England’s women were put to the sword by the Netherlands in the semi finals of the EuroHockey Championships.
The Dutch scored eight unanswered goals in a totally one-sided encounter in Antwerp.
1-0 down at the end of the first quarter, England then conceded seven in 40 minutes and had no answer to a rampant Dutch team.
Credit must go to the Netherlands for a truly dominant display, while Mark Hager’s English team must now pick themselves up from huge disappointment as they face a bronze medal match on Sunday.
Only the winners of these Euros qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, so both Great Britain’s women’s and men’s team will now play in two-legged Olympic Qualifiers on home soil in October / November.
Both sides got into decent positions in the first ten minutes, but soon enough the Dutch took control of proceedings, Laurien Leurink firing home from a penalty corner after Maddie Hinch made the initial save.
One behind at the end of the first quarter, England still had a foothold at this point, but once Lidewij Welten scored an excellent second, the Dutch were in control.
Caia van Maasakker made it 3-0 just before the break with a superb drag flick, and Marloes Keetels and Xan de Waard added another two goals between them in the third quarter as the Dutch continued to dominate.
Hinch made a couple of good stops in the England goal, but the defensive line were unable to cope with wave after wave of attack and conceded another three in the final 15 minutes. van Maasakker added a second corner before Welten got her own second of the match, and then Leurink doubled her tally on the night to round off the scoring.
There was no getting away from the fact that England were comprehensively beaten, and although the Dutch are World champions and the globe’s number one ranked side, the scoreline was hugely disappointing for our team.
Now though, the women must dust themselves down for a bronze medal match on Sunday. The important fixtures will continue later in the year as well; with only the winners of this tournament qualifying directly for the Tokyo Olympics, both our women’s and mean’s teams will now play in two-legged Olympic qualifiers on home soil in late October / early November. The draw takes place in roughly three weeks’ time.
Starting XI: Hinch, Unsworth, Toman, Ansley, Pearne-Webb (c), Evans, Rayer, Owsley, Townsend, Martin, Petter
Subs used: Balsdon, Defroand, Petty, McCallin, Howard, Hunter