EuroHockey Championship 2015 Women's Final: England vs. Netherlands Score, Recap

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 30, 2015

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 30:  The England and Netherlands teams make their way onto the pitch prior to the EuroHockey Womens Gold Medal match between England and The Netherlands at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on August 30, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Dan Mullan/Getty Images

England have won the gold in the 2015 EuroHockey Championship after beating Olympic and world champions the Netherlands in a dramatic shootout on Sunday.  

A brace from Caia van Maasakker put the visitors ahead as they dominated for much of the match, but goals from Sophie Bray and Lily Owsley in the final quarter forced penalties.

Maddie Hinch's stunning performance in goal kept the hosts in the tie as she made a string of fantastic saves, and the stopper proved crucial in the shootout.

Despite receiving medical treatment during the semi-final, Dutch skipper Maartje Paumen was on hand to lead her team out for the final.

The Netherlands caused early problems for the English and earned two penalty corners within three minutes and forced an excellent save from Hinch, per the tournament's official Twitter feed:

The visitors continued to attack in numbers, which EuroHockey 2015 demonstrated when they shared the early possession stats:

England looked dangerous on the break with Alex Danson, but neither side could make the incisive breakthrough.

The Netherlands came close to breaking the deadlock early in the second quarter, but Hinch again came to England's rescue as she rushed out to deny Ginella Zerbo in a one-on-one.

As EuroHockey 2015 noted, the second period was much like the first:

Hollie Webb made a vital block after the Netherlands lashed a dangerous ball across the area, and Hinch was called repeatedly into action as the visitors tightened the screw.

As the tournament's Twitter feed reported, the visitors led the shot count with 11 to England's two, which highlighted both their attacking dominance and Hinch's phenomenal performance in keeping them out.

The Netherlands roared out of the traps after the restart with Ellen Hoog one of several Dutch players to threaten in the third quarter.

England came close to taking the lead through the excellent Danson, but Joyce Sombroek proved as difficult to beat as Hinch when she made a stunning save:

The visitors' pressure soon paid off, though, as they finally broke the deadlock from their eighth penalty corner, with van Maasakker's strike deflecting in:

The lead was doubled shortly after as van Maasakker grabbed a second for the game and her fifth of the tournament overall:

England were handed a lifeline in the final quarter when Margot van Geffen picked up a yellow card and took full advantage of their superior numbers as Bray scrambled the ball in following Kate Richardson-Walsh's shot from a penalty corner:

The hosts continued to push on and were rewarded with a dramatic equaliser when Owsley knocked in Richardson-Walsh's shot at the far post to take the match to a shootout:

Helen Richardson-Walsh, Danson and Bray scored their penalties for England while Georgie Twigg saw her effort saved. Hinch magnificently stepped up and denied Willemijn Bos, Lidewij Welten and Eva de Goede to win gold for England:

The 'keeper was ecstatic after the match and explained how her preparation before the shootout helped her make the vital stops:

The Netherlands will be disappointed to have dominated for so long and to have let slip a two-goal lead, but England deserve huge credit for the way they defended and stayed in the tie.

Great Britain's Olympic squad for Rio 2016 will now be full of European champions, so a medal will undoubtedly be the target in Brazil next year.

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