Friday, December 1, 2023

Belarus spark wild scenes to lift EuroHockey Nations women’s title

All hail European indoor hockey.

Belarus sparked euphoric scenes in front of home support as they scored in the dying seconds of the EuroHockey Nations final against Holland on Sunday – and then triumphed for the first time.

Losing to a first quarter goal in Minsk, the hosts touched in with just 16 seconds left to go of the final to take the game to a shoot-out against the Dutch, who had beaten Belarus in the pool stages.

The stout Belarus side, coached by Dutchman Herman Kruis, then held their nerve to prevail 4-3 to spark wild celebrations after a riveting ending.

Holland had won the Euros twice in the last four years, with four successive final appearances, while Belarus had finished third in the previous two editions, including in Minsk four years ago.

And this victory marked their finest achievement, a first gold as Maryna Nikisina slotted home to give Belarus a 4-3 shoot-out victory.

The Czech Republic took bronze with a 2-1 shoot-out victory over Germany, the defending champions.

The Hockey Paper will produce a full feature on Belarus’ triumph in our next issue.

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