The build-up to the EuroHockey Indoor Championships have been huge, as the results of the tournament will influence where international teams lay in the FIH indoor world rankings. Everyone is looking to be the best of the best, both outdoor and indoor.
Eight teams competed in the Men’s EuroHockey Indoor Championships in Antwerp, Belgium, January 12th-14th. The four semi-finalists at the Men’s Championships were Germany, Austria, Belgium, and Poland. Germany were consistent throughout the entire competition, but they were unable to maintain a clean sheet, and they faced Austria in the semi-finals, who had drawn two of their pool games, only winning one. Austria went on to beat Germany in a tight shootout 4-3 after the game finished 2-2. The other two semi-finalists of the tournament were Belgium and Poland, with Belgium having a smoother run of the two teams with two wins and a draw in the pool stage against Poland’s two wins and a loss.
Belgium were to meet Austria in the finals, safely beating Poland 7-3. The third/fourth place game between Germany and Poland was an intense battle with the result ending 9-8 to Germany despite Poland’s best attempts. The final with Belgium and Austria was electric, with Austria leading the game 3-1 by half-time. Belgium grew stronger and the game ended 4-4, sending the teams into a shootout – a second for Austria. First place was awarded to Austria, who won the shootout 2-1 against Belgium.
For the women, another eight teams played in the EuroHockey Indoor Championships was held in Prague, Czech Republic, January 19th-21st. The four teams that progressed to the semi-finals were Germany, Belarus, Netherlands, and Czech Republic. Germany faced Belarus in the semi-finals, while the Netherlands faced the Czech Republic. It seemed like it was going to be an interesting end to the tournament, with all teams following a pattern of two wins and a defeat during their pool game stages. Germany beat Belarus in the first semi-final with a close 5-4 win, while the Netherlands had a more comfortable score by beating the Czech Republic 6-3.
The third/fourth place match which saw Belarus against Czech Republic saw an open 2-1 score at half-time in Belarus’ favour. However, the Czech Republic were unable to claw it back and the final score finished at 5-3, leaving Belarus with third place. Drama unfolded in the final, with the Netherlands and Germany only scoring in the second half, stealing just a goal each. The game finished 1-1, and a shootout was needed to settle the final. Germany won the shootout 2-1, leaving Netherlands in second place, and crowning themselves the champions of the EuroHockey Indoor Championships.
As for the home nations during the Indoor Championships, England’s men played in Championship II but were unable to place while Scotland’s men placed 3rd, and Wales’ men placed 4th within Championship III. Ireland were not involved in the Men’s Championships. As for the women, England came 3rd in Championship II, however Wales and Scotland did not place in Championship II. Ireland were also uninvolved in the tournament.
That wraps up the round-up of the EuroHockey Indoor Championships, and with that, the teams can begin to focus on the Indoor Hockey World Cup which will be held from the 7th until the 11th February.