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News for 10 June 2021

All the news for Thursday 10 June 2021

EuroHockey Championship 2021 Men - 10 June

Amsterdam, Netherlands

All times GMT +2)

4 Jun 2021     GER v WAL (Pool B)     8 - 1
4 Jun 2021     NED v FRA (Pool B)     3 - 0

5 Jun 2021     ENG v RUS (Pool A)   5 - 0
5 Jun 2021     BEL v ESP (Pool A)   4 - 2
5 Jun 2021     FRA v WAL (Pool B)   2 - 2

6 Jun 2021     GER v NED (Pool B)   2 - 2
6 Jun 2021     ESP v RUS (Pool A)   5 - 1
6 Jun 2021     ENG v BEL (Pool A)   2 - 1

8 Jun 2021     BEL v RUS (Pool A)   9 - 2
8 Jun 2021     FRA v GER (Pool B)   5 - 6
8 Jun 2021     ESP v ENG (Pool A   2 - 3
8 Jun 2021     NED v WAL (Pool B)   6 - 0

10 Jun 2021 12:30     RUS v FRA (Pool C)
10 Jun 2021 14:45     ESP v WAL (Pool C)
10 Jun 2021 17:00     ENG v GER (SF1)
10 Jun 2021 20:00     NED v BEL (SF2)

Pool Standings

Pool A

Rank Team Played Wins Draws Losses Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Points
1 England 3 3 0 0 10 3 7 9
2 Belgium 3 2 0 1 14 6 8 6
3 Spain 3 1 0 2 9 8 1 3
4 Russia 3 0 0 3 3 19 -16 0

Pool B

Rank Team Played Wins Draws Losses Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Points
1 Netherlands 3 2 1 0 11 2 9 7
2 Germany 3 2 1 0 16 8 8 7
3 Wales 3 1 0 2 4 16 -12 3
4 France 3 0 0 3 7 12 -5 0

Pool C

Rank Team Played Wins Draws Losses Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Points
1 Spain 1 1 0 0 5 1 4 3
2 Wales 1 1 0 0 3 2 1 3
3 France 1 0 0 1 2 3 -1 0
4 Russia 1 0 0 1 1 5 -4 0

FIH Match Centre

EuroHockey Championship 2021 Women - 10 June

Amsterdam, Netherlands

All times GMT +2)

5 Jun 2021     NED v IRL (Pool A)   4 - 0
5 Jun 2021     ESP v SCO (Pool A)   4 - 1

6 Jun 2021     ENG v ITA (Pool B)    4 - 0
6 Jun 2021     GER v BEL (Pool B)   1 - 1

7 Jun 2021     IRL v SCO (Pool A)   1 - 0
7 Jun 2021     BEL v ITA (Pool B)   4 - 0
7 Jun 2021     ENG v GER (Pool B)   0 - 2
7 Jun 2021     ESP v NED (Pool A   1 - 7

9 Jun 2021     IRL v ESP (Pool A)   1 - 1
9 Jun 2021     GER v ITA (Pool B)    4 - 0
9 Jun 2021     BEL v ENG (Pool B)   1 - 1
9 Jun 2021     NED v SCO (Pool A)   10 - 0

Pool Standings

Pool A

Rank Team Played Wins Draws Losses Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Points
1 Netherlands 2 2 0 0 11 1 10 6
2 Spain 3 1 1 1 6 9 -3 4
3 Ireland 3 1 1 1 2 5 -3 4
4 Scotland 2 0 0 2 1 5 -4 0

Pool B

Rank Team Played Wins Draws Losses Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Points
1 Germany 3 2 1 0 7 1 6 7
2 Belgium 2 1 1 0 5 1 4 4
3 England 2 1 0 1 4 2 2 3
4 Italy 3 0 0 3 0 12 -12 0

FIH Match Centre

Late Belgium goal knocks England out of women's EuroHockey Championship

By Ali Iveson

Belgium's 58th-minute equaliser saw them through to the semi-finals and knocked out England ©Getty Images

Belgium and Spain each squeezed through to the semi-finals of the women's EuroHockey Championship by ending the group stage with a 1-1 draw - although not against one another.

In Group A in Amstelveen, the Spanish began their match against Ireland knowing that all they needed to do to advance was avoid defeat, and that they duly did.

Róisín Upton scored for Ireland in the second minute, converting from a short corner, but Begoña Garcia restored parity in the 12th, again from a penalty corner.

It finished 1-1, and that result was enough to see Spain through on goals scored.

Both sides finished the group with four points and a goal difference of negative three, but Spain advanced, effectively through the 56th-minute consolation they scored in a 7-1 thrashing from The Netherlands.

The Dutch, the hosts and defending champions, hammered Scotland 10-0 in the group's other game today, with Maria Verschoor scoring a hat-trick.

England's exit via a 1-1 draw came in heartbreaking fashion, as Giselle Ansley's 58th-minute goal appeared to have sent them to the final four.

Ansley dissected the Belgian goalkeeper and player on the post with an expert flick from a penalty corner to break the deadlock.

However, with fewer than 90 seconds remaining, Stephanie Vanden Borre scored a leveller, squeezing an effort under England shot-stopper Maddie Hinch from another short corner.

The result left Belgium on five points compared to England's four, and in second place in Group B, behind Germany.

This is the first time England have not reached the semi-finals in the competition's history.

Germany beat Italy 4-0 in today's other match.

Men's action takes centre stage tomorrow, ahead of the women's semi-finals on Friday (June 11).

Germany will face Spain and the host nation are up against neighbours Belgium.

Inside the Games

England's Women Narrowly Miss Out On EuroHockey Semis; Dutch Beat Scotland

It was another tough day at the 2021 EuroHockey Championships for the women as both England and Scotland endured disappointment.

Knowing only a victory would see them qualify in the top four, England could only draw 1-1 with Belgium in their final group game, meaning they finished third in their group and will enter Pool C knowing they have to finish top of that to qualify for the 2022 Women's Hockey World Cup.

They will be joined by Scotland, who suffered a heavy 10-0 defeat at the hands of The Netherlands to finish fourth in their pool.

