U21s men into Junior EuroHockey Championship final

U21s men into Junior EuroHockey Championship final
Photo credit - Sandy Rushmere

England’s U21s men’s side will face Germany in the Junior EuroHockey Championship final on Sunday 21 July at 6:30pm BST after defeating the Netherlands 4-3 in their semi-final clash.

Despite falling behind within the opening two minutes of the game, England responded well as they settled and grew into the game, keeping the Dutch at bay after the early setback before creating pressure of their own.

Having held good territory for lengthy spells of the first quarter, England made the break through from a penalty corner as Edward Way fired a powerful driven shot under the ‘keeper against the backboard to level the scores at 1-1.

The team started the second quarter in a similar ilk with their build up play causing problems for the Dutch defence. The pressure resulted in another goal five minutes after the restart as Thomas Russell’s fierce strike gave the ‘keeper no chance as England took the lead.

The Dutch replied though and were only denied an equaliser by a stunning save from Oliver Payne’s outstretched right foot from a shot otherwise destined for the bottom corner of the goal.

But the Netherlands weren’t to be held for long as they levelled the match at 2-2 going into half-time with a clinical reverse stick shot.

Nothing could separate the sides in the third quarter with a frantic final 15 minutes eventually deciding the match. 

England were the side who took the advantage, Duncan Scott deflecting the ball in at the back post with just over ten minutes remaining. The game looked settled when Gareth Griffiths remained cool in front of goal when the ‘keeper had been withdrawn to put England 4-2 to the good with only three minutes remaining.

Though the Dutch did find one of their own immediately after from a penalty corner, England held on and did enough to see the game out and progress to the next round with an entertaining 4-3 victory.

Having taken down Spain 3-0 in their semi-final, Germany will be the opposition waiting for England in Sunday’s final.