England's bronze battle

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Hockey

BILL COLWILL

reports from Dublin

Germany made a dramatic fightback in the European Championship final in Dublin yesterday after going two down at the interval. They fought back to draw 2-2 with the Netherlands before going on to win the penalty- stroke barrage 9-8 when the Dutch captain, Marc Delissen, put his stroke against the crossbar.

England eventually wore down stout Belgian opposition to take the bronze medal, thanks to a 59th-minute penalty stroke from Russell Garcia.

England made a splendid start when Calum Giles converted their second penalty corner in the fifth minute. However, Belgium struck back in the 18th minute, a cross from Patrick Pille surprising the England defence and finding Alexandre De Chaffoy.

Soma Singh was forced out through injury, with Kalbir Takher taking over in the middle to play his best game of the tournament. Although England encamped in the Belgium half for long periods after the interval, it was not until the 59th minute that they scored the winning goal.

Ben Sharpe's shot was blocked and England won a free hit on the edge of the circle. John Shaw slipped the ball to Takher who sent Rob Thompson forward to be floored by a crude tackle from Jean Willems.

The umpire signalled a penalty stroke which Garcia put away. So dominant were Takher and Laslett in midfield in the second half that the England goalkeeper, David Luckes, was not called into action.

ENGLAND: D Luckes (East Grinstead); P McGuire (Teddington), J Halls (Old Loughtonians), S Hazlitt (Hounslow), Soma Singh (Southgate, capt), R Garcia (Polo Barcelona), B Sharpe (Cannock), J Shaw (Southgate), R Thompson (Hounslow), J Laslett (Teddington), N Thompson (Old Loughtonians). Substitutes used: C Giles (Havant), Kalbir Takher (Cannock).

Belgium: M Van Oost, P Vanhemelen, V Van Diest, M Coudron (capt), T Renaer, J-M Deville, J Willems, P Pille, G Dewamme, A De Chaffoy, M Beunen. Substitutes used: J Beuenen, M Kinnen, L Kelecom.

Results, Sporting Digest, page 15

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