England's women will next be in action against Ireland at 10:30 on Friday 11 June. Credit: World Sport Pics

With plenty riding on the game for both England and Belgium, their clash was a tight and cagey affair for much of it. Ambre Ballenghien fashioned the first chance of the game in the fourth minute, flashing a shot wide, before Maddie Hinch had to race off her line to thwart Abi Raye in a one-on-one situation early in the second half.

Heading into the final quarter, England won the game's first corner but Giselle Ansley's effort was blocked on the line. There was nothing anyone could do to stop her next effort though as she gave England the lead with two minutes remaining, seemingly securing their place in the semi-finals.

But less than a minute later Belgium won two corners of their own, with Vanden Borre scoring to send her side through to the semi-finals and also booking their place at the 2022 World Cup.

With The Netherlands and Spain (co-hosts of next year's tournament) also securing their places in the semi-finals, England can still reach the event by finishing fifth overall. That means they will have to beat Ireland and Scotland when they play them at 10:30 on Friday 11 June and 17:45 on Saturday 12 June respectively.

Scotland's women suffered a heavy defeat against world number one side The Netherlands. Credit: World Sport Pics

Having agonisingly lost their second game against Ireland two days before, Scotland went into their game against The Netherlands hoping to pull off a huge upset against hosts and world number one ranked side The Netherlands. But by the end of the first quarter they found themselves 3-0 down courtesy of a double from Eva de Goede and another strike from Marloes Keetels.

They held firm in the second quarter though, conceding no more goals, but the Dutch upped the tempo once again in the third quarter and added four more goals through Frederique Matla, Keetels, Maria Verschoor and Felice Albers. Verschoor then struck twice more in the final quarter to complete her hat-trick and Matla added a penalty stroke to take the Dutch into double figures.

Tomorrow is men's semi-final day, with England taking on Germany live on BT Sport 2 from 16:00. Earlier in the day, Wales will be looking to claim their second win of the tournament and look to secure their place in the top tier for another year when they face Spain at 13:45, also on BT Sport 2.

Great Britain Hockey media release

Draw Not Enough For England's Women To Reach EuroHockey Semi-Finals

England failed to qualify for the semi-finals of the 2021 EuroHockey Championships after only drawing with Belgium.

Giselle Ansley thought she had secured passage into the final four with a brilliant corner strike just two minutes from the end of the game.

But Stephanie Vanden Borre equalised from a corner of her own less than a minute later to secure the point the Belgians needed to finish second in the group. England now head into Pool C, where they will face Ireland and Scotland.

With The Netherlands and Spain having qualified from the other pool, England can still qualify for the 2022 World Cup by winning their two games in Group C and claiming a fifth-placed finish.

Giselle Ansley opened the scoring in the 58th minute, only for Belgium to equalise a minute later. Credit: World Sport Pics

With plenty riding on the game for both teams, the first half was a tight and cagey affair. Ambre Ballenghien had the clearest sight of goal in the first quarter, firing her shot wide of Maddie Hinch’s post, as the Belgians enjoyed plenty of possession early on.

England grew into the game in the second quarter and started to see the ball more, with Sarah Evans seeing a shot from the top of the circle in the 20th minute blocked while Lily Owsley started to cause a few issues with her direct runs. But both defences continued to hold firm, meaning the game remained goalless heading into half-time.

Hager’s side began the third quarter at a quicker tempo and thought they’d won a corner just three minutes into it, only for it to be correctly overturned after a review. Belgium then took charge of the game once more and had the game’s best chance to date when Abi Raye was one-on-one with Hinch in the 40th minute but the England goalkeeper was quickly off her line to smother the threat.

Ansley saw the game’s first corner saved on the line early in the final quarter but there was no keeping out her brilliant flick in the 58th minute as she looked to have secured the victory for her team.

But less than a minute later Vanden Borre smashes home a corner to ensure the game ended in a draw, giving her team the point they needed to reach the semi-finals while England finished third in the group.

England will return to action against Ireland on Friday 11 June

They will be back in action at 10:30 BST on Friday 11 June against Ireland before wrapping up their tournament against Scotland at 17:45 BST on Saturday 12 June. Wins against both and a fifth-placed finish will still see England qualify for the 2022 World Cup, with co-hosts The Netherlands and Spain having made the semi-finals.

Meanwhile, England’s men will contest their hotly anticipated semi-final against Germany at 16:00 on Thursday 10 June live on BT Sport 2.

Belgium 1 (1)

Vanden Borre (59’, PC)

England 1 (1)

Ansley (58’, PC)

Starting XI: Hinch (GK), Unsworth, Evans, Toman, Townsend, Rayer, Ansley, Pearne-Webb (C), Owsley, Balsdon, Petter

Subs (Used): Burge, Sanders, Neal, Hunter, Ledesma, Crackles

Subs (Unused): Heesh (GK)

England Hockey Board Media release

England fail to reach the semi-finals, for the first time in European Championship history

A second successive disappointing performance saw England fail to reach the semi-finals, for the first time in European Championship history, after being held to a 1-1 draw against a continually improving Belgium team in Amsteelveen.

England denied semi-final spot by Belgium

England were denied a spot in the EuroHockey Championships semi-finals after conceding a last-minute equaliser against Belgium in a dramatic 1-1 draw in Amsterdam.

Giselle Ansley's goal from a penalty corner with just two minutes left looked to have earned England the win they needed to reach the last four.

But Belgium hit back less than a minute later through Stephanie Vanden Borre.

The draw saw Belgium advance at England's expense.

And the result left England a tough task to earn a spot at next year's World Cup.

Mark Hager's team move into a new group involving the third and fourth-placed teams in Group A and Group B.

They will need to beat Ireland on Friday and Scotland on Saturday to finish fifth in the tournament to secure their World Cup qualification.

In the men's competition, England face Germany in Thursday's semi-final.

BBC Sport

Scotland defeated by phenomenal Dutch at EuroHockey Championships

Scotland women left everything out on the pitch against the world’s top-ranked team but were defeated 10-0 at the EuroHockey Championships in Amsterdam. Scotland now enter Pool C and will Play Italy on Friday, and England on Saturday, to decide the relegation places.

Scotland’s work rate from the start of the match was exceptional and the world champions had to work hard to break the Scots down.

