Saturday, December 9, 2023

England hold shoot-out nerve to win Euro u21 bronze

England u21 men secured a dramatic bronze medal in the EuroHockey Junior Nations Championship in Belgium on Saturday afternoon, beating the hosts 4-3 after scoring a goal in the last second to force a 1-1 draw and send the game into a shoot-out.
With time ticking down, England were awarded a penalty corner which was scored with a straight flick by Luke Taylor to send the game into a shoot-out. Shootout finishes from Taylor, David Goodfield, Sam French and finally Ed Horler helped England win 4-3.
“I’m absolutely delighted that we’ve got a bronze medal after so long,” said England coach Jon Bleby. “We thoroughly dominated the game and deserved to win.”
Against the run of play Belgium took the lead after 20 minutes when Tom de Groote scored from a rebound after the initial shot had been well saved, but England battled on and continued to cause problems for the hosts.
England launched a lot of attacks at their rivals, who sat back and defended before launching counter attacks.
It looked like their solitary goal would prove decisive, but England took their goalkeeper off with two and a half minutes remaining in place of a kicking back, and on the stroke of the hooter David Goodfield penetrated the circle before the ball hit a Belgian foot.
From the resulting penalty corner, Luke Taylor scored in overtime to force the shootout, and England held their nerve to take the win.

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