The Netherlands made it four successive women’s EuroHockey Championship titles as two goals in the first five minutes saw them deny Belgium a first title.
Marijn Veen and Freeke Moes snatched the vital goals that meant they were always in the ascendancy on the scoreboard and while Belgium ensured they never raced away, it meant another perfect week in orange.
They collect the ticket to next summer’s Olympic Games into the bargain, meaning they avoid the qualifiers.
It was a breathtaking start with Veen poking in the first goal with only 70 seconds on the clock after strong battling from Felice Albers and Joosje Burg.
Then Moes wriggled out of a challenge from a pin-point cross from the right from Pien Dicke before finishing off.
Abi Raye did get one back from the left baseline after Delpine Marien’s initial preparation work.
The two-goal gap was restored in the 26th minute, however, when Xan de Waard set Burg free on the right and her intended cross took a heavy touch off a defensive stick for 3-1.
“We had some more chances in the first half to get a few more goals but after the rest, Belgium came more at us and put more pressure on and made it harder!” player of the match Moes said after the win.
“We really felt that in our team. We were not really in control and it took a while to get that control back. But overall we are so happy. Our family and friends are all here; we have a party here and then I don’t know where the night will bring us!”
For Belgium, they did pick up a number of prizes in addition to their silver medals – just their second in the women’s competition – with Charlotte Englebert voted the best player and Emily White the young talent by the press and the media.
Yibbi Jansen was the tournament top-scorer with seven goals while Italy’s Lucia Caruso was the best goalkeeper.