Fourth for England but Great Britain – who will now retain a large majority of this team – can now go forth to the Tokyo Olympics in fine fettle after matching world champions Belgium over two EuroHockey games in Amsterdam.
England finished with more circle penetration, possession and corners. But Belgium seized on a circle nudge, turnover and their own ball retention skills to edge past England 3-2 at the Wagener Stadium as Sam Ward notched his sixth goal of the tournament, including a dragflick from the Ashley Jackson back catalogue, with a penalty corner double.
Victory for Belgium, coupled with their losing performance against Holland in the semi-final, suggested that Shane McLeod’s marauding Lions are nearing their best again. Defeat left England missing out on a medal for the third time in five EuroHockey editions. It wasn’t the ending captain Adam Dixon was looking for in his final Euros, but there was still plenty to savour ahead of leading his side in Japan next month.
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