Hockey: Juniors take lot of stick

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The Independent Online
ENGLAND finished fourth in the European Junior Cup here on Saturday. After promising so much in their early games, they were beaten 7-1 by Germany in the bronze medal game, the Netherlands winning a penalty shoot-out 4-2 to take the title after drawing 2-2 with Spain in the final.

The only consolation for British interests was Scotland's 3-0 win against Wales, which gave them the last European qualifying place in next summer's World Cup finals, to be played in Spain at Terrassa.

Against Germany, England recovered from going a goal down with a spectacular reverse stick shot from Rowan Davis. They were then taken apart by a side working efficiently again following their semi-final defeat by the Netherlands.

As the Germans moved into top gear, England grew careless and afterwards Mike Hamilton, the team's coach, was unable to hide his disappointment at finishing without a medal.

He considered that valuable experience had been gained, but conceded that one or two positions needed strengthening before next summer.

'We have a lot of work to do, but I came here to qualify and it would have been a bonus to win a medal,' he said. 'Our target remains a World Cup medal and I believe we have the makings of a squad able to achieve it. Today's bronze medal game could so easily have been the final.'

BMW EUROPEAN JUNIOR CUP (Vught): Final: Netherlands 2 Spain 2 (Netherlands won 4-2 on pens). Play-offs: 3/4th: England 1 Germany 7. 5/6th: Wales 0 Scotland 3. 7/8th: Czechoslovakia 1 Switzerland 3.

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