Sunday, August 28, 2011

Dutch women win a record 8th European title

Netherlands defeat Germany 3-0 in GANT EuroHockey Championship final

On the final day of the women's GANT EuroHockey Championship 2011, the Netherlands won the final against Germany, England defeated Spain for Bronze, and Belgium and Ireland logged wins to send Azerbaijan and Italy in Europe's second division for 2013. Kim Lammers of the Dutch team won the topscorer award, while German superstar Natascha Keller was elected Most Valuable Player.

The grand final of the tournament started with brilliant sunshine and a well filled stadium, with equal parts of the crowd supporting record and current title holder the Netherlands and the German hosts. The Dutch imposed themselves early, taking control of the game and scoring their first after 8 minutes when Marilyn Agliotti deflected a penalty corner flick into the net with a mid air swing. In a lively game, the ball went back and forth but the Dutch looked more dangerous than the Germans who struggled to find their way past Oranje's defenders. Ten minutes later, Ellen Hoog extended the lead to two goals with a fierce reverse stick shot from the top of the circle. During the remaining ten minutes in the first half, both sides had their opportunities, including short corners at both ends, but neither side could find the goal, and they went into halftime with a two goal advantage for the Netherlands.

The Dutch remained the dominating team in the second half, despite a solid performance from and some good opportunities for the German side. Yvonne Frank in the German goal put forward some great saves to ward off more Dutch goals, but she eventually could not avoid Lidewij Welten scoring a third goal for Oranje from a penalty corner rebound in the dying minutes of the match, and with dark clouds having moved in fast again, with less than 2 minutes on the clock, the skies opened up and the girls in orange danced in torrential rain and hail to celebrate another, entirely deserved European Champion title.

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