The hosts eventually did so through a composed finish by Eva De Goede when she slipped the ball across Amy Gibson at a penalty corner rebound to make it 1-0.

It went to 2-0 just before the end of the first quarter following phenomenal penalty corner save by Gibson, but the rebound was buried by De Goede for her second of the match.

A third goal came moments after when the ball was buried from a tight angle by Marloes Keetels from another penalty corner rebound.

In the second quarter Scotland built a blue wall around their circle and defended superbly well to keep the world champions out. A surging run by Sarah Jamieson gave Scotland an opportunity from a counter attack, but she was crowded out just shy of the Dutch D.

At the start of the second half Frederique Matla got her name on the score sheet for the Dutch when she slammed a low and hard penalty corner into the bottom left corner.

Then a tremendous diving save by Gibson at her top left corner denied a fifth for the Netherlands. It would be 5-0 soon enough when a burst of pace by Keetels saw her zip into the Scots D, and she found the net with a delightful backhand dink over the advancing Gibson.

McKenzie Bell nearly scored for Scotland with an excellent snap shot on the backhand turn, but she found the strong pads of the Dutch keeper and the ball was booted clear.

The tenacity of Maria Verschoor forced home a sixth goal before a seventh goal arrived a short time later through a close range finish by Felice Albers.

Into the final quarter and a rocket by Verschoor made it 8-0, then the unstoppable Verschoor scored an almost identical goal to make it nine for the home side.

The brave Amy Costello was struck on the head by the ball on the line at a penalty corner Matla converted the resulting penalty stroke to make it ten.

Sarah Robertson had a chance for Scotland at the end, when she powered into the Dutch D, but the keeper stood up to the effort and retained a clean sheet for the phenomenal Dutch side.

Jen Wilson said, “We knew this would be an incredibly tough game, and we challenged ourselves against an absolutely world class outfit. We had periods where we defended well, but there were times where their class really showed.

“I’m proud of the moments where we took the game to them, and the players never stopped running right up until the end. But we have to be mindful of where we are on our journey, and where the Dutch are on theirs – preparing for the Olympics and are hosting the European championships.

“Now we’ll put this game to rest and look forward to our next game against Italy. We know Italy well, we we’re promoted together, and this will be a good battle.”


Spain 4-1 Scotland
Ireland 1-0 Scotland

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Netherlands turn on the style against the Scots

Scotland, who won promotion from EuroHockey Championship II two years ago, discovered the gulf between themselves as the 22nd ranked team in the world and the top team in the world, the Netherlands as the Dutch cruised to a 10-0 win in Amstelveen.

Ireland denied Euro semi spot and World Cup ticket on goals scored after Spain draw

In the end, Spain’s late goal in a 7-1 loss against the Netherlands proved pivotal as Ireland missed out on a maiden European Championship semi-final on goals scored following their 1-1 draw in Amstelveen.

Róisín Upton’s early goal had the Green Army in the frame for the win they needed but a Begoña Garcia equaliser in the 12th minute meant Spain got what they required, leaving Sean Dancer’s side to contest Pool C.

It also denied Ireland’s first chance at World Cup qualification but they remain live in the tournament with fifth place overall still up for grabs which would earn their passage to the 2022 competition.

As such, Hannah Matthews says the side must deal with the “devastation” quickly ahead of crucial games on Friday and Saturday.

“For the next few hours, we will feel a bit miserable and sorry for ourselves,” the Loreto player said.

“But then we just have to pick a point tonight; put it behind us, be a goldfish, forget about it. There’s still a job to do; there’s still World Cup qualification on the line and there’s a lot of girls back home that we need to get qualification for next summer!”

It was an intense battle between two sides who have met so often on the big stages over the past five years, both rising almost simultaneously to seventh and eighth in the world, winning medals at the 2018 World Cup.

In the end, Spain – level with Ireland on points and goal difference but needing just a draw because of their superior goals scored earlier in the group – were savvy and smart to stymie Ireland a regular sight of goal despite a dream start.

Naomi Carroll tore down the right channel to draw a penalty corner in the second minute. Her Catholic Institute club mate Róisín Upton duly finished off the set piece, a bullet drag-flick into the bottom corner.

Spain, though, were back on terms in the 12th minute. It was a slick piece of work, a stepover gifting Maria Lopez time to pick out Begoña Garcia at the injector’s spot and she swept home from close range.

It became an absorbing contest after that with Spain enjoying the majority of the ball and looking to press on while Ireland went into a counter-attack mode.

It meant precious few chances between the second and third quarters with the greens not overly troubled during spells down to 10 players to a couple of green cards, likewise Spain when Lucia Jimenez went to the sin-bin.

Ayeisha McFerran got a strong stick to deny Lola Riera just before the end of the third quarter, keeping the tie very much up in the air for a high octane final 15 minutes.

Lopez’s heavily deflected shot clattered off the post and fell invitingly for Hawkshaw to start a brilliant counter which culminated in Anna O’Flanagan earning Ireland’s second corner. Shirley McCay’s shot, though, was well dealt with by the Spanish defence.

Upton produced some heroics to clean up a huge Spanish chance while McFerran swept up three more chances to keep hopes alive.

That golden opportunity never accrued for Ireland in a frustrating endgame. It means they will now contest Pool C where four teams will battle it out for the one remaining World Cup spot from this competition.

“Heartbroken for now,” Matthews added. “We know Spain so well and they know us. It was always going to be difficult to get the tactics right and exploit each other.

“We just didn’t create enough opportunities; it was partly our own doing, partly them closing down the centre. We needed to create a bit more around the outside; we only got two corners and didn’t create a whole lot of scoring opportunities.”

Matthews will now look to dig into her archive of experiences – this was her 150th cap – over the next few days before Friday’s next Pool C tie to try and bounce back.

“We’ve experienced every scenario that’s possible over the last eight years or so! We definitely draw on that; there’s lots of quality teams in the Europeans so it will be hard no matter what but we will draw on it.

“I kind of forgot about it [being my 150th]! Look, its more about the quality of the caps and today was a great match. I said it to Clo [Watkins], we are so lucky in the year that has gone past that we are playing in a high stakes match like this, butterflies, all that. Just so privileged to play on a stage like this.”

