Germany won the Eurohockey Championships for the second time in their history with a 2-0 shootout win over England after an entertaining 4-4 draw.
Germany scooped the gold medal, a prize they collected in 2007, to leave Jason Lee’s side heartbroken as they couldn’t repeat their semi final heroics here tonight.
An incredible first half saw the game see sawing as both sides took the initiative at different times in a very entertaining opening period.
England drew first blood on three minutes. Kate Walsh’s drag flick was saved by Kim Platten but Georgie Twigg was on hand to snap up the rebound and make it 1-0 from close range.
A minute later Germany restored parity from a penalty corner of their own. The corner was slipped left and Lydia Haas’ flick was turned in at the far post by Eileen Hoffman.
With eight minutes gone, Jason Lee’s side took the lead once more. This time Walsh beat the goalkeeper low to her right with an inch-perfect drag flick.
The game changed once again as Germany grabbed an equaliser. Tina Bachmann beat Maddie Hinch from a penalty corner and the game was all square.
Germany were pressing England hard in the middle of the pitch, often surrounding the ball carrier with three or four players in an attempt to turn the ball over in dangerous areas.
On 22 minutes their pressure paid off as they were awarded a penalty stroke that Bachmann despatched to make it 3-2.
England were not taking that lying down and eight minutes later they drew level once again. Helen Richardson seized on a mistake by Janne Muller-Wieland and fired a reverse stick shot past Platten. England almost re-took the lead as an excellent cross from Alex Danson on the right was deflected towards goal by a diving Helen Richardson but again, Platten spread herself well and made the save.
On the stroke of half time Germany wrestled the lead back from Jason Lee’s side with another penalty corner goal from Hannah Kruger, sneaking in between Hinch and Richardson on the line.
Germany came out after the break hungry for another goal, Kruger fired in a good cross but Muller-Wieland diverted the ball over the bar.
The second half took a while to get going, struggling to match the seven goals, a Eurohockey Final record, that the first half threw up. Alex Danson tried it get a shot off but under pressure her reverse effort shot didn’t trouble Platten. The German goalkeeper excelled once again with a splendid save from Susannah Townsend and then Helen Richardson as England ramped up the pressure for an equaliser.
With four minutes left to play, England snatched a dramatic leveller. Danson found Lily Owsley inside the D, Owsley fired a lovely tomahawk towards the far corner where Susie Gilbert was on hand to add the finishing touch to make it 4-4 and take the game to a shootout.
Both sides had come through shootouts in the semi final so it was wide open as to who would win.
Maike Stockel went first and scored. Kate Walsh missed and then Hinch saved from Julia Muller. Platten showed good awareness to save from Danson to preserve the lead for Germany. Jana Teschke gave the Germans one hand on the trophy as she rounded Hinch and made it 2-0. Unsworth and Muller-Wieland also could not beat the goalkeepers, leaving Georgie Twigg having to score to keep the game alive. Platten was up to the job and blocked twice from the England No.7 and Germany had the title.
It was tough on Jason Lee’s side who had battled bravely and looked set to rescue and maybe even win the game. There is, however, much to be proud of as their young side had overcome the Dutch and performed beyond the expectation of their world ranking
For Germany, it was the continuation of their return to top form after a disappointing Olympics in London. Having won the World League in Rotterdam, they have now added their second Eurohockey Championships to give Jamilon Mulders an important victory as coach.
A great tournament with some exciting games draws to a close, with the age-old cliche ringing true once more: Never write off the Germans.
It was gutting to get that far and then lose like that. Although there’s been a lot of talk about trying to break their bronze medal ‘curse’, I wonder which results they actually prefer – silver means you went out with a loss, whilst bronze means you finished with a win.
Anyway, this is the perfect ointment for times like this: