31st July 2015
The Unibet Euro Hockey Championships are just three weeks off. The European game giants benefit from our fencing at the former London 2012 hockey venue at Eton Manor in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, now transformed into the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre.
That’s where men’s reigning champions Germany and women’s favourites and world champions the Netherlands will do battle alongside seven other nations in each competition.
Zaun provided almost 30km of fencing and more than 1000 gates at over 30 venues, including the main Olympic Park, Wembley and the O2 Arena for London 2012 and has since installed its striking new Grata fencing at the former hockey venue.
The grating fence system consists of a combination of bearing bars and filler control bars running in both directions that are pressed and welded together in one process in a pressure welder to give the Grata system maximum strength.
As for on the field, Holland’s women have a similar air of total invincibility about them, as shown by their dominant display in the World League in Antwerp.
They rattled in 25 goals in four games in the pool stage, cruised to the final with a 7-0 whitewash of India and a 5-1 demolition of world No2 Australia before beating a stubborn Korea in the final.
Captain Maartje Paumen chipped in with nine goals, closely followed by the outstanding Lidewij Welten with eight. They will take some stopping on this evidence.
For challengers, England looks as good a bet as any. Great Britain was in supreme form at the World League semi-finals in Valencia with seven wins from seven games.
While they lose their GB counterparts to their individual nation sides, most of Danny Kerry’s side are likely to represent England, with Sophie Bray and Alex Danson scoring nine between them and goalkeeper Maddie Hinch the main reason behind their mean defence that conceded just twice in seven games.
Among the men defending champions, Germany similarly fired a warning shot at the World League semi-finals. Markus Weise’s side ran riot in the pool stages, plundering 21 goals in four games, including a 9-0 hammering of Canada. They saw off Korea and European rivals Holland in the semis before a superb 4-1 win over hosts Argentina.
Meanwhile, an all-English Great Britain squad came up short against Australia in their semi-final clash in Antwerp but with Olympic qualification assured, they turned on the style to demolish India in the 3rd/4th place playoff. Undoubtedly they will be buoyed by the home crowd and the memory of their golden 2009 campaign where they were crowned champions. With six of that winning squad around the group, including skipper Barry Middleton and talisman Ashley Jackson, Bobby Crutchley’s side will be keen to put on a good show at home to pick up some silverware.
England gets their campaign underway against Russia in Pool A following the opening game of the entire championships between England’s other pool opponents, the Netherlands and Spain, which pushes back at 5.15 pm on Friday 21 August.
Will Germany continue their run and retain their title? Can the home crowd get England back to the glories of 2009? Who will be the surprise package, and who will collect the medals? Find out this August as world-class international hockey returns to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
If you’re an England fan, it’s worth knowing you can guarantee to see England on the semi-finals day – they’ll play in session two, so get your tickets to see them battling to make the final, hopefully!