Ireland’s next tie will be on Friday morning at 10.30am (Irish time) against an opposition to be confirmed later today. The concluding game on Saturday is against Italy at 3.30pm.

Pool A
Ireland 1 (R Upton) Spain 1 (B Garcia)

Ireland: A McFerran, R Upton, N Evans, K Mullan, S McCay, L Tice, N Carroll, H McLoughlin, L Holden, S Hawkshaw, A O’Flanagan
Subs: M Carey, M Frazer, C Watkins, N Daly, H Matthews, D Duke, L Murphy

Spain: M Ruiz, C Petchame, M Lopez, B Iglesias, L Riera, J Pons, B Garcia, X Gine, B Perez, G Oliva, L Jimenez
Subs: L Barrios, B Bonastre, C Mejias, A Torres-Quevedo, A Magaz, P Alvarez, M Garcia

Umpires: L Delforge (BEL), I Amorosini (ITA)

Irish Hockey Association media release

Ireland miss out on semi-finals after Spain draw and now face tough route to World Cup

Ireland were unable to build upon Roisin Upton's early goal from a penalty corner

Ireland's hopes of reaching the EuroHockey semi-finals were dashed by a 1-1 draw with Spain leaving them facing a play-offs route for a World Cup spot.

Roisin Upton's second-minute penalty corner gave the Irish a perfect start in Amsterdam but Begona Garcia levelled on 12 minutes.

Spain, needing only a draw to reach the semi-finals, dominated the remainder of the game against the sluggish Irish.

Ireland must earn fifth spot in Amsterdam to book a World Cup berth.

The Irish clinched a surprise silver medal at the 2018 World Cup in London where they defeated the Spanish on penalties in a dramatic semi-final.

However, the Spanish - at seventh, one place ahead of the Irish in the latest world rankings - avenged that loss as the draw guaranteed their World Cup spot in addition to reaching the semi-finals in Amsterdam.

The result saw Spain pipping the Irish on goals scored in Pool A as both finished with a goals difference of minus three after heavy defeats by the Netherlands.

Ireland lose way after early goal

While Naomi Carroll's brilliant run yielded the penalty corner which Upton netted, the Irish were soon on the back foot as Spain's high press seemed to unhinge them.

With the Irish being pinned back in their own half, a Spanish equaliser looked inevitable and it duly came from a penalty corner in the 17th minute as Garcia finished off a clever set-play after Lizzie Colvin's foot penalty.

Spain's domination was even more pronounced in the second quarter but the Irish held out until half-time.

Ireland rallied somewhat at the start of the third quarter but poor touches and misplaced passes invariably saw the sporadic Irish openings come to nothing.

Instead of Ireland pressing for a winner in the closing stages, it was the Spanish who were creating all the chances as Ireland keeper Ayeisha McFerran made two brilliant full-length saves and Maria Lopez also fired against the woodwork with Chloe Watkins and Upton also combining to make a last-ditch clearance off the line.

Goalscorer Upton admitted that the Irish lost impetus after taking their early lead.

"I think after we scored in the first half, we just put ourselves under too much pressure and we needed to manage that phase of the game much better," she said.

"They closed up the middle. We'll debrief, but we have two games to play, so we can't be disappointed for too long."

Scotland will join Ireland in the fifth to eighth place play-offs from Pool A with Italy and either Belgium or England also set to be involved in the battle for the final World Cup spot.

Ireland: A McFerran, R Upton, N Evans, K Mullan, S McCay, L Tice, N Carroll, H McLoughlin, L Holden, S Hawkshaw, A O'Flanagan.

Subs: M Carey, M Frazer, C Watkins, N Daly, H Matthews, D Duke, L Murphy

Spain: M Ruiz, C Petchame, M Lopez, B Iglesias, L Riera, J Pons, B Garcia, X Gine, B Perez, G Oliva, L Jimenez

Subs: L Barrios, B Bonastre, C Mejias, A Torres-Quevedo, A Magaz, P Alvarez, M Garcia

BBC Sport

Draw against Spain leaves Ireland to battle for fifth at European Hockey Championships

Spain’s Lucia Jimenez. ©INPHO/Frank Uijlenbroek

The Irish hockey team but in a strong performance to draw with Spain, but the Spaniard's goal difference kept their medal hopes alive and sent Ireland tumbling into the play-offs.

A penalty-corner from Roisin Upton early in the game had things looking good for the girls in green, however Begona Garcia's equaliser quickly brought Sean Dancer's side back down to earth.

The game stayed 1-1 to the final buzzer, with Spain doing little more than was needed to qualify out of Pool A alongside the Netherlands.

Qualifying for the semi-finals will also guarantee Spain a place in the FIH Hockey World Cup, while Ireland now must secure 5th place to earn their spot in next year's tournament.

Today's draw will be disappointing for the Irish team, who beat Spain on penalties at the 2018 World Cup, ultimately going on to take second place.

Ireland now wait to learn who their next opponents will be, with the game scheduled to be played on Friday.


Loïck Luypaert: ‘I think this is the best Belgium ever’

We know them from oats to barley. They have often come across at important moments in recent years. And they will be in front of us again on Thursday. The Belgians. A title holder, who is aware of his own abilities. But in the meantime also works to achieve an optimal level. Routinier Loïck Luypaert talks about the state of affairs at our southern neighbours.

Exciting youngsters named in Olympic hockey squads

Sean Findlay, a newcomer with just four caps, and his mentor Shea McAleese, heading to his fourth Olympics with 314 caps for his country, are the main features of the New Zealand men’s hockey squad named today for the Tokyo Olympics.

The women’s squad features three outstanding young players Olivia Shannon, Katie Doar and Hope Ralph alongside the experienced duo of captain Stacey Michelsen and vice-captain Samantha Charlton who are both heading to their third Olympics.

The squads of 16 feature five women (Ella Gunson, Michelsen, Charlton, Rose Keddell and Olivia Merry) and five men (Steve Edwards, McAleese, Stephen Jenness, Hugo Inglis and Blair Tarrant) with more than 200 caps in black, while Edwards, Inglis, Nick Wilson and Jenness will also be attending their third Olympics.

New Zealand Men’s Head Coach Darren Smith said while it was an experienced team they were taking to Tokyo it was also the first major tournament for a number of players.

