Belfius EuroHockey Championships
Pool C: Belgium 3 (S Vanden Borre, B Nelen, J Boon) Belarus 1 (S Bahushevich)
Belgium landed their second win of the week to finish in sixth place at the Belfius EuroHockey Championships, confirming Russia and Belarus will be the two sides relegated for the 2021 edition.
Stephanie Vanden Borre gave them a second quarter lead and they finally shrugged off the Belarussian challenge with goals from Barbara Nelen and Jill Boon, countering one from Sviatlana Bahushevich.
The Belgians thought they had taken the lead in the first quarter Louise Versavel had seemingly popped in on her reverse in the fourth minute from Nelen’s assist. But the video review actually showed the ball going in through the netting and not through the front of the goal.
It kept the game blank at quarter-time, leaving the host nation to wait until the 22nd minute when Stephanie Vanden Borre scored from a drag-flick for 1-0.
Another couple of corners were saved away by Tatsiana Liavonava to keep a narrow gap between the sides as Belarus sought to protect their circle.
The second did come seven minutes into the second half when Emma Puvrez delivered into the circle to Nelen who turned out of trouble and picked out the bottom corner with her shot.
Bahushevich did get one back from the injector’s spot for a Belarussian lifeline in the 47th minute, reducing the deficit to 2-1.
But Belgium moved out of range with nine minutes to go when Nelen made yet another key intervention, crossing on her backhand for a near post touch that went into the roof of the net. Jill Boon claimed it and, after a lengthy video review over who got the stick on the ball, it was awarded.
Boon, speaking afterwards, was sure she got that touch, adding: “I think it was an important goal; we won and that is all that matters in the end.
Belarus gave he side a good battle with Boon saying it was hard for her side to get momentum after the highs of the draw against the Netherlands earlier in the event.
“It was more of a tough game because of ourselves. It is not a game we wanted to be playing but today we just had to show character. We had a great organisation to be able to play this tournament at home; we had a job to do and that’s what we did in the end.
“We are still the team that finished fifth in the Pro League. We need consistency to win important games and we do have two big games at the end of October. We are going to be ready and we have learned so much here and play some really good hockey. We will take the positives and the learning points.”
Specifically, she says her side need to focus on getting results even when things are not going their way.
“Not always just want to play good hockey but, result-wise, to be consistent, to maintain a result and score when we have to score. The biggest teams are known for it – however they play, they just need to get the results.”
Belgium – Belarus
22’ Stephanie Vanden Borre (PC) 1-0
37’ Barbara Nelen (FG) 2-0
47’ Sviatlana Bahushevich (PC) 2-1
51’ Jill Boon (FG) 3-1