Victory for men, draw for women in U21s Euros opening matches

Victory for men, draw for women in U21s Euros opening matches

Photo credit - WORLDSPORTPICS / Frank Uijlenbroek 

It was a positive start to the U21 European Championship for England’s men and women who both got points on the board in their first game of the competition.

A tough opening fixture against Belgium awaited the women’s U21s team, who did well to resist early pressure from the opposition through good defending from two penalty corners.

Having stood firm in defence, England pushed forwards and were rewarded with the first goal as Lotti Ross skilfully scooped the ball over the Belgian ‘keeper from close range to score with their first penalty corner of the game.

England had the ball in the back of the net again just minutes later, however the goal was ruled out for being dangerous as it struck the Belgian defender high.

An evenly battled second-half followed with both teams creating good chances whilst denying the other from several penalty corners.

Though England had looked in control for much of the final 30 minutes, Belgium found a late equaliser to level the scores with under two minutes remaining as both teams were forced to settle with a draw.

Ross commented after the match: “The team energy has been so positive coming into this tournament, so it was really important for us to start this campaign how we mean to go on.

“We’ve worked hard on our PCAs so was great to get a goal and some reward for that work, especially so early on, which really allowed us to gather good momentum. A first international goal feels fantastic, and it’s credit to the efforts of the whole team.”

U21s Euros v BEL W

England’s men’s team got off to the perfect start in their opening group match against Poland as Stuart Rushmere tucked the ball into the net after it had been deflected onto the post from a penalty corner within the first five minutes of the game.

Despite then seeing one disallowed, England were able to find a second goal in the opening half as Zach Wallace drilled a shot into the bottom corner after being picked out in the D from excellent wide play.

It was more of the same in the second-half as Rushmere played a dangerous pass into Gareth Griffiths who deflected the ball past the ‘keeper for a third goal before captain Edward Way also got in on the act.

Though Poland threw attacking pressure at England in the final quarter, getting one of their own on the scoresheet, England were able to see the game out and take a 6-2 victory in their opening match after Way and Wallace each notched a second before Poland struck in the final minute.

Next up for England’s women’s side is another testing match against a strong Germany team on Tuesday 16 July at 4:45pm BST with the men’s team following shortly after against Belgium at 7pm BST. The games can be streamed live by clicking HERE