All the semi-final places remain up for grabs going into the final round of women’s Belfius EuroHockey Championship group games in Antwerp following day four of the continental hockey festival.
In Pool A, Belgium lead the way from Spain on goal difference while the reigning champion Netherlands sit in third place, needing a win in their final game to stay in the running for gold.
The Spaniards held on for a 1-1 draw against the Dutch while Belgium made their move with a 4-1 success against Russia.
In Pool B, it is also only goal difference separating first and second after Germany and England drew 1-1 today. Ireland boosted their chances of a semi-final place with an 11-0 win over Belarus. It makes for a fascinating showdown between Ireland and Germany on Wednesday while England can reach the final four with a draw or better against Belarus.
Early on Monday morning, meanwhile, nine nations composed of Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and England entered Royal Victory Club’s pitch for the fourth edition of the Cronos Euro ParaHockey Championship.
Opened by the EHF President, Marijke Fleuren, Marijke spoke to the athletes reminding them to “enjoy the Championships, the friendship and remember to include all your teammates during the games, when you can make that pass to your team-mate, do it!”
Day five sees the men’s group stages come to a conclusion with the last two semi-final places on the line. The winner between Spain and England (13.30 CET) will join Belgium in the semis from Pool A while Germany against Ireland is the critical game in Pool B (15.45 CET) – the winner follows the Dutch into the last four.
The day concludes with the Netherlands against Scotland (18.00 CET) and then Belgium face Wales (20.30 CET).
Women’s match reports
Pool A: Spain 1 (B Garcia) Netherlands 1 (C van Maasakker)
Reigning champions the Netherlands were held to a second successive 1-1 draw as Spain rode their luck but held on for a famous win which keeps them top of the Pool A table.
All the scoring came in the first six minutes as Caia van Maasakker’s early corner was counter-acted by a Begona Garcia finish within a minute for the point to add to their win over Russia.
Belgium 4 (L Versavel 2, A-S Weyns, S Vanden Borre) Russia 1 (B Sadovaia)
Belgium moved to the top of Pool A on goal difference after two rounds of matches as first quarter blitz put them in great shape for their 4-1 win.
Three goals in the first quarter from Louise Versavel, Ann-Sophie Weyns and Stephanie Vanden Borre put them in great shape. Russia fought back with a Bogdana Sadovaia goal but Versavel’s second earned a key result.
Germany 1 (H Gablac) England 1 (L Owsley)
Germany could not convert a dominant second half performance into all three points as England dug deep to keep out their opponents and earn a 1-1 draw in women’s Pool B.
The result lifts both sides onto four points as Lily Owsley gave England a half-time lead before Hannah Gablac got the German goal in their second half comeback.
Ireland 11 (R Upton 4, A O’Flanagan 2, N Evans 2, B Barr, D Duke, Z Wilson) Belarus 0
Ireland ran up a huge win over Belarus to get their drive for a semi-final place back in gear as their penalty corner routine worked wonders in Antwerp.
After a close-fought first half ended 2-0, the Green Army went goal crazy with nine second half goals seeing them run up a huge 11-0 success. It sets up a showdown for a semi-final spot with Germany on Wednesday where a win would see Ireland reach the final four for the first time.
Tuesday, August 20 fixtures (times CET; all at Wilrijkse Plein, Antwerp)
Pool A: Spain v England, 13.30; Belgium v Wales, 20.30
Pool B: Ireland v Germany, 15.45; Netherlands v Scotland, 18.00