EuroHockey 2013: Ireland women miss out on semis after defeat

EuroHockey 2013: Ireland 0-3 Belgium

Ireland's women failed to make the European Championships semi-finals after a 3-0 defeat by hosts Belgium.

The Irish needed to win in Boom to progress but Belgium went through to the semis by securing a deserved win.

Anouk Raes struck a first-half opener while Lisa Jacob hit a post from a penalty stroke on 52 minutes.

It was a costly miss as Belgium added two more goals from short-corner moves, with Anne-Sophie de Scheemaekere and Erica Coppey on target.

Audrey O'Flynn fired wide from an early short corner before Belgium seized control.

Raes created space from a short corner to drill the ball into the corner of the Irish net on 23 minutes.

Ireland rarely threatened and Belgium continued to press after the interval with a series of short corners.

Goalkeeper Emma Gray thwarted the hosts along with superb defending from Nikki Symmons, who kept out three goal-bound strikes.

Ireland managed to launch a counter-attack and a penalty was awarded for a foul on Alex Speers, only for Jacob to be denied by the woodwork.

De Scheemaekere's shot squeezed past Gray to make it 2-0 in the 56th minute and Coppey scored from a rebound with six minutes left to seal the victory.

Ireland will now face Spain on Thursday and Scotland two days later in a battle to avoid relegation - two teams of the four will be relegated at the end of the week.

"It's a fair reflection, Belgium were better than us," said Ireland captain Alex Speers, whose team are likely to face Scotland in the relegation pool on Saturday.

"We have to dust ourselves off for the relegation pool. It'll be a typical Irish-Scotland match, we've played many times and it's a battle all over the pitch. Both teams know exactly what to expect."