“It’s a pretty experienced group but it’s also the first pinnacle event for players like Sam Lane who have previously missed out through injury or Jacob Smith and Nick Ross who have been rewarded for their perseverance. They’ve shown they’re really determined to be there.”

Smith said it was an emotional phone call to the bolter of the squad Findlay, who is the current New Zealand Under-21 Player of the Year.

“Sean is a real go-getter and an incredibly versatile player. Shea has had a big influence over Sean’s career and it was a special moment when they got to play together in the recent series with Australia. Shea was equally as excited when I called him.”

New Zealand Women’s Head Coach Graham Shaw admitted it was one of the toughest teams to select with only four internationals in 15 months.

“With the lack of opportunities we’ve had it was a difficult squad to select. It’s certainly been very unusual circumstances but I think we’ve got a balanced squad that poses a massive threat on attack alongside a strong defensive unit.”

Shaw was excited by the potential of the young trio of Shannon, Doar and Ralph.

“We have some exciting young talent in our ranks especially Olivia (Shannon), Katie (Doar) and Hope (Ralph) who have stood up in recent years and all have huge futures in the black dress.”

New Zealand Women’s Captain Michelsen, currently the most capped New Zealand women’s player of all time with 291 matches, said the team was pleased to be finally heading to Tokyo after such a long wait.

“All the players are so thrilled to hear their names selected for Tokyo. It has been a long training period leading to this point, but now, with less than 50 days to go, you can feel the excitement amongst the group.”

New Zealand Men’s Captain Tarrant, off to his second Olympics, said the recent series against Australia had given the team a much-needed taste of international competition that the European sides had been enjoying recently.

“The Kookaburras put us under real pressure and we want more of that so we can get better and be playing as well as we can come Tokyo time.”

The Black Sticks squads head to Perth next Friday to play two doubleheaders against Australia on 26 and 27 June.

New Zealand Women’s squad for Tokyo

Name Association Caps (goals) Position
Samantha Charlton (vice-captain) Tauranga 255 (8) Midfielder
Tarryn Davey Thames Valley 66 (1) Defender
Frances Davies Tauranga 81 Defender
Stephanie Dickins North Harbour 27 (2) Defender
Katie Doar Auckland 19 Midfielder
Ella Gunson Northland 224 (11) Defender
Megan Hull Wairarapa 35 (1) Defender
Rose Keddell Tauranga 211 (16) Midfielder
Julia King Auckland 126 (9) Midfielder
Olivia Merry Canterbury 236 (113) Striker
Stacey Michelsen (captain) Northland 291 (34) Midfielder
Grace O’Hanlon Auckland 63 Goalkeeper
Hope Ralph Taranaki 11 (2) Striker
Olivia Shannon Manawatu 29 (4) Striker
Kelsey Smith Nelson 99 (14) Midfielder
Elizabeth Thompson Auckland 191 (12) Defender

New Zealand Men’s squad for Tokyo

Name Association Caps (goals) Position
Steve Edwards North Harbour 224 (23) Midfielder
Sean Findlay Hawke’s Bay 4 (1) Midfielder
Leon Hayward Auckland 10 Goalkeeper
Hugo Inglis (vice-captain) Otago 235 (66) Midfielder
Stephen Jenness Wellington 252 (91) Striker
Sam Lane Canterbury 68 (20) Striker
Dane Lett Wellington 81 (2) Defender
Shea McAleese Hawke’s Bay 314 (34) Defender
Jared Panchia Auckland 137 (26) Midfielder
Nick Ross Otago 131 (4) Midfielder
Kane Russell Otago 165 (71) Defender
Jacob Smith Wellington 89 (12) Striker
Blair Tarrant (captain) Otago 215 (4) Defender
Dylan Thomas Hawke’s Bay 30 (2) Midfielder
Nick Wilson Manawatu 174 (76) Striker
Nic Woods Waikato 131 (21) Defender

Official Blacksticks site

Black Sticks' newcomer Sean Findlay off to first Olympics

Brendon Egan

Youngster Sean Findlay, left, and Hawke's Bay mentor Shea McAleese were both named in the Black Sticks men's squad for the Tokyo Olympics. Andrew Cornaga/Photosport

Two Hawke's Bay hockey players at various ends of their careers headline the Black Sticks men's squad for the Tokyo Olympics.

Newcomer Sean Findlay, who has played just four tests, and mentor Shea McAleese, who has represented New Zealand on 314 occasions, were both unveiled in the 16-player squad on Thursday in Auckland.

The Black Sticks women’s squad features three outstanding young players Olivia Shannon, Katie Doar, and Hope Ralph alongside the experienced duo of captain Stacey Michelsen and vice-captain Samantha Charlton, who are both heading to their third Olympics.

Veteran Kayla Whitelock was ruled out of Olympics contention and attending a fifth Games after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her right knee in the fourth trans-Tasman test against Australia.

The squads of 16 feature five women (Ella Gunson, Michelsen, Charlton, Rose Keddell and Olivia Merry) and five men (Steve Edwards, McAleese, Stephen Jenness, Hugo Inglis, and Blair Tarrant) with more than 200 tests. Edwards, Inglis, Nick Wilson, and Jenness will also be attending their third Olympics.

Findlay, New Zealand's current under-21 player of the year, has been long touted as a future Black Stick. He was a schoolboy standout at Taradale High School.

The Black Sticks men's and women's teams pose for the cameras at the Olympics squad naming announcement on Thursday. Andrew Cornaga/Photosport

The 19-year-old midfielder netted on debut in the first trans-Tasman test against Australia in Palmerston North earlier this month and had taken his chance against the classy Kookaburras, ranked No 2 in the world.

“Sean has been tracking pretty well for a couple of years. We've watched him quite closely and watched him incredibly closely towards the end of 2020 and he performed well. We named him in our national squad. He's settled beautifully into that national squad,” men's coach Darren Smith said.

“We just felt he was in our top 16 and in the end, whether you've played no tests or if you've played [300] whatever [Shea] McAleese has played, you've got to take the top 16 players and we thought he was in the top 16.”

