Hockey: English teams second best to European rivals

The European Junior Nations Cup ended in disappointment for England's hockey teams at the end of their campaigns in Alcala la Real, Spain, and in Lausanne.

The European Junior Nations Cup ended in disappointment for England's hockey teams at the end of their campaigns in Alcala la Real, Spain, and in Lausanne.

In Spain the women were defeated 2-1 by the Netherlands in the final, while in Switzerland the men had to settle for fourth after losing 0-1 to Spain. The teams finished in identical places two years ago.

Against the Dutch in the final, England's women, fielding five full internationals, were trailing after seven minutes as Maud Mulder put the Dutch ahead. Loughborough student Cathy Gilliat-Smith, who had scored England's winning goal in Friday's 2-1 semi final victory over Germany, fired home an equaliser in the 30th minute.

In a fiercely contested second half, England's hopes of glory were ended when Alessia Padalino scored the winner with a 58th-minute penalty corner strike.

Scotland, who were beaten 2-0 by England last Wednesday, had to settle for fourth place after losing 0-2 to Germany in the bronze medal game.

The Dutch men emulated their female counterparts by taking the men's title with a 3-1 win against Germany.

England, who played a goalless draw with Spain in their opening game, yesterday lost out to a 65th-minute penalty corner conversion from Pau Quemada. It was a disappointing end to the tournament for the English squad that had promised much.

As with their seniors in the Commonwealth Games, goal scoring was their major problem. Apart from their 10-0 thrashing of Switzerland last Tuesday, England were restricted to just 4 goals in their other four games. Not the goal scoring rate of which champions are made.

With the recent news that 60 per cent of the players currently receiving lottery awards are to be dropped from the World Class performance scheme at the beginning of next year, the future does not look bright for England's men.

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