The Netherlands won their third European Nations Cup final in Amstelveen yesterday when they beat Spain, the Olympic champions, 4-1 on penalty strokes after an exciting 2-2 draw, writes Bill Colwill.
In a thrilling game, the Spanish twice came from behind to equalise as the game swung from end to end before a crowd of 7,000.
England, the defending champions, were beaten 1-0 by Germany in the bronze medal game, reversing the result of the last European final. This time Melanie Cremer's goal in the 66th minute was enough to decide a match which England dominated for long periods but failed to break down a German defence in which goalkeeper Birgit Beyer made a series of outstanding saves. Indeed, it was a game of brilliant goalkeeping with England's Jo Thompson also producing world-class form.
Sandie Lister, the England captain playing her 218th and last international, was her side's inspiration and she will be sadly missed.
England may have surrendered their European crown but there is a lot to build on from their displays in the Netherlands.
ENGLAND: J Thompson (Ipswich); J Atkins (Bradford Swithenbank); F Lee (Hightown), C Cook (Hightown), L Cope (Balsam Leicester); M Nicholls (Slough), S Lister (capt) (Ipswich), K Brown ( Slough), T Miller (Clifton); J Sixsmith (First Personnel Sutton Coldfield), T Cullen (Hightown). Substitutes used: A Bennett (Slough) and J Smith (Ipswich).