Hope Ralph, left, and Katie Doar are off to their first Olympics with the Black Sticks. Andrew Cornaga/Photosport

McAleese, a fellow Hawke's Bay athlete, is at the opposite end of his career to Findlay. The 36-year-old made his debut in 2005 and will be attending his fourth Olympics have been to the 2008, 2012, and 2016 Games.

“Sean is a real go-getter and an incredibly versatile player. Shea has had a big influence over Sean’s career and it was a special moment when they got to play together in the recent series with Australia. Shea was equally as excited when I called him,” Smith said.

New Zealand women’s coach Graham Shaw admitted it was one of the toughest teams to select with only four internationals in 15 months.

Sean Findlay was the bolter in the Black Sticks men's squad for the Tokyo Olympics. Phil Walter/Getty Images

“With the lack of opportunities we’ve had it was a difficult squad to select. It’s certainly been very unusual circumstances, but we’ve got a balanced squad that poses a massive threat on attack, alongside a strong defensive unit.”

Shaw was excited by the potential of the young trio of Shannon, Doar, and Ralph.

“We have some exciting young talent in our ranks, especially Olivia (Shannon), Katie (Doar) and Hope (Ralph) who have stood up in recent years and all have huge futures in the black dress.”

Having to whittle the squad down to 16 for the Olympics from the 22 named for the trans-Tasman series against Australia was incredibly challenging, he said.

Naturally, players were gutted to miss out on the pinnacle event, but he hoped they would be better hockey players for the tough experience.

“It's always difficult, when you're working with these players on a week-to-week basis you build up a relationship with them and you see how hard they push themselves on a day-to-day basis.

“To disappoint a few athletes is always really challenging, but unfortunately only 16 can go to the Games and we feel we've picked a very competitive and strong, balanced 16."

The Black Sticks squads head to Perth next Friday to play two doubleheaders against Australia over June 26-27.

The New Zealand women open the Olympics against World No 2 Argentina on July 25, while the men face India, ranked fourth, in their first game on July 24.

The reserves for the women’s side are Georgia Barnett, Kaitlin Cotter, Anna Crowley, Alia Jaques, Tessa Jopp, Tyler Lench, Holly Pearson, and Brooke Roberts.

The reserves for the men’s side are David Brydon, Dominic Dixon, George Enersen, Sam Hiha, Oliver MacIntyre, Harry Miskimmin, George Muir, Dominic Newman, and Aidan Sarikaya.

A decision on travelling and non-travelling reserves will be made within the next month.


Black Sticks women's squad: Stacey Michelsen (captain), Samantha Charlton (vice-captain), Tarryn Davey, Frances Davies, Stephanie Dickins, Katie Doar, Ella Gunson, Megan Hull, Rose Keddell, Julia King, Olivia Merry, Grace O'Hanlon, Hope Ralph, Olivia Shannon, Kelsey Smith, Liz Thompson.

Black Stick men's squad: Blair Tarrant (captain), Hugo Inglis (vice-captain), Steve Edwards, Sean Findlay, Leon Hayward, Stephen Jenness, Sam Lane, Dane Lett, Shea McAleese, Jared Panchia, Nick Ross, Kane Russell, Jacob Smith, Dylan Thomas, Nick Wilson, Nic Woods.


India preparing for Tokyo Games with Olympic simulation - Ramandeep

Forward Ramandeep Singh says the Indian men's team is simulating the Olympics at its training base in Bengaluru to prepare for the Games.

Forward Ramandeep Singh (left) says the exercise is bringing 'match mentality' to the fore among the Indian players. - HOCKEY INDIA

The Indian men's hockey team is simulating the Olympics at its training base in Bengaluru to prepare for the Tokyo Games, experienced forward Ramandeep Singh revealed on Wednesday.

Ramandeep said the Indian players were assessing their bodies and testing their skills by replicating the team's Olympic schedule in training.

The Indian men's hockey team will begin its campaign on July 24 against New Zealand. Reigning Olympic champion Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, and host Japan are the other teams in Pool A. "A lot will depend on how we fair in the first match. A good result against New Zealand will set the right momentum for the rest of the tournament," Ramandeep was quoted as saying in a media release.

"We are currently replicating the Olympic Schedule, three teams with different combinations from within the Olympic core group have been formed and the coaching staff has created an atmosphere that is similar to what it would be like at the Olympics.

"We wear the Indian kit, we get ready as though we are facing a tough international opponent, we do team activation (pre-match drills) just like we would before an international game, and we also line-up for the national anthem before the start of the match," explained Ramandeep, who was part of the Rio Olympics.


He further said there was a lot of excitement within the group as the team selection trials were underway. "Of course, there is a lot of excitement within the group, and this exercise of replicating the Olympic schedule is also a good way to test our bodies with two back-to-back games and then a day's rest.

"We are paying attention to recovery when we have back-to-back matches and so on. Though we missed out on travelling for international matches due to the pandemic, I feel this exercise of playing internal matches is really bringing out the match-mentality to the fore," he said.

Speaking about his own performance, Ramandeep said his knee injury in 2018 caused a setback to an otherwise good run. "The 2016 and 2017 for me was really good. I was in good form and doing really well but the knee injury during Champions Trophy in 2018 was a big setback. It took me about six to seven months to recover and just when I had begun playing, I had an ankle injury. But mid-2019 onwards I have been doing well and I believe I have returned to my old form," stated Ramandeep.

He was also part of the national team that played in Europe but unfortunately, he suffered a cut on his hand that forced him out of the tour after the first game against Germany which India won 6-1.

"I also ended up missing the Argentina Tour due to this minor injury, I was rested for about 15-20 days. But now I feel I am in good nick," he said.


Indian hockey captain Rani Rampal geared up for Tokyo Olympics after COVID-19 recovery

Giving insights on her work module post-COVID recovery, Rani Rampal credits the changes she made in her lifestyle, which has helped immensely.

By Shivam Saha

Rani Rampal Twitter

A month after battling the COVID-19 virus, India women's hockey team captain Rani Rampal is back on the field with her same old spirit and zeal. Rani, whose goal against the USA ensured India a spot at the Tokyo Olympics, confirmed that she has regained the desired level of fitness and has begun training with the old intent for the showpiece event, which is currently scheduled to go as per plans.

