Despite an excellent performance by Scotland, clinical German finishing saw the host nation win 4-0 on day one of the Women’s EuroHockey Championship in Monchengladbach.
It was the worst possible start for Scotland when the home side won a penalty corner inside the first minute. It resulted in a thunder bolt into the bottom left corner by Sonja Zimmermann to make it 1-0.
The early goal didn’t deter Scotland’s positivity and the Tartan Hearts tore forward. They nearly grabbed a quick equaliser after some good aggressive play created the opportunity for Heather McEwan to equalise, but a good save denied the goal.
Then some good inventive play by Sophie Hinds won a penalty corner for Scotland. Amy Costello’s powerful low effort was blocked, but the rebound caused havoc in the German circle before the ball was cleared.
Just as the Scots were making excellent progress, they were hit by a German sucker punch. A quick German attack down the right opened Scotland up for a well worked goal by Lisa Nolte to make it 2-0 to the hosts.
Despite the score line, Scotland looked good, and dominated the possession. Distribution from the back was excellent, and set the Scots upon waves of attacks.
In what can only be described as a ‘sickener’, bearing in mind Scotland’s excellent second quarter performance, Germany scored a third right on half time. Zimmermann once again blasted a penalty corner into the net to make it 3-0.
At the start of the second half, Scotland almost pulled one back. The Scots opened the German defence up down the right, and under intense pressure, Germany managed to force the ball clear.
Scotland continued to create chances, with Bronwyn Shields and Fiona Burnet having attempts at goal.
A sensational save by Amy Gibson at the end of the third quarter, low to the right post, denied Germany a fourth.
Early in the fourth quarter, the right post denied Germany a goal as they burst into the Scots circle.
Scotland continued to impose themselves on the game, but it would be Germany who would strike to go 4-0 up in the final quarter with a low shot on the turn by Charlotte Stapenhorst. There would be no further goals, and the Scots face Ireland tomorrow night in their second match.
Head coach Chris Duncan said, “I’m proud of our performance and for large parts of the game we showed what we can do. It was real bravery to play how we did against such a high quality team, but that’s what we’re all about. We’re a forward thinking attacking team, and we definitely showed that.
“Tiny details exposed us, but we caused problems, and we rattled them at times.
“I’m proud of how we managed the game, we didn’t go into our shells, and we asked questions of them. We created chances, but just need to learn the details that punished us.
“We’re into the tournament now, and we’re ready to go for the next games, and looking forward to the next match against Ireland.”
Scotland 0-4 Germany (S. Zimmermann x2; L. Nolte; C. Stapenhorst)