On the second day of pool play at the TriFinance EuroHockey Championships in Boom, the men's matches saw England defeat Poland and the Netherlands slip past Ireland. In the women's competition, Spain fought down Scotland, Germany surprised England for a 2-1 win, Ireland went past Belarus by the narrowest of margins and the Dutch women had to work hard for three points against the Belgian home team.
England - Poland 5-2 (1-0)
In today's first clash, Poland gave England a run for their money. Despite the seemingly clear result, the match was an open affair, and the scoreline remained close throughout until England pulled away with a quick double hit late in the match.
After an early goal from Adam Dixon, England had maintained their lead into the second half, but Tomas Gorny equalised for Poland. Two English goals in as many minutes followed, courtesy of David Condon, but Poland stayed within striking distance until late hits from Ally Brogdon and Tom Carson eventually sealed the Polish side's fate.
Spain - Scotland 2-1 (2-1)
Well recovered from yesterday's disappointing 0-3 loss to England, Spain fought down Scotland today to hold on to their hopes of reaching the semi-finals.
Maria Gomez' first goal of the encounter was a blitz effort, with the ball finding the back of the net after barely 20 seconds. The Iberians' joy was short-lived however as Nikki Kidd converted a penalty corner a few minutes later to catch up. Gomez stepped up again to re-establish the lead late in the first half, and while the rest of the match saw a handful of opportunities at either end, neither team could make it count. The narrow win keeps Spain's hopes of reaching the semi-finals alive, while Scotland's second loss in as many days confirms them as relegation pool participants.
Germany - England 2-1 (1-1)
Two goals from Marie Mävers helped Germany to a crucial win over england today that makes them prime semi-final candidates.
In the first half, Marie Mävers finished off a lovely run down the right side of the field by Lena Jacobi with a deft hit into the boards, but Giselle Ansley levelled the scores with seconds on the clock. After the break, it was Mävers again who found the net for Germany with a penalty corner deflection in the 51st minute. England seemingly equalized again later, but the goal was called back after the video referral showed Ashleigh Ball's touch in the crowded circle to be on the stick's back side.
Ireland - Belarus 3-2 (1-0)
A win by the narrowest of margins against the fiercely fighting Belarussian side keeps Ireland in the race for the semi-finals.
Team captain Alex Speers led the way with two goals, with Lisa Jacob contributing the third, while Volha Shyntar and Nastassia Syrayezhka were on target for Belarus. Belarus put down a good effort, but at the end of the day couldn't contain the Irish girls.
Netherlands - Ireland 2-1 (1-1)
The Dutch men struggled much more than expected against the determined Irish side today, and it was only a late goal from Robbert Kemperman that kept them from potential embarrassment against a side ranked 12 places below them in the world.
A penalty corner dragflick from Shane O'Donoghue midway through the first half put the Irish ahead, but Mink van der Weerden matched like for like just before the break. In the second half it was a battle between equal opponents, with David Harte in the Irish goal working hard to keep the scores level. Eventually however, a fantastic reverse stick cracker from Kemperman did the damage, and as the clock ticked down, the Irish could not get their foot back in the door.
Belgium - Netherlands 0-2 (0-2)
A pair of goals in the 10th and 11th minute from Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel and Roos Drost sealed the deal for the world number one against a strong performance from the young Belgian team.
The Dutch team were the stronger contender overall, but the Red Panthers were able to create a few good chances and gave Holland their money's worth at today's clash. The final whistle confirmed a 2-0 victory for the Netherlands that puts them in the semi-finals before the last round of pool matches, while Belgium have the chance of making history by breaking into the top four of European hockey for the first time ever with a suitable result against Ireland.
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