The Netherlands is European champion for the seventh time in history. The Hockeys defeated England 2-1 after a thrilling final that was interrupted by thunder for 45 minutes and was full of VAR moments. In addition to the European Championship gold, there was another prize: an Olympic ticket, which was also won.
It should give hockey players a great feeling. You don’t have to worry about the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OKT) in the winter. Eight countries will compete in Lahore (Pakistan) and Valencia (Spain) for six Olympic tickets. The Dutch team has now escaped this misery by winning the European title.
So, no nerve-wracking matches against Spain, Germany, Belgium or any other country against which things could easily go wrong. Through OKT, the Dutch national team qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games at the beginning of 2020. Now national coach Dilmi can prepare his team for Paris in peace, calm and in his own way for a year.
After the match against Belgium on Friday night, in which the Netherlands played the “worst first half in two years” according to national team coach Delme, the Netherlands dominated the final against England, who beat hosts Germany in the semi-final shootout.
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The Hokies should have gone into halftime with a bigger lead. Dirk de Velder used a rebound after Terrance Peters hit the post: 1-0. But Thierry Brinkmann, Doku Telgenkamp and Tess van Dam could also have scored. In addition, the English goalkeeper cleared another ball off the goal line. England was still alive.
Both teams were ready for the second half when the storm broke. They can go back inside, this time for 45 minutes. But the Netherlands also dominated after the start of the second half, and who else Doku Telgenkamp doubled the lead on the slide, following the best Dutch attack of the tournament: 2-0.
Exciting final stage
However, it got interesting after Sam Ward led 2-1. Especially when the England national team coach changed his team’s goalkeeper with a field player eight minutes before the end. At that moment, the Dutch national team played two minutes with one player less (green Jonas De Geus). The audience moved to the edge of their seats. De Velder was supposed to decide the final match once and for all, but he hesitated for a long time and his shot could still have been blocked.
Therefore, the goal was scored at the other end according to an old sporting law. Phil Roper fumbles the ball past Maurits Visser: 2-2. The Netherlands contested the goal. The video referee studied the part carefully. It lasted eight minutes. At first, her ruling was: correct goal, then she reversed her decision and awarded a penalty kick, which Visser executed. Another VAR moment, because the Dutch goalkeeper moved too early. So yes. Nicholas Pandorak got a second chance. Once again Visser won the match. England fought back. Now without success.
The Dutch fought to the end with a fighting mentality. The hockey players withstood English pressure and penalty kicks. In this way they secured the Games and after a brilliant final they were crowned European Champions for the seventh time. And that’s even without using one of the thirteen penalty kicks during the tournament.
Bronze to Belgium
Bronze went to Belgium earlier in the day. The team of Dutch national coach Michel van den Heuvel won the final match at the expense of world champion Germany 2-0.
Belgium, which lost to the Netherlands in the semi-finals, opened the scoring in the first quarter through Nelson Onana. Florent van Opel made it 2-0 before half-time on behalf of the Olympic champion.
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