On a crazy day in the women’s EuroHockey Junior Championships, late goals in both Pool A and B ended up deciding the semi-final places. The latest came from Emma Puvrez, 6.8 seconds from full time, earned Belgium a place in the final four at the expense of Spain as they got the draw they needed.
In Pool B, the combination of Germany’s late third goal against Ireland and an English winner in the closing two minutes saw France eliminated.
Women’s EuroHockey Junior Championships – day three round-up
Belgium 2 (L Boey, E Puvrez) Spain 2 (S Barrios, C Ycart)
With just 6.8 seconds remaining, Emma Puvrez scored the most dramatic of equalisers, one which brought with it a coveted semi-final spot for Belgium and a date with England.
“That feeling is indescribable! I have seen things like it on tv but never by myself,” she said of the moment. “I barely score goals at tournaments and so to get this really important one, I am still shaking!”
For long periods, Spain held all the danger with Belgium working to protect the draw that would be good enough to put them through. The game was tense throughout but fully burst into life with less than nine minutes to go. Leylou Boey opened the scoring against the run of play with a low reverse-stick shot.
Belgium v Spain – Women’s EuroHockey Junior Championships – Match Highlights pic.twitter.com/1TAquhwHuU
— EuroHockey (@eurohockeyorg) August 31, 2017
The hosts equalised almost instantly with Sara Barrios providing some magic down the right and her cross was deflected in at the near post, levelling the game. A minute later, Clara Ycart was putting Spain in front from the penalty spot to make it 2-1.
Belgium threw everything forward from there and – after three corners in the last minute – finally found Puvrez on the left of the circle where she picked out the bottom corner for a gleefully celebrated winner.
Belgian coach Simon Letchford added: “I’m really proud of the girls. They got their noses in front against the run of play but when Spain managed to get back, we showed fight and character and thankfully that got us the draw we needed.
“You try and stay as calm as you can. When you take your goalkeeper out, we know how we are going to press and which areas of the field you want to get the ball into. It’s all very well on a whiteboard in a room but to go and implement that [is a different thing].”
Germany 3 (C Gerstenhofer, L Micheel, N Aring) Ireland 1 (A Russell)
A goal each on pitch one and two in almost perfect synchronicity saw Germany land a semi-final spot in place of France, something looked far from possible with just a few minutes to go.
But Nele Aring got a perfect touch to a corner move in the 59th minute to put the Germans 3-1 up. They still needed England to beat France to get them through on goal difference and the new arrived soon after that the favour was achieved with Erica Sanders smashing home for 3-2.
With major relief, German coach Akim Bouchouchi said that it continues to be a facet of his country’s make-up.
“We work on it always; never give up, play, play, play. We have sometimes where we haven’t played our best but when we have our heads together, we have done well and I am happy where we are now.
“We worked hard for it over all three games. We were a little unlucky while today we had the luck we needed to win from this situation.”
Charlotte Gerstenhofer started the scoring with a strong shot from the top of the circle. Abbie Russell equalised with Ireland’s first goal of the competition, a near post touch to Ruth Maguire’s cross. But Lena Micheel burst into the circle to make it 2-1 before half-time. It remained that way for a long time before Aring’s last ditch goal.
England 3 (H Munro, C Childs, E Sanders) France 2 (D Gaspari, V Vankemmel)
Erica Sanders’ last minute goal broke France’s hearts as they looked well set for a place in the semi-finals only to be denied at the last as the combination of that strike and an effort from Nele Aring for Germany denied them.
In the first half, Delfina Gaspari and Holly Munro exchanged goals around the 17-minute mark to make it 1-1 at half-time. Charlotte Childs put France 2-1 ahead when she touched in Charlotte Daly’s cross. Victorine Vankemmel’s drag-flick to the left post made it all the way in to level it once more at 2-2, a scoreline that would have suited both.
England kept pressing, though, and struck late on from a corner with Sanders smashing in at the second attempt.
England coach Colin Clarke says the performance will serve them well for the semi-final. “Delighted; winning three from three sets us up nicely for the semi-final on Saturday. We didn’t play to the standard we had done in the previous two games althought the grit and resilience to win the game in the last 90 seconds is credit to the girls and it came through for us in the end.”
** Live streaming on all games on Pitch 1 are on http://www.eurohockeytv.org
Friday – Rest Day
|Saturday 2 September 2017|
|15.00||Women’s Pool C||Spain||v||France||Pitch 1 *|
|17.30||Women’s Semi-final 1||England||v||Belgium||Pitch 1 *|
|20.00||Women’s Semi-final 2||Netherlands||v||Germany||Pitch 1 *|