Spain v England: Belfius EuroHockey Nations Championships 1

Spain v England: Belfius EuroHockey Nations Championships

A disastrous EuroHockey championships was confirmed for England’s men today. The draw against Wales was always going to heap the pressure on Danny Kerry’s men and they could not get the job done against Spain.

The first half was mostly in Spain’s favour in terms of play, however Sam Ward was able to pop up and convert a deflection near the penalty spot to give England an undeserved lead.

Spain equalised five minutes from the end of the first half with Pau Quemada spectacularly deflecting a high, narrowly wide shot into the goal. Spain were back in it and England were rocked.
Spain v England: Belfius EuroHockey Nations Championships 2
Sam Ward then picked up a green card for a push and Spain immediately punished England, taking the lead within seconds. This has been a consistent issue for England that when they go a player down they cannot defend effectively enough and immediately concede major chances.
With eight minutes remaining England pulled Harry Gibson from goal, unfortunate for him as he has had an excellent tournament. Seconds later Ashley Jackson converted England’s second PC to give the white team hope. Pressure came but the Spanish were resolute and England could not fashion a clear cut chance and drew.
The fact is with 32 circle penetrations England only won two corners while Spain had nine penetrations and scored twice. England have got to be more clinical and disciplined if they want to qualify for the Olympics. Thankfully they will reconvene in October and November as Great Britain and the return of some of the Welsh and Scottish players will help raise everyone’s level.
Spain v England: Belfius EuroHockey Nations Championships 3

COMMENT

Is it time for England and GB to drop the rule about playing in England? The Irish are reaping the reward of playing in Belgium and the Netherlands. The two best domestic leagues in the world offer players a chance to play hockey five to six days a week with professional set ups at most clubs in Belgium and all of the major clubs in the Netherlands. The players are paid by clubs and “live hockey”.

If England and GB release players to play there they can reduce the value of centralised contracts and invest it into travel expenses, players likely getting paid as much, or more, to play abroad and will be exposed to a higher standard of hockey.
This tournament may serve as a stark reality check for England and GB, in both men and women. Time to think.
Spain v England: Belfius EuroHockey Nations Championships 4