EuroHockey 2015: England beat Netherlands in penalty shootout

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England wins Euro title in shootout

England women came from 2-0 down before beating the Netherlands on penalties to win the EuroHockey Championships for the first time since 1991.

Maddie Hinch was the hero, saving three penalties and making a number of other brilliant stops during the game.

Caia van Maasakker struck twice to put the world and Olympic champions in control at the Olympic Park.

But England netted twice in the final quarter through Sophie Bray and Lily Owsley to force the shootout.

A rousing fightback

England skipper Kate Richardson-Walsh celebrates with fans after the victory
England skipper Kate Richardson-Walsh celebrates with fans after the victory

The hosts struggled in the first half and were grateful to Hinch, who was named goalkeeper of the tournament at the World League semi-finals earlier this year.

Great Britain won that competition too, but England rode their luck at times on Sunday - the Netherlands having 22 shots on goal to England's seven, a reward for their dominance of possession (65%).

However, their fightback from 2-0 down was extraordinary - both Bray and Owsley scoring from close range at the end of well-worked penalty corners to deny the Dutch.

That seized the initiative for Danny Kerry's side, who scored three of their four penalties while the Dutch only beat Hinch once.

Hinch rewarded for her homework

Maddie Hinch
Maddie Hinch checked her notes on the opposition players before the penalty shootout

Holcombe keeper Hinch, 26, checked her hand-written notes on the pitch before facing the Dutch penalty-takers - and it paid dividends.

"I am renowned as a being a bit of a geek on penalties but as soon as it was the shootout it was my turn to step up," she said. "This team has had so many highs and lows but we deserve this."

Meanwhile, captain Kate Richardson-Walsh, 35, said it was a dream to lift the trophy.

"My whole career I have wanted to stand on top of the podium," the Mancunian said. "I wanted to stay in my kit the whole night and now I can do it.

"I was thinking 'don't be another Commonwealths (silver), another European Championships (silver)' but this team is learning.

"It was not pretty and we made it hard but we did it. With 15 minutes left we just had to keep believing. It was our day, things that normally sneak past went in."

To complete a memorable afternoon, England forward Alex Danson picked up the player of the tournament award.

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