EuroHockey Championships 2019: England qualify for semis after narrow Belarus win

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England survive scare to beat Belarus & reach EuroHockey semi-finals
EuroHockey Championships
Venue: Wilrijkse Plein, Antwerp Date: 16-24 August
Coverage: The BBC will be showing all home nations matches live on the BBC Sport website and Connected TVs

England's women have qualified for the semi-finals of the EuroHockey Championships after labouring to a 4-3 victory over Belarus in Antwerp.

Lily Owsley opened the scoring in the ninth minute and Isabelle Petter doubled England's lead with her first international goal.

Belarus fought back to level twice but England snatched victory late on.

The winner of the tournament will qualify for Tokyo 2020.

England captain Hollie Pearne-Webb said: "They [Belarus] were much better today than they had been in their previous two games.

"We knew it would be a fight but we made it a lot more difficult than it needed to be today.

"Some of our basics were not on it, we need to look at our tempo and the only positive is that we got the win and we are through to the semis.

"We will need a massive step up from today and will look at the first half against Germany as how we can play."

Belarus, who had not scored in their previous two games in Belgium and had conceded 24 goals, including a 13-0 defeat by Germany, really tested a poor England in the first half.

Mark Hager's side improved in the second half but Belarus, ranked 18 places below England in the world, equalised to make it 3-3 with eight minutes to go.

Hannah Martin then swept home in the 56th minute to secure the win.

The result means England, who beat Ireland 2-1 in their opening match on Sunday and followed that up with a 1-1 draw with Germany on Monday, finish top of Pool B with seven points.

If England win the event, it would mean Great Britain - who won gold at Rio 2016 - would be certain of defending the Olympic title in Tokyo.

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