The Fans of HockeyWorld Hockey NewsEngland Men book place in the EuroHockey Semi-Finals

England are through to the semi-finals of the TriFinance EuroHockey Championships 2013. England will now face hosts Belgium while Netherlands will be up against Germany in the Semi Finals to be played on 23rd August in Antwerp. Before a nail-biting 2-2 draw against Ireland, England had defeated Poland 5-2 in their opening pool game and lost to Netherlands (1-2) in the second game.

England's defence stands strong as they hold Ireland to a 2-2 draw to reach the EuroHockey Semi-Finals (Credits: Frank Uijlenbroek / England Hockey)

England’s defence stands strong to hold Ireland  for draw to reach the EuroHockey Semi-Finals (Credits: Frank Uijlenbroek / England Hockey)

Tom Carson was England’s hero with two goals for his side against Ireland, but it was a real team effort to keep a determined Ireland from taking a victory.

Ireland started the brighter side, creating an early chance, but it was England who got the first goal with just seven minutes on the clock. After some good build up play and a great run across the circle by David Condon he fired his shot towards goal, which Reading’s Tom Carson deftly deflected in the air past David Harte in Ireland’s goal. In the 19th minute England were back on the score sheet. This time a pass across the circle from Barry Middleton found Carson, who again was in a perfect spot and reacted quickly to slot the ball home to make it 2-0 at half-time.

Following the break, Ireland came out with a sense of purpose about their game and immediately put England on the back foot. Their reward came in the 51st minute when Shane O’Donoghue scored from a penalty stroke after Pinner was judged to have deliberately stopped the ball with the back of his stick. O’Donoghue made no mistakes with a clinical finish to pull one back for his side. Six minutes later, Ireland were back in the circle again and with no video referral England couldn’t question the umpire’s decision to give another penalty stroke. A second go for O’Donoghue and again he made no mistake against Pinner in England’s goal.

At 2-2 England would still make it through to the semi-finals by the narrowest of margins having scored one more goal than Ireland in the tournament. Ireland had their chances and it was a nail-biting finish for England fans, but they hung on to take the point and progress to the semi-finals on Thursday when they are likely to face Belgium if the remaining matches of the day go to form.

Speaking after the game against Ireland, England Head Coach Bobby Crutchley, gave his thoughts on the performance, “I think the game was always going to be tight, and although there is a significant gap in the world rankings between us and Ireland [4th & 15th in the world respectively], we are a young team and are going through a rebuilding phase. We knew how strong this Irish side was going to be and we never underestimated them coming into the tournament, especially because it was such a significant game today.”

“In the second half we weren’t good enough on the ball, we had chances and we should have passed it better, so that was frustrating for me. Having said that, I am delighted because we got the result we needed and we’re through to the semi-finals. I said when I got the job it was going to be a tough few months and I knew we’d have a lot of up and downs, but I’m really proud of the players today, coming up against a very strong side and getting the resulted we needed.”

Looking ahead to a semi-final on Friday, Crutchley added, “Our options are likely to be playing Belgium, who have played the best hockey of the tournament so far, or Olympic Champions Germany, who are past masters of getting through to this stage of the competition and always producing their best form in the games that count. So I don’t think you’d pick to play either one, but we are delighted to be through to the semi-finals with this squad, and that was the first and most important objective for us.” Spain could also still qualify for the final four.

Barry Middleton in action for England against the Netherlands at the EuroHokey Championships 2013 (Credits: Ady Kerry / England Hockey)

Barry Middleton in action for England against the Netherlands at the EuroHokey Championships 2013 (Credits: Ady Kerry / England Hockey)

England forward and goal scorer, Tom Carson, was asked about his contribution to the game against Ireland, “Scoring goals is always good, I was fortunate the balls fell to me in the circle and that’s something we’ve been working on really hard in training, to get into those positions, so it’s great for it to come off today. But I couldn’t score the goals unless the right balls are fed in, so it’s definitely a team effort.”

Earlier in the tournament, England battled hard but went down 2-1 to Dutch:
Ben Arnold did not play against Netherlands as a precautionary measure following a slight concussion he suffered in the game against Poland. Meanwhile, Harry Martin only managed about 15 minutes of pitch time before he had to sit out through a hamstring strain which he has been suffering with in recent weeks.

The Netherlands were two goals up at half-time thanks to efforts from Jelle Galema and Billy Bakker, but England came out fighting and despite being two men down, through injury, they battled hard. The reward came through captain Barry Middleton in the 54th minute as he found space and time in the circle to pick his shot and fire the ball past Jaap Stockmann in the Dutch goal. Unfortunately England’s efforts did not prove to be enough and the score remained 2-1.

Ben Arnold, Nick Catlin and Alastair Brogdon set-up for a Penalty Corner at the TriFinance EuroHockey Championships 2013 (Credits: Ady Kerry / England Hockey)

Ben Arnold, Nick Catlin and Alastair Brogdon set-up for a Penalty Corner at the TriFinance EuroHockey Championships 2013 (Credits: Ady Kerry / England Hockey)

England had opened their campaign by putting five past Poland: England’s men opened their campaign with 5-2 victory over Poland in the 2013 TriFinance EuroHockey Championships.

The solitary first half goal came from Beeston’s Adam Dixon to give England a narrow lead going into the break. Poland then drew level through Tomasz Gorny inside five minutes of the second half, but two goals from East Grinstead’s latest signing, David Condon and powerful strikes from Wimbledon’s Alastair Brogdon and Reading’s Tom Carson sealed the 5-2 victory for England.

Condon’s two goals were his first in a senior shirt and following the game he gave his view on the performance and his goals. “It was a harder game than we expected and our first-half performance wasn’t quite up to where we want it to be. But we put in a good performance in the second half and we’ll take confidence from the goals scored. It’s all about momentum so it’s a job well done to take three points from the match. I’m really pleased to get my name on the score sheet and I feel like the goals came at a game-changing moment.”

Men’s TriFinance EuroHockey Championship Pools

Pool A
Belgium            7
Germany                6
Spain           4
Czech Republic 0

Pool B
Netherlands       9
England            4
Ireland              4
Poland              0

Men’s TriFinance EuroHockey Championships – match schedule & results
Date/Match #   Info      Time       Teams            Result
August 17th, 2013
1                      Pool A  15:00      ESP – CRP     6-1
2                      Pool A  19:00      GER – BEL     1-2

August 18th, 2013
5                      Pool B  09:00    ENG – POL        5-2
6                      Pool B  17:00    NED – IRL         2-1

August 19th, 2013
9                      Pool A  13:00    ESP – GER       3-6
10                     Pool B  15:00    IRL – POL          4-2
11                     Pool A  17:00    BEL – CRP        4-0
12                     Pool B  19:00    ENG – NED      1-2

August 21st, 2013
13                     Pool B  10:30    IRL – ENG         2-2
14                     Pool A  15:00    GER – CRP       3-0
15                     Pool A  17:00    BEL – ESP       2-2
17                     Pool B  19:00    NED – POL       12-0

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