Shootout heartache for hosts at European Championships

Nick Catlin tried hard to accentuate the positives as England's men suffered penalty shoot-out heartache against Germany at hockey's European Championships in London.

Markus Weise’s side had edged in front after goals from Martin Zwicker and Lukas Windfeder had cancelled out Mark Gleghorne’s opener but Ashley Jackson’s late penalty stroke took the semi-final into a shootout.

Nicolas Jacobi was the hero for his side, saving twice in the shootout to condemn Bobby Crutchley’s team to the bronze medal match against Ireland.

“It doesn’t get much closer than that," said Catlin.

"It’s probably the best semi-final I’ve been involved in since I came into the team. We certainly turned up and played our part but we went from the ecstasy of making 2-2 to the agony of losing on shootout."

However, Catlin believes it's only a matter of time before fortunes are reversed and he urged Sam Ward to bounce back from the disappointment of his shoot-out miss by ensuring he left the tournament with a medal.

"We’re there or thereabouts. That’s the closest we’ve ever pushed them in a major tournament," he added.

"The more we play these games the closer we’re getting. If we keep playing the way we did today we won’t lose these games every time. The shootout is a bit of a lottery - Germany seem to win a few more than they lose but we are very close.

"Sam Ward will be ok and he’ll come back from it. It’s important not to wallow. We’ll have debrief and look at where we can improve ahead of Ireland on Saturday. I have no doubt we’ll bounce back and produce a good performance.”

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