The last round of pool play at the men's competition at the TriFinance EuroHockey Championships in Boom saw England hold Ireland to a draw to win their ticket to the semi-finals, while Belgium did the same against Spain. Germany defeated the Czech Republic to win their spot in the top four, and already certain semi-finalists Netherlands put down a big 12-0 win against Poland.
Ireland v England 2-2 (0-2)
The men's last day of pool play started with Ireland taking on England, with a chance to edge England out of the semi-finals with a win. However, it looked like it was already done and dusted for England after the first half, when England went into the break with a two-goal advantage with Tom Carson netting twice.
Ireland came back in the second half however with two penalty strokes, both converted by Shane O'Donoghue, and even had some last minute chance to snatch victory, but two critical saves from the English goalkeeper denied them and eventually, they ran out of time.
The draw had England join the already confirmed Netherlands as Pool B semi-finalists while Ireland will be playing for fifth place in Pool C.
Germany v Czech Republic 3-0 (2-0)
Next up were Germany and the Czech Republic with the pressure on the Olympic champions to win points.
Despite some fierce defending by the Czechs and outstanding work in the Czech goal by Filip Neusser, Germany marched through to a 3-0 win with goals from Mats Grambusch, Oskar Deecke and Marco Miltkau. The win put Germany in a relatively comfortable position to reach the semi-finals, but still meant they depended on the result of the game between Spain and Belgium, with the slim chance of a big win by Spain pushing them out.
Belgium – Spain 2-2 (1-0)
The third match of the day brought the second draw of the day and the tournament, with the one point enough to make Belgium pool winners to avoid the clash with their Dutch neighbours in the semi-finals.
Tom Boon put Belgium ahead after less then two minutes with a deflection, and the Red Lions, and the advantage stood until Pau Quemada levelled the scores with a penalty corner midway through the second half. Belgium regained the lead with ten minutes on the clock through Jérôme Truyens, but Spain replied almost immediately, fighting back with a goal from Edi Tubau.
Despite coming back from behind twice, that final step to the all-important winning goal eluded the Spanish, and they had to let Belgium pass them by on the way into the semi-finals. Spain will join Ireland, the Czech Republic and Poland in Pool C to play for fifth place.
Netherlands – Poland 12-0 (1-0)
The day concluded with the final pool play encounter, with a result that could not affect a table with all positions firmly locked into place.
In the first half, the Dutch struggled against a deep defending Polish side that stifled their efforts. Robert Kemperman was the only one to be able to find the net off a rebound.
After the break however, the Netherlands picked up steam and rushed to the tournament's only double-digit result. Robert Kemperman added three more to his name for a total of four goals in the match, Tim Jenniskens and Constantijn Jonker hit the mark twice each, and Valentin Verga, Jeroen Hertzberger, Seve van Ass and Billy Bakker each piled on one.
The semi-finals were thus confirmed as Netherlands against Germany and Belgium against England. The Czech Republic, Poland, Spain and Ireland will be playing for fifth place in Pool C, which will also determine the two teams that are relegated to the second flight of European competition for 2015.
Hockey Together - Euro ParaHockey Tournament
In addition to the four matches of the men's competition, the TriFinance EuroHockey Championships stadium today hosted the final of the Euro ParaHockey Tournament which was played under the slogan of "Hockey Together".
The second edition of this competition for players with intellectual disabilities was a great success, and saw the Italian National ParaHockey team win the laurels. EHF President Marijke Fleuren commented "With this ParaHockey tournament we want to emphasize that hockey is a family affair, so everyone should be involved in our sport. It is fantastic to see how enthusiastic the crowd was about the Para Hockey. Especially for the parents and family this brings a lot of satisfaction." The President also thanked all those involved in órganizing the event, saying "It is truly my honour and pleasure to thank everyone who made this possible, in particular Bea Uvin of the Belgian Hockey Federation, HC Victory and our own EHF Youth Panel, who really made this such a special event."
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