England Men beat Germany 4-2 in a thrilling and entertaining third place playoff to join the women’s team as bronze medallists at the Rabo EuroHockey Championships in Amsterdam on Sunday.
The game was open from the start with Surbiton’s David Goodfield forcing a save in the first minute, only for Germany to respond in the same manner a minute later.
Surbiton’s Brendan Creed teamed up with Barry Middleton to set up a scoring chance for Sam Ward to shoot past the left post in the seventh minute and with Goodfield sending a shot past the right post a minute from the end of the first quarter, the game remained goalless at the first interval.
The game didn’t remain goalless for long, Germany breaking the deadlock in the 16th minute, Lukas Windfeder finding Mats Grambusch to deflect the ball past England goalkeeper, George Pinner from the right of the circle from Germany’s second penalty corner.
Eight minutes later, England levelled with almost a carbon copy penalty corner routine, Adam Dixon finding Middleton to deflect the ball into the Germany goal.
In the 27th minute with Grambusch having been sent to the sin bin for dissent, England took the lead, Michael Hoare finding Ian Sloan, who finished from close range from the centre of the circle. Grambusch showed his frustration in the sin-bin and received no satisfaction when talking to the umpires at the half time break.
Germany were determined to get back on level terms in the second half and after Tobias Hauke attacked along the right baseline, Liam Sanford cleared the ball to safety from in front of the goalline.
Julius Meyer worked hard for Germany in defence and then posed a threat with an attacking run to no avail.
In the 40th minute, Hoare had to be helped off the pitch after sustaining an ankle injury. With Germany still threatening, Goodfield brought the ball out of defence to ease the pressure.
Germany equalised in the 44th minute, Windfeder successfully placing his drag-flick beyond Pinner’s outstretched pad and into the netting to leave all to play for in the final quarter.
Three minutes into the third quarter, it was Sanford’s turn to visit the temporary casualty ward after being struck on the head by the ball via Christopher Rühr’s foot. A minute later Pinner kicked the ball away as Germany kept up the pressure on the England defence.
With nine minutes remaining, England retook the lead with an outstanding breakaway goal. Creed’s aerial ball found David Ames on the left wing and after carrying the ball to the German backline and evading the opposing defenders, his pass found a diving Mark Gleghorne to divert the ball inside the right post.
England’s injury woes continued in the 53rd minute as Middleton needed an ice pack applied to his knee.
With 5 minutes and 11 seconds, Germany replaced goalkeeper, Tobias Walter with Martin Häner as a kicking back.
Middleton, having recovered to return to the pitch, set up the final goal, his pass finding Phil Roper as he ran down the left and towards the Germany goal with Häner in pursuit. Haner couldn’t catch Roper, whose shot rebounded against the backboard of an open goal to clinch a 4-2 victory and third place.
Creed and Goodfield were both in the England starting line-up, and Harry Gibson received a deserved bronze medal having supported Pinner as reserve goalkeeper during the tournament if needed.
More information about the tournament can be found in the Match Centre section of the FIH website here
The England Hockey match report can be seen here
The Netherlands beat Belgium 4-2 in the final, coming back from 2-0 down at half time.
Tom Boon and Cédric Charlier scored Belgium’s goals. Robbert Kemperman pulled a goal back before Mirco Pruijser equalised just before the end of the third quarter.
Mink van der Weerden gave the Netherlands the lead for the first time with nine minutes to play, with Pruijser sealing the win in the last minute and overtaking England’s Mark Gleghorne as the top scorer in the tournament.
Highlights can be seen on the BBC Sport website here but only by UK users.