Sunday, May 19, 2024

Netherlands men rout Wales to secure EuroHockey semi-final berth

Mönchengladbach A Welsh supporter was asked to show why the nation has such a strong voice and he duly obliged during half-time here. But it was the Netherlands calling the tune on the pitch as they thumped Wales 8-1 to secure passage into the men’s EuroHockey semi-finals.

Wales had three penalty corners to the one accrued by the Dutch, but the Oranje men showed why they are considered flat-track bullies against the lesser nations in an unrelenting force of direct hockey and eye for goal.

Duco Telgenkamp got them off to a flying start with his diving touch making it 1-0 and then he produced some ball bouncing skills to wriggle into space and fire home a backhand shot for the second in the seventh minute.

Stephen Kelly’s smart finish cut the gap to 2-1 but the two-goal buffer was restored before half-time, Koen Bijen with the mid-air control and tomahawk finish.

And they raced away with the game in the second half. Terrance Pieters turned in a Thijs van Dam pass for 4-1; van Dam thumped in the next.

Jorrit Croon and Bijen added another couple within seconds of each other and Thierry Brinkman raised the total to eight.

Joep de Mol said of the result: “The goal today was to qualify because they got a point off Germany and are not a bad squad. We are happy with the win and setting the tone for the semi-final and we did it pretty well.

“Tomorrow is about getting in the right headspace for, I think, Belgium – we know them, they know us. There won’t be a lot of surprises and it will be a good semi if we continue as we did today.” 

Red Lions take foot of the gas

Belgium completed their group stage with a third straight win, defeating Austria 3-1 to ensure they took top spot.

Alexander Hendrickx was the chief protagonist with two penalty corner goals in the first quarter setting the tone. Nelson Onana then got a deft touch to Loick Luypaert’s ball into the circle in the 25th minute.

Fülöp Losonci chipped the ball skyward, up and over Loic Van Doren, to pull one back for Austria before half-time. After that, Austria defended well with Xaver Hasun to the fore with the score remaining the same.

Belgium prevailed 3-1 PIC: Worldsportpics

“It was what we expected,” said Manu Stockbroekx. “We had to give all the respect to Austria, they have some really strong players and we wanted to improve our game which we did. There are areas we can improve for the semi-finals but overall we can be satisfied.

“Consistency is something we look for if we play for the top prizes and we can be happy with our discipline even if this game isnt so important for the pool. 

“What we our writing for our country in sport has never happened before so that hunger is a given and we want to maintain this nice story, this positive story for Belgium and hockey in general. Whenever you get the opportunity to do this, it is enough to get up in the morning and train with that hunger.”

Total Hockey

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