The second round of men's pool matches confirmed two big favorites as Germany and the Netherlands overcame Spain and England respectively. In the remaining matches, Ireland defeated France, and Belgium cruised past Russia which means that a draw in their last pool match against Spain will be enough for the Belgians to reach the semi-finals. With today's match results, Germany is the first confirmed semi-finalist in these EuroHockey Championships.
First on today's programme were the teams of France and Ireland. With no clear advantage on either side in a match that remained goalless until late in the second half, it was two goals from two penalty strokes by Irish captain John Jermyn that decided the match, which deteriorated fast in the last 20 minutes, with permanent squabbles resulting in an avalanche of cards - 5 yellows and 4 greens at the final whistle.
Next up, Spain took on the German hosts in pool A's showcase match. The Spaniards started off well, and had some early chances, but the home team soon took over to create two great opportunities. They failed to capitalize on either however, and the match reached an impasse, with the teams going into the break with the scoreboard still at nil all. Soon after the re-start however, Christopher Wesley deflected a powerful free hit into the circle for the first goal, which Thilo Stralkowski followed up little later from close range with another. Following this second goal, Spain started attacking desperately to salvage a point from the encounter, but the German defense stood solid - on the contrary, the Iberians had to concede yet another as Mo Fürste finished of a counter attack with a cracking hit. Edi Tubau scored the consolation goal for the Spaniards, but with little more than a minute to go, it was too little too late.
Completing pool A's second round of pool matches, Belgium locked horns with Russia, and dominated play from starting to final whistle. Jérôme Dekeyser got his team onto the scoreboard with his first of the day as early as the 4th minute, and from there, the Red Devils added goals at a steady pace. The listless and tired looking Russians could not find any means to keep their opponents at bay, and two more from Dekeyser and one each from Tom Boon and Simon Gougnard took the scoreline to five before Alexander Shirkov managed the lone counter for the Russians. Cédric Charlier piled on two more for a 7-1 final result that sees Belgium take second place in the pool on goal diference.
Closing the day's play, the Netherlands and England met for pool B's header in what was the most entertaining match of the day. England began well with some early chances, but the Dutch man of the match Billy Bakker gave his team the advantage in 10th minute with a reverse stick shot. Fifteen minutes later, Matt Daly opened the scoring for the English, and after another ten minutes of neutralizing each other, the teams went into the break at one each. Shortly after the re-start, Taeke Taekema took advantage of a penalty stroke to get the Dutch team ahead again, followed within a minute by Billy Bakker's second of the day to claim a two goal lead. Matt Daly once more got the English team up close again, but only four minutes later, there was Billy Bakker again, completing his hattrick for a 4-2 lead. England attacked frantically in the last few minutes of the match, and reaped the rewards as Ashley Jackson scored their third, but the clock wound down without them managing the elusive equalizer.
With the second round of pool matches thus completed, the men's competition in Mönchengladbach sees Germany top pool A, with a place in the semi-finals already secured ahead of the final round of pool matches, ahead of Belgium and Spain, with Russia trailing the field. Belgium and Spain will battle it out for the other semi-final spot in their direct encounter on Wednesday. In pool B, the Netherlands are in first place ahead of England and Ireland, with fourth ranked France left without a chance to reach the semis. With England and Ireland both on three points, things will come down to a head-to-head race on Wednesday, when England face France, and Ireland take on the Netherlands.
For more information on this event, please visit the EHF website www.eurohockey.org.
The EuroHockey Championships in Mönchengladbach, which started Saturday and end on Sunday, will confirm 5 more participants in the 2012 Olympic hockey tournament in addition to the already qualified Great Britain men and women, Pakistan men and China and Korea women: the highest ranked three men's and two women's teams, excluding England, will secure their ticket to London.
France - Ireland 0:2 (0:0)
John Jermyn 2
Spain - Germany 1:3 (0:0)
Christopher Wesley, Thilo Stralkowski, Moritz Fürste; Edi Tubau
Belgium - Russia 7:1 (3:0)
Jérôme Dekeyser 3, Simon Gougnard, Tom Boon, Cédric Charlier 2; Alexander Shirkov
England - Netherlands 3:4 (1:1)
Matt Daly 2, Ashley Jackson; Billy Bakker 3, Taeke Taekema
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