Coach Bobby Crutchley praised the physical and mental fitness of his England side after securing bronze at the EuroHockey Championships with a 4-2 win over Germany.
England were beaten 4-3 to the same opponents earlier in the tournament and the two sides couldn’t be split until goals from Mark Gleghorne and Phil Roper in the final quarter.
Mats Grambusch had put the Germans ahead but goals from Barry Middleton and Ian Sloan had England in front before Lukas Windfeder levelled the scores.
It means England Hockey leave the tournament with a brace of bronze medals after the women also beat Germany 2-0 to seal the final spot on the podium yesterday.
“There was a lot of guts there and great goalkeeping. To see Mark Gleghorne get up there to get all the way up to score the goal that wins it, it shows heart more than the head,” said Crutchley
“We have a lot of fourths under our belt so we are very pleased with a medal from a tough competition like this.
“The standard of competition is getting tougher and tougher. We keep improving but so does everyone else. The physical intensity, I am glad I am not playing anymore!”
Germany took the lead when Grambusch deflected home a penalty corner in the opening quarter but Middleton levelled with England’s own, very similar, set-piece routine.
And with Germany down to ten men, Sloan put England ahead as he collected the ball inside the D before spinning and firing the ball home.
Another penalty corner, this time from Windfeder, made it 2-2 after 43 minutes of play.
The decisive goal came thanks to a fine finish from Gleghorne, the 32-year-old diving full length to reach a well-timed David Ames cross with Roper sealing the bronze.
And defender Liam Sanford was delighted with the attitude of his England team-mates to bounce back from semi-final defeat and earn a place on the podium.
“Playing them in the group phase, losing 4-3, then playing quite well and losing to the Dutch, it was quite easy to get ourselves back up for it,” he said.
“The crowd and the team spirit was incredible. We played with no fear and got the result we wanted.
“It was really nice to have the crowds supporting all the time. Such an incredible tournament, especially for just my second one.”