Goals, shootouts and a passionate, knowledgeable audience that roars every skill in the Wagener Stadium in Amstelveen – the last day of action at the 2021 Men’s EuroHockey Championship was a tough one. And for head coach Max Caldas and his Dutch team, a winning appearance in front of their fans was the perfect end to this EuroHockey adventure.

The Netherlands crowned an impressive campaign of the EuroHockey Championship 2021 with a dazzling display of offensive hockey when they played in Germany defeated on a penalty shootout to claim the gold medal and secure their spot at the 2023 FIH Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup India.
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Germany will also qualify for the 2023 Blue Riband event, as will bronze medalists Belgium, fourth-placed England and Spain, who finished fifth despite losing 3-2 to France in the last game of their season.

The Netherlands victory was just a reward for an outstanding performance that resulted in them falling behind their German rival twice during the game. The subsequent shooting was as close to perfect as possible, with Pirmin Blaak stopping two of the German attempts before Jorrit Croon scored the winner and Max Caldas took a final win on home turf before leaving for Spain after the Tokyo 2020 Olympics / p>
The mostly Dutch spectators in the Amstelveen Stadium played their part in this extraordinary final. But the German fans and neutrals will also appreciate the ice hockey presentation of two teams at the highest level.

The highly competitive tournament, in which some of the best teams in the world participate, also has the feeling in the wider ice hockey community an increasing momentum towards the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020. Surely the players left everything on the pitch when they took this opportunity to play competitive hockey in front of knowledgeable fans.

In the final, the first half was played at breakneck speed, with a surprisingly open and carefree approach than the ball flew from one end of the pitch to the other. While the Netherlands shaded possession, it was Germany that created more chances and the Dutch goalkeeper Pirmin Blaak was repeatedly called for remarkable saves.

A foul on Benedict Fürk finally broke the impasse. Christopher Rühr didn’t hesitate and shot the ball neatly past Blaak into the corner of the goal.

In the second half, Robbert Kemperman restored parity when he dipped on a loose ball and turned it into the German goal. This was the only goal of a third quarter that was embodied in the German goal by a high quality attacking game and an even better goalkeeping quality by Blaak and Alexander Stadler.

A game full of action exploded in drama in the last four minutes. Germany took the lead when Constantin Staib stabbed the ball over Pirmin. Caldas removed his goalkeeper to gain an advantage on the field and 10 seconds from time Jip Janssen shot a penalty corner home to send the game to penalties.
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After the penalty shootout, Player of the Game Blaak praised his team, saying that while he was on the bench for the final seconds of the game, he had complete confidence that his team would equalize and they would win the shoot-out. In the bronze medal match, Belgium defeated England 3-2. The score line reflected the nature of the game. While the competition was tough and England were slightly ahead in the early stages of the game, the world number two looked stronger towards the final whistle.

Belgium took the lead in the first quarter with a penalty converted by Tom Boon, and this goal separated the teams before half-time.
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England’s Sam Ward equalized shortly after half-time, only to see Thomas Briels restore his team’s lead a few minutes later. Tom Boon scored his second goal to make it 3-1 and although Ward scored again with a fabulous penalty corner to make it 3-2, head coach Danny Kerry’s men were unable to beat the veteran Belgian team Down.

While the top five teams can now look forward to their places at the FIH Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup India 2023, there is another opportunity to qualify for France, Wales and Russia.

These teams will be together with the teams who are placed 1-5 at the EuroHockey Championship II 2021, will take part in the European World Cup Qualifying Tournament 2021. This event offers two more places at the FIH Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup India 2023.

Player of the tournament: Pau Quemada (ESP)
Goalkeeper of the tournament: Pirmin Blaak (NED)
Top scorer: Tom Boon (BEL), Sam Ward (ENG) – 6.

Ref: https://www.pattayamail.com