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Preview: The Ultimate Guide to the Eurohockey Championships – Amsterdam, Netherlands

Today (August 18th, 2017) is when the Eurohockey Championships is set to kick off in Amsterdam, Netherlands where both men’s and women’s competition is played side by side.  This is a tremendous message to portray to the rest of the sporting world, where hockey is enjoyed by all, concurrently.

The tournament is held biennially and is sure to be an explosive foray of sensational hockey, where the best teams in Europe are battling it out to be victorious and European champions by 27th of August.  There’s plenty of hockey to keep up with, so make sure you keep up to date with your favourite teams.

The hosts, Netherlands, are to get things started when they play Spain at 19:00 (BST).

Also, another excellent example of inclusion is the fact that the Parahockey event is also running alongside, where the tournament is currently in its third season. This event is run from 17th – 20th of August, so it’s already in full flow.  The EHF have stated on their website:

Intellectual Disability Hockey (ID) officially forms part of the  EuroHockey Championships every 2 years and we work very closely with all our member nations to try and fully develop this form of hockey. While the EHF ParaHockey Championships are the flagship event in promoting awareness of Intellectual disability hockey several other ParaHockey (ID) events are supported and promoted each year.

What a testament to the ‘hockey family’ ethos that is fundamental to hockey globally.  Hockey really is for everyone.

The England Hockey matches will also be available to watch live on BT Sport as well as on the live stream by Eurohockey.org – plenty of opportunity for you to keep track on what’s going on.

Teams who are competing in the tournament are in the following groups:

Men’s Group A Men’s Group B Women’s Group A Women’s Group B
Austria England Belgium England
Belgium Germany Czech Republic Germany
Netherlands Ireland Netherlands Ireland
Spain Poland Spain Scotland

In the women’s competition all home nations teams are in the same group, and only two from each group will advance to the semi-finals, so it really will be a great pool to keep an eye on.  Both home nations (England and Ireland) will be in the same group too, so let’s see how they get on against the strength of Germany and Poland hockey teams.

In 2019, where the competition is set to be held in Antwerp, Belgium, the Welsh and Scots will be joining them after experiencing tremendous success in the EuroHockey Championship II up in Glasgow, Scotland last week.

Predictions

There will be a festival of talent on display over the next 10 days, and definitely some personality and flare on show.  Here are some players to keep an eye on during the tournament (this list is not an exhausted one by any stretch of the imagination).

After scrutinising the pools here’s what we think will happen this week – let’s see if we’re right, hey?  But obviously,  we love sports because of how unpredictable it can be.

The Women

England are protecting their current championship gold after beating hosts Netharlands on penalties two years ago.  The English ladies are in great form and after losing to Spain in a recent test series (2-1) they have something to prove.  It’s evident that these ladies work hard on and off the pitch so I’m sure they’ll sail into the semi-final stages with ease.

Also, what is this fuss about captain Alex Danson’s age?  Being second oldest in the tournament? Does age matter? I think not – the skill on show will undoubtedly leave you utterly gobsmacked.  Let the games begin!

Netherlands have a world number 1 ranking reputation to uphold.  With hosting the championships meaning they have the home advantage, I have every faith that they will breeze through the group stages and see themselves contending for the winning spot.  Who knows, maybe we’ll have another final similar to 2015 again? They’ve been through a restructure and with exciting new talent emerging they are a force to be reckoned with.

Scotland are an exciting team who have been preparing tirelessly in order to make an impact during this tournament.  They have an incredible energy and the #TartanHearts are going to use every ounce of passion to fuel them through the group stages. They have already been through a gruelling test series against Wales recently, but they’ve rebuilt and will channel all that experience to push them on to a new level of success.  These girls will have a few surprises up their sleeves, for sure.

The Men

Germany are the highest ranked team in the Rabobank EuroHockey Championship tournament and have recently just secured a place at the World League Finals, which is set to be held in Auckland, New Zealand this November.  Last time in this competition they suffered a staggering loss against The Netherlands, who scored a torrent of goals into the German net, bringing the score to 6-1 by the final whistle.  I won’t be surprised if Germany have something to prove this time around. You know what they say, revenge is sweet.

England have recently restructured their captaincy roles, where they now have 3 men leading from across the pitch as opposed to the traditional 1.  Pinner, Sloan and Ward make up the trio that will surely inspire the team into the semi finals.  They look in great form and have been experimenting with different strategies during international tests before the championships.  They certainly have a great platform to build on after winning the Sultan Azlan Shah cup earlier on in the year. Only time will tell.

The hosts Netherlands handed Germany a masterclass last time around in 2015, can they do the same again?  They finished a disappointing 4th in the Olympics in 2016 and with the crowd behind them I’m convinced that they will find themselves in the mix for another golden opportunity to be crowned kings of hockey once more.  They can’t take anything for granted, but I’m sure they will give their fans an absolute real treat.

Oh my goodness, what a treat we’re all in for!

Fixtures

Friday, 18 August
Women
Netherlands v Spain (19:00)

Saturday, 19 August
Women
Germany v Scotland (09:15)
Belgium v Czech Republic (11:30)
England v Ireland (13:45)
Men
Belgium v Austria (16:00)
Netherlands v Spain (20:00)

Sunday, 20 August
Men
England v Poland (08:00)
Germany v Ireland (14:30)
Women
Spain v Czech Republic (10:00)
Ireland v Scotland (12:15)
Germany v England (16:45)
Belgium v Netherlands (19:00)

Monday, 21 August
Men
Spain v Austria (11:30)
Ireland v Poland (13:45)
England v Germany (16:00)
Belgium v Netherlands (19:00)

Tuesday, 22 August
Women
England v Scotland (11:30)
Ireland v Germany (13:45)
Spain v Belgium (16:00)
Netherlands v Czech Republic (19:00)

Wednesday, 23 August
Men
Germany v Poland (11:30)
Irleand v England (13:45)
Spain v Belgium (16:00)
Netherlands v Austria (19:00)

Thursday, 24 August
Women
Classification 5-8
A4 v B4 (11:30)
A3 v B3 (13:45)
Semi-finals:
B1 v A2 (16:00)
A1 v B2 (19:00)

Friday, 25 August
Men
Classification 5-8
A4 v B4 (11:30)
A3 v B3 (13:45)
Semi-finals:
B1 v A2 (16:00)
A1 v B2 (19:00)

Saturday, 26 August
Women
Classification 5-8
A3 v B4 (11:15)
B3 v A3 (13:30)
Bronze final:
TBC v TBC (16:00)
Final:
TBC v TBC (19:00)

Sunday, 27 August
Women
Classification 5-8
A3 v B4 (08:00)
B3 v A3 (10:00)
Bronze final:
TBC v TBC (12:30)
Final:
TBC v TBC (15:00)

For more information, check out the EuroHockey website here.

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