Hockey: Sharpe fires `bronze' hat-trick

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The Independent Online
GERMANY, IN a dramatic penalty stroke shoot-out, won the European Cup here yesterday and with it automatic qualification for the Sydney Olympic Games and the next World Cup. After a 3-3 draw with the Netherlands, they won 5-4 on penalties. England took bronze beating Belgium 7-2.

Ben Sharpe celebrated his 100th appearance for England with a well-taken hat-trick, scoring the first two when the going was at its toughest. Belgium opened strongly and scored in the fourth minute through their captain, Marc Coudron.

The game hinged on a save by Jon Wyatt on the goal-line two minutes into the second half and Coudron's penalty stroke a few minutes later, which rocketed off the bar.

England moved back into top gear, John Bell scoring an opportunist goal 20 minutes into the second half. Four England goals, including a Mark Pearn hat-trick and Sharpe's third, ended all Belgian resistance.

ENGLAND: S Mason (Reading); M Johnson (Cannock), J Wyatt (Reading), J Halls (Cannock), B Waugh Capt. (Southgate); B Sharpe (Cannock), B Garrard (Teddington), R Garcia (Harvestehuder, Hamburg),C Giles (Southgate), D Hall (Guildford), M Pearn (Reading). Substitutes used: A Humphrey (Cannock), J Wallis (Teddington), G Fordham (Hounslow), D Luckes (East Grinstead), J Bell (Brooklands ).

BELGIUM: V Deneumostier; T Renaer; S Mommens, P Vanhemelen, M Beunen; J Willems, V Kholopov, M Coudron Capt.; G Dewamme, E van der Gracht, A de Chaffoy. Substitutes used: P Pille, M Kinnen, P Gierts.

Umpires: M Gruson (Fr) and E Silvano (It).