Tough day for menís Home Nation sides as EuroHockey Championships group stages end

Spain v England #EHC2019
England, Scotland and Wales all endured a tough day in Antwerp as the group stages of the 2019 EuroHockey Championships drew to a close.

Danny Kerry’s England missed out on the chance of reaching a sixth straight Euros semi-finals as they could only manage a 2-2 draw with Spain.

Knowing only a victory would see them qualify ahead of their opponents, England were left feeling frustrated after a game in which they had chances to secure the three points.

Scotland’s group campaign came to a stuttering close as they were beaten 6-0 by Netherlands, while Wales lost ??? to Belgium in their final match.

All three sides will now compete with Ireland in Pool C to decide who will finish between fifth and eighth at this year’s event, with the bottom two sides being relegated to the EuroHockey Championships II for 2021.

Spain 2 (0)
Quemada (33’, FG), Arana (43’, FG)

England 2 (1)
Ward (21’, FG), Jackson (52’, PC)

Having drawn with Wales and lost to Belgium, only a victory would have been enough for England to finish in the top two of the group and secure their place in the final four.

They made a great start too, with Sam Ward lifting the ball over Quico Cortes to give his side the lead at half-time.

However goals from Pau Quemada and Diego Arana in the third quarter left England needing to score at least twice in the final quarter to claim the victory.

Ashley Jackson equalised with a stunning flick with eight minutes remaining but despite their best efforts, England’s attackers couldn’t penetrate the Spanish defence again.

That result now means that Great Britain’s men will have to play an Olympic qualifier later this year in order to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. 

Netherlands 6 (3)
Bakker (6’, FG), Brinkman (15’, PC; 37’, FG), van der Weerden (23’, PC), Janssen (58’, PC), Pruijser (60’, PC)

Scotland 0 (0)

Having cruelly been denied what would have been a huge win over Ireland in their previous game, Scotland were hoping to cause another upset against The Netherlands.

However the reigning champions took an early lead through Billy Bakker and never looked back, with Thierry Brinkman adding a second at the end of the quarter.

Mink van der Weerden added a third before half-time before Brinkman scored again in the 37th minute.

Scotland then held their own for the next period, with Lee Morton and Cameron Golden in particular causing problems for the Dutch defence.

But two goals in the final three minutes from Jip Janssen and Mirco Pruijser saw The Netherlands cruise to victory and top the group, while Scotland finished bottom.

Belgium 6 (4)
Hendrickx (15’, PC), Boon (15’, FG), de Kerpel (25’, FG), Charlier (28’, FG; 35’, FG), Briels (41’, FG)

Wales 0 (0)

Wales started the final men’s group game of the tournament knowing they could still reach the semi-finals if they beat the current world champions Belgium by more than four goals.

And while that may have seemed a distant prospect, they more than held their own in the opening quarter against the world’s highest ranked side, only to concede twice in the final minute through goals from Alexander Hendrickx and Tom Boon.

The second quarter followed a similar pattern, with Wales defence holding strong until the final few moments as Nicolas de Kerpel and Cedric Charlier added their names to the scoresheet.

Charlier then scored again early in the third quarter before captain Thomas Briels also found the back of the net, although Wales then managed to repel them for the final 19 minutes.

All three sides will now contest Pool C, with their results from the other teams to finish in the bottom two of their pools carried over, meaning each side will start on one point.

As it stands, Wales will face Scotland at 12:30 BST on Thursday 22 August while England will play Ireland at 14:45.

England will then face Scotland at 12:30 on Saturday 24 August before Wales go into battle with Ireland at 14:45.

All games will be shown live on BBC Sport’s digital platforms.