Lausanne, Switzerland: The EuroHockey Championships 2023 came to an end today with Netherlands claiming the women’s and men’s title and securing direct qualification to the Olympic Games Paris 2024. Netherlands women were the reigning champions and defended their title against Belgium in the finals, to lift the continental championship, for a record 12th time! Dutch men followed suit, defending their EuroHockey title, in a tense final against England.
Following Netherlands’ victory in the women’s competition, Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Spain and Italy will now move on to the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers 2024 where they will get a second opportunity to qualify for the Olympic Games Paris 2024.
Following Netherlands’ victory in the men’s competition, Great Britain, Belgium, Germany, Spain and Austria will now move on to the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers 2024 where they will get a second opportunity to qualify for the Olympic Games Paris 2024.
In the EuroHockey Women’s Championship, Netherlands and Germany were the dominant forces during the pool stages, securing 3 wins in 3 matches in Pool A and Pool B respectively. Belgium finished second in Pool A registering 6 points, while England did the same in Pool B, setting up semi-final clashes against Germany and Netherlands, respectively.
The first semi-final between Netherlands and England looked to be a close affair, with neither team managing to score in the opening half. But Netherlands drew first blood in the second half and that opened the floodgates as they ran away 7-0 winners! The second semi-final between Belgium and Germany went down to the wire. Belgium opened the scoring early in the first quarter through 18-year old Emily White, and while both teams had plenty of opportunities to score, the match ended at 1-0 in favour of Belgium.
Netherlands grabbed the initiative early in the opening quarter of the final, scoring twice inside 5 minutes through Marijn Veen and Freeke Moes. Belgium pulled a goal back in the second quarter, but Netherlands answered back almost instantly to take a 2-goal lead into the break. Netherlands put on a game management masterclass in the second half to seal a 3-1 victory and win a record 12th EuroHockey Championships title, which sees them gain direct qualification to the Olympic Games Paris 2024. Germany secured the bronze medal with a 3-0 win over England.
In the EuroHockey Men’s Championship, Belgium topped Pool A winning all three of their matches. Germany topped Pool B, winning their matches against Netherlands and France, but dropped two points against Wales, in an entertaining 3-3 draw. 6 points for England and Netherlands in Pool A and Pool B respectively, ensured their progression to the semi-finals as well.
Both semi-finals were closely contested affairs. A see-saw battle in the first semi-final saw Belgium take an early lead. But Netherlands scored twice in quick succession in the second half to snatch the lead back. Belgium equalised late in the third quarter setting up a tense final quarter, where a 57th minute goal by Duco Telgenkamp proved enough to lift Netherlands past Belgium. The second semi-final between Germany and England ended in a 0-0 draw at the end of regulation time and England edged past the hosts in the shoot-out, scoring on all 5 of their attempts, while Germany’s fifth attempt by captain Mats Grambusch, was saved by James Mazarello, which gave them the win and lifting them into the finals.
Netherlands were dominant in the opening exchanges of the final against England and were rewarded with an early lead as Derck de Vilder opened the scoring in the 9th minute. Netherlands added a second goal in the third quarter to extend their lead, but Sam Ward brought England back striking at the start of the final quarter. England played most of the final quarter without a goalkeeper as they searched for an equaliser. Their best chance to score arrived from two penalty strokes right at the end of the game. Nicolas Bandurak saw his attempt saved by Visser, but Visser had just strayed off his line before the shot was taken, so Bandurak had an opportunity for instant redemption, but once again his stroke was brilliantly saved by Visser, who got his left boot to the ball, giving his team the win, their seventh EuroHockey Championship gold medal and sealing their spot at the Olympic Games Paris 2024! Belgium secured the bronze medal, registering a convincing 2-0 win over Germany.
A total of 12 teams, in each of the men’s and women’s categories, will compete in Hockey at the Olympic Games. Hosts France have gained direct qualification. Australia (men and women) were winners of the Oceania Cup, which sealed their qualification. Netherlands (men and women) now qualify as the European champions, leaving 9 spots up for grabs. The winners of each of the remaining 3 continental championships in the Americas, Africa and Asia will also gain direct qualification to the upcoming Olympic Games. The FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers 2024, which will be held in January 2024, provide a second opportunity for teams to qualify for the remaining 6 spots at the Olympic Games.
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