Sunday, December 3, 2023

Euro Hockey 2023: Germany women claim home bronze, England well beaten

Monchengladbach — Germany women see themselves as a team in “development mode”, while coach Valentin Altenburg, who took over 18 months ago, admitted that he lost “a lot of strength and grey hair” at the start of last summer’s World Cup campaign, where they finished fourth.

Well, Germany summoned the resolve here after losing their semi-final as hosts and went one better than Terrassa to play with freedom and intent to claim EuroHockey bronze against an England side which finished medalless for the second campaign running. 

A 3-0 win was underpinned with 12 sights on goal from corners to England’s none as David Ralph’s side put one last shift in to no avail, leaking 10 goals and failing to score for the second game running

Ellie Rayer had the first English shot on goal, the first real chance for over 60 minutes after their Dutch dismantling, when her forehand swing forced a diving save from Julia Sonntag.

Charlotte Stapenhorst’s tight skills won the first of five German corners as England’s runners blocked danger. On the fifth, danger flicker Sonja Zimmermann finally struck low to her favoured right corner and beat England’s lines on the left posts.

England responded as they needed to, with direct running led by Rayer on a turnover before the first quarter hooter. As Germany backed off, the East Grinstead speedster zigzagged into the circle but her flick went just wide of the post.

Germany strolled to a bronze medal over England PIC: Worldsportpics

Holly Hunt went even closer in the second quarter. A right-sided Sophie Hamilton won her tackle to set Hunt off running across the circle. She fired a low reverse, which spun off the post and across goal to safety. 

Nike Lorenz forced an easy glove away with five minutes left of the half. Die Danas, though, kept up the momentum and when Stapenhorst cut through England’s defence and darted right, she slotted neatly past a helpless Sabbie Heesh.

Germany dominated the third quarter, Lorenz forced two saves while the impressive Kira Horne won a brace of corners to stand Germany on nine for the match. In the last quarter, the combative Tess Howard was green carded, her two minutes putting her out of the game to at least earn rest as England’s best player.

With three minutes’ left and Heesh taken off, a German break, started from Lorenz, was finished with ease by Jetter Fleschutz. Germany should have had a fourth from Hanna Granitzki with another clear circle but dragged wide late on.

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