By – Sour
More reportery type stuff from me as we have a look back at the second of England’s two Gold medals at this summer’s European Lacrosse Championships in Amsterdam.
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England’s quest for their third successive European Championship was likely to be their most difficult to date following on from a disappointing 5th place finish at the 2010 World Championships in Manchester.
Under the guidance of new head coach Matt Bagley, the squad had a very balanced look about it with both youth and experience in similar measure.
The Blue Group saw England facing off against Germany, hosts the Netherlands, Ireland, and Scandinavians Finland and Sweden.
Ireland were the first opponents and were taken down, somewhat unconvincingly, 11-7 on the second day of the tournament. Finland followed and were dispatched in more style 18-2 on the back of an 13-0 second half drubbing.
Sweden and Germany were dealt with in similar fashion 16-6 and 13-6 before the lions took on the hosts in the final group game which ended with an 18-4 win.
Our heroes had won the group undefeated, and as such got a bye through to the quarter finals along with second placed Germany and winners of the other pools Israel and Scotland.
England’s bye coincided with the play in day where the rest of the blue group teams played runners up from the other pools vying for a place in the quarters. The resulting ties were: England v Finland, Israel v Netherlands, Scotland v Sweden and ze Germans v Ireland.
England again confidently dealt with the Fins, this time 14-5. Elsewhere, Sweden squeaked Scotland by a solitary goal, Israel were given a bit of tap by the Netherlands 18-3, and Ireland topped Germany 15-12.
Semi-finally we were faced with England v the Netherlands and Sweden v Ireland.
The British (and Irish) isles once again took the spoils, as Ireland squeezed out a fairly comfortable 13-8 win and England got back to their favourite 14-5 score line.
So the final was a repeat of both sides first game, but there was no repeat of the edgy, sloppy play that had plagued England in the first encounter. Confidence was high and the score line reflected what had been a dominant tournament with England coming out 15-5 winners taking home the trophy.
Whilst England were probably expected to win by most people on these shores, the manner in which they did shows that the new management and their increasingly professional attitude to training and support functions is bearing fruit.
The systems put in place by the coaching staff allowed the players to express themselves in the best possible situations both on offense and defensively. In my mind this can only improve their chances in Denver for the 2014 World Championships.
Hopefully, there’ll be some more commenty bits to come over the next week or so, so keep an eye here at nutlax.com for new stuff.
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