EuroHockey 2013: England lose final to Germany on penalties
TriFinance EuroHockey Championships 2013
- Boom, Belgium
- 17-25 August
- All the home nations' matches will be streamed live on the BBC via the red button, online, the BBC Sport app and Connected TVs.
England's women suffered defeat by Germany in a penalty shootout after a thrilling 4-4 draw in their first EuroHockey final in 22 years.
England led 2-1 in a breathless first half which Germany finished 4-3 ahead.
It stayed that way until four minutes from time when Lily Owsley's deflected equaliser forced a shootout.
But none of Kate Walsh, Alex Danson, Laura Unsworth or Georgie Twigg managed to convert for England as Germany scored two of their four attempts.
"Having practised [penalties] so many times over the years, you feel confident going in there," insisted England captain Walsh.
"It's just 50-50 and it didn't go our way today."
Danson told BBC Sport: "I went in feeling confident but I'm very, very disappointed, obviously, not to do my job and put that [penalty] away.
"I'm devastated but that's a really good way to be because we're also very proud. We can get one better.
"We will go home, train really hard and one day - hey, it will happen."
The result marks revenge for Germany, who lost 2-1 the last time these teams met in a European final in 1991. A win would have been England's first gold medal in any major tournament since.
Saturday's clash had been intensified by comments made by German coach Jamilon Muelders in the run-up, as he questioned the "hype" around the England team.
The game duly began at an electrifying pace, Twigg converting the rebound from a Walsh penalty corner for the opener and receiving a stick in the face for her troubles.
Within two minutes Eileen Hoffman's penalty corner had levelled the score, and that set the tone for a frenetic first half.
Walsh's next penalty corner slammed into the net to be followed by a German equaliser bundled in by Tina Bachmann.
Germany took the lead through a penalty stroke conceded by Walsh and converted by Bachmann, but Helen Richardson grabbed a third for England with a cool reverse-stick finish.
At that point the game showed no sign of slowing and even with seconds to go until the break, Hannah Kruger found time to score a fourth for Germany from a penalty corner.
The second half, by contrast, proved a much quieter affair as dark clouds gathered over the aptly named Belgian town of Boom.
Scoring opportunities fell away as Germany fought to hold their narrow advantage and close down what had been such a free-flowing contest.
German goalkeeper Kim Platten superbly denied a sliding Richardson late on before Owsley pounced to force a shootout.
But it was Germany who showed the greater composure, in driving rain, to seal their first European title in six years.
England veteran Walsh, accepting the first European silver of her career having collected five bronze medals, said: "It's not much consolation.
"It's funny how happy you are in bronze position, because you've won your last game.
"At the moment it's sad but I know, when we look back, we'll be happy."