat 7 Jul

England 3 (1)
Bourne (PC, 9); Rolfe (FG, 49); Mackenzie (PC, 53)

Belgium 4 (2)
(FG, 3); (FG, 24); (FG, 35); (FG, 42)

England’s U18 Girls’ team completed their preparations for the forthcoming European Championships with two games against Belgium at Canterbury.

The visitors started the first game at high intensity and were rewarded with the opening goal in the third minute which unfortunately deflected off an England defender, giving the goalkeeper no chance.

England soon found their feet though, with Molly Redgrove’s corner just being deflected wide before Darcy Bourne converted her own corner to level the scores.

It was Belgium who took the lead into half-time though thanks to a deflection on a long pass, before they took the game to their hosts in the third quarter and scored twice more to give themselves a three-goal lead.

England’s showing in the final quarter was much stronger though and they almost completed a remarkable comeback, with Alice Rolfe and then Lorna Mackenzie finding the Belgian goal but it wasn’t quite to be.

Game 2 – Sun 8 July

England 2 (1)
Denly (PC, 23); Giglio (PS, 35)

Belgium 4 (1)
(FG, 21); (FG, 31); (FG, 34); (PC, 56)

Having learned their lessons from the previous day, England started this game much stronger and the first half was a very even affair.

Belgium did take the lead in the 21st minute thanks to a deflected shot but shortly after Annabelle Denly diverted Alex Malzer’s corner beyond the Belgian ‘keeper to take a 1-1 scoreline into half-time.

But the visitors flew out of the traps at the start of the second half, scoring in the 31st and 34th minute to take a two-goal lead, although Millie Giglio calmy converted a penalty stroke shortly after to keep her side right in the game.

The game remained close until just four minutes from time when Belgium scored their fourth of the game to seal the victory and the series.

After the second game head coach Sarah Kelleher said: “These heavily contested games were ideal as our final pre-Euro preparation games to build further on our strengths and providing some great learnings that will stand to us in the Euros. 

“The games continued to set the tone for the level and intensity of play that is needed at the Europeans. The players played fluid and gritty hockey with intensity and learned the importance of keeping this level of focus across all 60 minutes. They showed real character and determination playing to the very end in looking to find a win, knowing that through our efforts we will succeed.”