24.08.2015: Although there were only two matches played at the 2015 Unibet EuroHockey Championships in London on Monday, the women’s encounters proved to be extremely important as reigning champions Germany and host nation England sealed their places in the competition semi-finals with respective Pool B victories over Scotland and Italy.
Both sides were given stern tests by their opponents, but did enough to reach the final four and will play each other on Wednesday (26th August) in a match that will decide who wins Pool B and, perhaps crucially, avoids a semi-final meeting with the winner of Pool A.
More details on Monday’s matches can be found below.
WOMEN’S POOL B
Scotland 1-2 Germany
Goals from Franzisca Hauke and Marie Mävers ensured that Germany earned maximum points from their two Pool B games and a secured a place in the competition semi-finals. However, they far from dominated their match against a battling Scotland team who netted a late goal through Nikki Kidd and ran the reigning European champions to the wire.
The excellence of German defensive duo Nina Hasselmann – who won her 200th cap – and Janne Müller-Wieland meant that Scotland were hard pushed to get in the danger zone, but they did make some incursions and Scotland coach Gordon Shepherd will want to see his side make more of their opportunities when they get them.
Germany coach Jami Mülders will be looking for more clinical and structured play from a side who looked like reigning champions for only limited periods of this game, and who allowed Scotland to force them into making uncharacteristic mistakes.
“We are happy with the result, but I think we will draw a line under this game,” said Müller-Wieland after the game. “We have played Scotland a lot recently, perhaps we know each other too well. Now we concentrate on the next game and prepare for the semi-finals.”
Italy 0-2 England
England were relieved to have taken all three points in a frustrating encounter against a very resilient Italian side, a result which leaves England needing to beat Germany in their final Pool B match to top the group.
A tap-in from Helen Richardson-Walsh and a late goal from Sophie Bray while Italy were fielding a kicking back were the differences in a far from convincing outcome between two sides with nine ranking places separating them. The Italians in contrast will be relatively pleased with their performance – a largely defensive display that served to put England under pressure in all areas of the pitch.
“We played well, we just didn’t put our chances away,” said England’s Susannah Townsend after the match. “The important thing was we didn’t panic, and that was important because Italy are a good side, with a good defence and we had to work hard to wear them down.”
Italy will play Scotland with both sides looking to record their first win of the tournament and avoid relegation from Europe’s elite competition.
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Photograph: Germany (Frank Uijlenbroek (c)