ENGLAND WOMEN CRUSHED BY DUTCH IN EUROS SF
By Colin Pike
England Women lost their Belfius EuroHockey Championships semi-final 8-0 to a Netherlands team back on form after a stuttering start to their campaign.
The Netherlands had drawn their first two matches 1-1 against Belgium and Spain before thrashing Russia 14-0 to finish second in their Pool.
After struggling to a 4-3 win over Belarus, England had no answer to the Dutch who converted five of seven penalty corners as well as finding space to score three open play goals.
England needed captain Hollie Pearne-Webb to make some defensive challenges in the early minutes and made good use of their video referral to deny the Netherlands a fourth minute penalty corner award.
Lidewij Welten forced England goalkeeper Maddie Hinch to save a shot over the crossbar before the Netherlands finally forced their first penalty corner in the 11th minute. England failed to clear the ball and Laurien Leurink found enough space to bury the ball in the top right corner netting for the first Dutch goal.
Eight minutes later, Welten outwitted Sarah Evans to score the Netherlands’ second goal. Three minutes before half time Caia van Maasakker converted the Netherlands’ second penalty corner her shot ending up in the top right corner to earn a 3-0 half time lead.
Things went from bad to worse for England in the 34th minute when they wasted their right to a video referral looking for an offence in the circle which didn’t exist. A minute later Marloes Keetels scored goal number four with an angled shot into the right corner of the goal.
Xan de Waard’s deft deflection deceived Hinch and put the Netherlands 5-0 up in the 43rd minute as the Dutch began to treat the game as a training exercise.
Three further goals in the last ten minutes added to England’s misery, van Maasakker scoring the Netherlands’ sixth goal in the 50th minute, Welten scoring number seven with a deflection a minute later, both goals coming from penalty corners and Leurink joining Welten and van Maasakker on two goals again finding space before beating Hinch with another goal netting bound shot.
Margot van Geffen came close to adding a ninth goal in the last minute but Giselle Ansley, winning her 150th combined cap, cleared the ball off the goal-line to end a performance which England can only learn from for the future.
Evans, Hannah Martin, Ansley, Pearne-Webb and Izzy Petter were all in the England starting lineup. Jo Hunter came on as a third minute substitute with Emily Defroand following in the sixth minute.