England women’s captain Kate Walsh admitted the joy of picking up EuroHockey silver will take some time to sink in after she was only able to focus on the title that got away after losing to Germany in a thrilling final.
In a breathless showpiece England and Germany could not be separated at full-time with the score locked at 4-4.
This meant a nerve-wracking penalty shootout to decide the champions with Germany scoring two of their four attempts, and none of Walsh, Alex Danson, Laura Unsworth or Georgie Twigg managing to convert for England.
England’s women still had plenty of reasons to smile though as they contested their first EuroHockey final for 22 years, however Walsh insisted she was struggling to see the positives straight away.
"Having practised [penalties] so many times over the years, you feel confident going in there," said Walsh, who picked up her first European silver of her career having won bronze five times previously. "It's just 50-50 and it didn't go our way.
"It's funny how happy you are in bronze position, because you've won your last game.
"At the moment it's sad but I know, when we look back, we'll be happy."
England got off to a flyer as Twigg converting the rebound from a Walsh penalty corner for the opener.
However Germany came straight back and equalised within two minutes through an Eileen Hoffman penalty corner.
Walsh responded with a penalty corner of her own only for the Germans to level once again as Tina Bachmann bundled home.
Germany went ahead for the first time in the match as Bachmann grabbed her second, but then Helen Richardson grabbed England’s third with a cool reverse-stick finish.
However England could not stop Germany from heading into half-time a goal to the good as Hannah Kruger struck seconds before the break.
This looked like it would be enough to hand Germany victory as goalkeeper Kim Platten kept England at bay, only for Lily Owsley to pounce late on to force the shootout.
But it wasn’t to be for England as Germany went on to claim their first European title in six years.
© Sportsbeat 2013