England women march into EuroHockey final

England women march into EuroHockey final

28 August 2015 / 22:25

Laura Unsworth admitted England were determined not to allow themselves any regrets after beating beat Spain 2-1 to book their place in the final of the EuroHockey Championships.

Goals from Alex Danson and Lily Owsley proved Spain’s undoing despite Georgina Oliva’s splendid strike setting up a nervous finish.

England had started the brighter with chances for Shona McCallin and Danson before the latter fired in her fourth of the tournament on four minutes following a penalty corner.

They continued to push for a second although goalkeeper Maddie Hinch had to be alert to the danger of Gloria Comerma shortly before the interval to preserve her side’s lead.

Spain drew level with a minute left of the third quarter when Oliva hit a searing backhand shot into the top corner but Owsley forced the ball home following good build-up play on 52 minutes.

The visitors threw everthing at their opponents in search of another equaliser but the England backline held firm to see out the game and set up a final showdown against the Netherlands on Sunday.

“It hasn’t really sunk in yet. It was a really tough match but we played our hearts out to the very last minute,” said Unsworth.

“We knew if we kept playing our game the second goal would come. We were hanging on at the end but we got over the line. I can’t wait for Sunday.

“We got the early goal but Spain are an improving side and they gave everything.”

If England are to seal the title on Sunday, they will have to beat Olympic and world champions the Netherlands.

But Unsworth is confident they have an added advantage in the home crowd as they chase a second EuroHockey title following victory in 1991.

 “The crowd was unbelievable tonight. When they sang the national anthem it gave me goosebumps. It was an incredible night,” she added.

“We have special memories of three years ago in the Olympics and this place is becoming home, we love playing here.

 “We have the 12th man of the crowd, we are fit and strong and we will go out and go after them.”

Scotland’s survival in the European Nations Championship is now less than secure however after they slipped to a 1-0 defeat to Belgium in the second relegation pool match.

The Belgium’s scored in just the opening minute through Louise Versavel leaving Scotland chasing the game and they were never able to force the equaliser.

It means Belgium are all but guaranteed a top two finish, and with it survival in the top flight, while Scotland could still join them if they beat Poland tomorrow.

"I was very disappointed at the level of performance given the high standards we had set in the original pool competition, we didn`t deserve anything from today,” said Scotland coach Gordon Shepherd.

“We need to return to level we set in the pool matches for the final game against Poland.”

© Sportsbeat 2015