"I started to train slowly after completing the mandatory 14-day quarantine period. The doctors too had advised against high-intensity training. But now it's almost a month since I've recovered, and have started training at full pace," Rani told Zee News English in an exclusive interview.  

Giving insights on her work module post-COVID recovery, Rani credits the changes she made in her lifestyle, which according to the 26-year-old has helped immensely.        

"It was very difficult initially. I used to quickly drain out while practicing, there was weakness post-recovery. But I have given special attention to several factors.

"Eating healthy food, sleeping in time, and keeping my body hydrated has been the main area where I've been focusing to keep myself fit," said Rani.

Bootcamp at Bengaluru

Rani, who is currently lodged at the Sports Authority of India center in Bengaluru with 24-other Tokyo probable, discussed in length the team's preparation, and in doing so, the forward also spoke about a specific routine that they have come up with.

"Apart from the regular training, we also practice an hour daily in the heat, when we feel the temperature to be maximum.

"There are sessions in the day, which normally start at 10:30 to 12:30 or 11.00 to 1.30 in the morning, apart from the regular evening sessions," said the forward, who is also the only women hockey player to win the prestigious Khel Ratna award.  

Filling up the gaps

The team endured poor run in their recent tours to Germany and Argentina, where the unit failed to notch a single win. However, the skipper terms the experience as a learning ground, considering the nature of the competition, and asserted it was not the creativity, but the execution that hurt the team the most.  

"They (Germany and Argentina) are the top teams in the world and we gave them a great fight. If you keep the results aside, our performance was not that bad. One thing to win in hockey is creating chances, so if we look back, we did create a lot of chances, but it was the finish that was not up to the mark," pointed out the captain.

Rani mentioned the unit has been working in this area, adding they are also practicing various drills on defending penalty corners to prevent conceding soft goals.  

Mission Tokyo and the team's progress  

Rani, who desires to set an example for others going into the Olympics, says the team will take one match at a time and doesn't want to rush things up. "There's no particular opponent that we are focusing on. We are taking everything match by match, like our first match is against Holland followed by Germany. So, we don't want to rush things up and focus one match each and our initial goal is to make it to the quarter-finals of the game."

The captain also asserted that this is a fitter Indian team and has the potential to compete against any opponent. "We have trained enough to compete against any team, and we have improved a lot in terms of fitness. Earlier, we used to feel the European teams were ahead of us in terms of fitness, but I don't see the gap anymore," the skipper concluded.

Daily News & Analysis

Need to work hard and prove my worth for Tokyo selection: women’s hockey player Lilima Minz

Lilima, a key player for India in the midfield, made her Olympic debut in 2016 Rio Games when the women’s team qualified for the quadrennial event after 36 years.

Lilima Minz. File  

Experienced India women’s hockey team midfielder Lilima Minz on Thursday said there is healthy competition in the side due to the emergence of many young talents and she will have to be at her best to guarantee a second Olympic appearance.

Lilima, a key player for India in the midfield, made her Olympic debut in 2016 Rio Games when the women’s team qualified for the quadrennial event after 36 years.

Since then, she has been a regular in the Indian team, making 133 appearances so far.

“There are a lot of new and young players in this (national) camp who have brought a fresh approach and good healthy competition to the team. There is good competition for places in the final squad and I have to work hard and prove my worth for my inclusion if I want to make it there,” Lilima said.

“That is what keeps me motivated to keep performing, as it is every player’s dream to play the Olympics, and I know that all our players are all doing the same,” added the 27-year-old from Odisha’s Sundargarh district, famous for producing many international players.

Lilima said the mixture of youth and experience in the ongoing national camp in Bengaluru augurs well for the team.

“The Olympic core group right now there is a very healthy mix of experienced players and young players. This kind of balance allows the young players to have the guidance of senior members who know what it is like to play at the Olympic level before.”

“At the same time, the young players keep the senior members on their toes as they know that there is someone who can replace them if do not perform well,” she said.

“The fact that several players from 2016 Olympics squad are present here in this camp is a good thing because sometimes players can get overwhelmed at a grand occasion like the Olympics. This is where players who have been there before can offer their much needed advice.”

The Hindu

High performance mindset helped Belgium's hockey team win gold

After years of close calls and second-place finishes, Belgium’s national hockey team was determined to finally secure a championship victory. With the help of high performance leadership expert Rogier Offerhaus (a partner at People Change), Belgium managed to build a ‘high performance’ team, and has since, as the first Belgian Team, become both World and European Champion.

Following successive final defeats in the Olympics and Hockey World League, the men of Belgium’s national hockey team might have been thinking that they would never be able to win a final. Fortunately for the squad, there was to be no further repeat of the heartbreak experienced in the Rio Olympics in 2016 or the Hockey World League of 2017, as the former nearly-men of global hockey secured titles in the Men’s Hockey World Cup in 2018 and the European Championship in 2019.

According to Adam Commens, the high performance director of Belgium during their journey to victory, changing the leadership & team’s culture was key to breaking through that final barrier to claim trophies. Yes, the team needed to nurture players’ technical abilities and provide them with the best facilities, but their coaches also needed to be able to connect with them, to build their mental strength and enable the team to thrive on the biggest stages of their sport – especially as Belgian hockey had not seen such success in 30 years previously.

Speaking to in a recent webinar, Commens said, “As a high performance director, my job is all about accelerating people’s development. It all comes down to who you are, knowing yourself, being conscious about your strengths and weaknesses. When I work with hockey coaches they quite often were really interested in improving tactical knowledge, conditioning, data analysis, or so on.”

“Notably, they were rarely interested in looking at what makes them who they are, why they are strong in certain areas, or why they connect better with certain players. That’s personal development rather than professional development. Knowing that, coaches could connect and understand with the individuals they worked with – and that was key in the step from silver to gold.”

To help facilitate this change, the Belgian Hockey Federation teamed up with People Change – a consultancy specialising in leadership, team and organisational transformations. Commens was keen to find an analytic programme which could provide a base for mental and mindset development – but was wary of the rigid structure many conventional personality tests had.

In contrast, he saw major potential in People Change’s more fluid People Change Scan and Method – which he believed could help unravel how people experience life and hockey as individuals, before using that to build better tactics, communication techniques, and resilience among both coaches and players.

