Belgium 1 (1)
Vanden Borre (59’, PC)
England 1 (1)
Ansley (58’, PC)
England failed to qualify for the semi-finals of the 2021 EuroHockey Championships after only drawing with Belgium.
Giselle Ansley thought she had secured passage into the final four with a brilliant corner strike just two minutes from the end of the game.
But Stephanie Vanden Borre equalised from a corner of her own less than a minute later to secure the point the Belgians needed to finish second in the group. England now head into Pool C, where they will face Ireland and Scotland.
With The Netherlands and Spain having qualified from the other pool, England can still qualify for the 2022 World Cup by winning their two games in Group C and claiming a fifth-placed finish.
With plenty riding on the game for both teams, the first half was a tight and cagey affair. Ambre Ballenghien had the clearest sight of goal in the first quarter, firing her shot wide of Maddie Hinch’s post, as the Belgians enjoyed plenty of possession early on.
England grew into the game in the second quarter and started to see the ball more, with Sarah Evans seeing a shot from the top of the circle in the 20th minute blocked while Lily Owsley started to cause a few issues with her direct runs. But both defences continued to hold firm, meaning the game remained goalless heading into half-time.
Hager’s side began the third quarter at a quicker tempo and thought they’d won a corner just three minutes into it, only for it to be correctly overturned after a review. Belgium then took charge of the game once more and had the game’s best chance to date when Abi Raye was one-on-one with Hinch in the 40th minute but the England goalkeeper was quickly off her line to smother the threat.
Ansley saw the game’s first corner saved on the line early in the final quarter but there was no keeping out her brilliant flick in the 58th minute as she looked to have secured the victory for her team.
But less than a minute later Vanden Borre smashes home a corner to ensure the game ended in a draw, giving her team the point they needed to reach the semi-finals while England finished third in the group.
They will be back in action at 10:30 BST on Friday 11 June against Ireland before wrapping up their tournament against Scotland at 17:45 BST on Saturday 12 June. Wins against both and a fifth-placed finish will still see England qualify for the 2022 World Cup, with co-hosts The Netherlands and Spain having made the semi-finals.
Meanwhile, England’s men will contest their hotly anticipated semi-final against Germany at 16:00 on Thursday 10 June live on BT Sport 2.
Starting XI: Hinch (GK), Unsworth, Evans, Toman, Townsend, Rayer, Ansley, Pearne-Webb (C), Owsley, Balsdon, Petter
Subs (Used): Burge, Sanders, Neal, Hunter, Ledesma, Crackles
Subs (Unused): Heesh (GK)