Belfius EuroHockey Championships
Women’s Pool A: Belgium 0 Spain 1 (C Petchame)
Carlota Petchame’s single goal saw Spain earn a richly deserved 1-0 win over hosts Belgium to reach the semi-final of the women’s Belfius EuroHockey Championships.
It capped a controlled and composed performance, limiting the Belgians to just a small handful of chances across the hour. It meant Spain top Pool A with the Netherlands second and Belgium go into Pool C along with Russia.
Spain made all the running in the first half, powered by the immaculate Gigi Oliva, and kept Belgium penned in their own half for the vast majority of the play but garnered only a couple of outcomes.
Berta Bonastre won the first corner which saw Aisling D’Hooghe bat away Lola Riera’s drag-flick. A second corner was charged down, too.
Belgium, meanwhile, were working primarily on the counter-attack with Emma Puvrez and Alix Gerniers leading the charge but it resulted in nothing tangible.
The Spanish control continued into the second half and they took the lead in the 35th minute. Lucia Jimenez threaded a beautiful pass into the circle which Carlota Petchame lifted into the air and then attempted to lob over D’Hooghe.
The goalkeeper got a touch which sent the ball high into the night sky which dropped – despite the best efforts of Aline Fobe – just over the line, something which required video to confirm.
It woke Belgium and they started to build up further up the field and won their first corner via Louise Versavel, quickly followed by a second, but neither were successful.
D’Hooghe coped well with a rising Marta Segu shot as Spain’s pace continued to cause problems. The final quarter was filled with tension and intensity but the Spanish defence were impervious to their advances, closing out every attack that came their way.
Reflecting on the game, Oliva said: “We had a plan and performed it really well, did the basics right and got our goal and some corners. We have to be really happy with that.”
She feels the World Cup bronze medalists have made serious steps in the past few years to change and develop the way they play.
“Normally in Spain, we were just fighters, trying to defend and that is all there was to our game. In the last year, we have developed our build-up play and recognise well the spaces and break through the pressure from other teams and create more circle penetrations.
“We will go for the final and then hopefully go for gold!”
Umpires: S Wilson (SCO), M Meister (GER)
Belgium – Spain
34’ Carlota Petchame (FG) 0-1