Commens explained, “It is a tool which highlights where you are, but also tells you how you can develop. You can use it for the development of each of your coaches, and work out how you can put together a staff that will get the best out of your team.”

Used by leaders at the highest levels in boardrooms for business change, the People Change Scan is designed to better understand change processes and to prepare people and processes for the change(s) to be implemented. The scan functions as an extensive thermometer that is put into the organisation, asking everyone involved in the change process more than 40 questions.

These questions look at all aspects that are important for successful change; culture, strategy, structure cooperation, commitment, willingness to change and more. By carrying out the scan in the most important layers of the organisation – leadership, teams, and even customers – an integral picture of the desired development and the steps to be taken is created.

In the case of building the Belgium hockey coaching team, this method helped highlight the strengths and weaknesses of each member, showing which area of coaching needed reinforcing with another team member. Shane McLeod, the former head coach of New Zealand, is a “real connector,” for example, with Commens stating that his building of relationships with players is key to his management style – but also meaning he is not the person who will give a hard message to his players.

For that, the team has Michel van den Heuvel – a successful Dutch coach – and Craig Fulton, who coached Ireland at the last Olympics. Meanwhile, scientist Mick Beunen serves as a physical trainer, and Commens himself works as the high performance director.

Building a high performance team

Speaking on how these insights has helped engineer a team to coach for success, Commens said, “We have a fantastic diversity in the staff, and we are convinced this creates a competitive edge. Not only do we have three coaches, but we all work together and use each other’s different strengths and experiences at the right moments to connect with our team – rather than having a group of people with similar mindsets, who speak the same ‘language’ and tend to not push each other to new heights.”

To build in this cycle, the team organised “really robust discussions after some games, debriefing together, or talking during the match – and analysing what we got right or wrong.”

He continued, “At the same time, we can use each of our strengths to connect with the players in any given moment. If we need someone to sit with a player, ask him how he’s feeling, give him trust and belief we put forward Shane. If we need a coach to give it to them more direct messages we tap Michel. When we talk about a long-term vision of the team, we use myself.”

In relation to players, meanwhile, Belgium deployed the People Change Scan to help understand how their players would respond to pressure. By determining what drives them under stress, the coaches could plan for the best way to get top performances from the players. For example, those who were more driven by results or success would respond best to tactical conversations.

In a steady state, this was the most common mindset of the team. However, people’s mindsets can shift in moments of pressure, and the People Change Scan helped to prepare for this, by showing that in those moments, some players would need different input to respond.

When behind on the scoreboard, these individuals might want less of a tactical message, and more of a powerful or direct one. By being aware of which coaches are best suited to the players’ mindsets in any moment, the team were able to coordinate who would step in and when, on their road to victory.

The success the Red Lions have built on the back of the People Change Scan & Method has seen the technique steadily adopted by the sporting community. The webinar hosted by People Change featuring Commens was attended by some 150 football coaches in the Benelux, looking for insights into how performance could help them improve their coaching and on the pitch performance.

Rogier Offerhaus, who developed the scan and is Managing Partner of People Change, has over the past months trained 50 coaches as part of the NOC-NSF Olympic Coaches programme, and individually trained 10 coaches for Olympic athletes. He works with all the coaches and players of the Belgium men and women hockey team.


Time for ParaHockey ID to go truly global

All hockey activities have been hit hard in recent months as the Covid-19 pandemic caused clubs to close and stopped teams meeting for training and matches.

The break in play extended to the athletes and coaches involved in ParaHockey ID, with the growing momentum for the sport suffering a temporary halt.

However, as the FIH State of the Game 2020 Biannual Survey demonstrated, 'temporary' is the operative word here because there is little doubt that ParaHockey ID is on the rise among national associations.

When compared with other formats of the game, including indoor, Hockey5s and Masters, ParaHockey  ID shows the biggest increase in participating nations over the past two years, rising from 9% to 22% in that time.

As Norman Hughes, FIH Hockey (ID) Project Lead, explains, the minute government’s allowed it, the national and local groups were back on the pitch and the enthusiasm and growth of ParaHockey ID has continued, albeit sporadically.

“The Portuguese, the Italians, the Belgians, for instance, have all been on the pitch as soon as local regulations allowed,” says Hughes. “The problem is that our [ParaHockey] athletes thrive on routine. Each group will have lost a few members because some of the athletes, as is reflected across society, are reticent about coming back. Once things return to full operation, then there will be some regrouping.

“At the same time, some of the athletes are less inhibited and we have had to tell them to ease it down a little. The athletes like to hug and be close to each other, so we have to keep an eye on that. But the enthusiasm is there and that is brilliant.”

Since the growth and development of ParaHockey ID was spoken about at FIH Congress just last month, Hughes says four more nations have been in contact, asking for support documents to launch their own ParaHockey ID programmes. Zambia, Uganda, Cameroon and Brazil are all contemplating introducing the format, a development that delights Hughes.

“They all asked for a chat and some training. That was just because they heard during the FIH Congress presentations that ParaHockey existed. Zambia is especially exciting because they are looking to develop a total of 10 centres in 2 phases.”

Hughes is working to link national associations that have strong traditions in ParaHockey ID with new entrants to the sport. Currently, he is working to link France with Cameroon as the two nations share a common language.

With the Special Olympics just two years away, Hughes is keen to ensure that as many national associations have the opportunity to participate as possible. His message to national associations ParaHockey ID groups is to ensure they liaise as a matter of priority with their own national Special Olympics organisations to ensure athletes are able to participate in Berlin in 2023.

If there is no ParaHockey ID specialism within the Special Olympics committee, then Hughes suggests that the national association offers to work with the Special Olympics committee.

“It is quite a challenge at the moment,” he says. “To make sure the national hockey associations link closely with their Special Olympics committee to ensure the best experiences and opportunities for the athletes.”

And for the long-term future, Hughes has set the sights high.

“When I heard about the Hockey5s World Cup, I said ‘fabulous news’; the only gap in the portfolio now is aParaHockey ID World Cup. We need a FIH ParaHockey ID World Cup where every continental federation is challenged to put up three representatives, because then it is truly global and truly inclusive.”

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