Big-time hockey returns to Belgium as it gears up to host the 14th men’s and 11th EuroHockey championships at the Braxgata Hockey Club in Boom from August 17 to 25.
The high-profile continental event, organised by the European Hockey Federation (EHF), is staged every two years since 2003. Prior to 2003, the tournament was held every four years. As many as eight men and eight women teams will slug it out for top honours.
Reigning champions and Olympic gold medallist Germany will be the strong contenders in the men’s section alongside 2011 runners-up and 3rd ranked Netherlands.
The world number one ranked Germans are placed in Pool A alongside 6th ranked Spain, 21st ranked Czeck Republic besides hosts and 9th ranked Belgium.
The Netherlands are clubbed in Pool B alongside 4th ranked, England, 15th ranked Ireland and 20th ranked Poland.
World number one and defending champions Netherlands will be the red-hot favourites in the women’s section. They are clubbed in Pool A along with 13th ranked and hosts Belgium, 15th ranked Ireland and 21st ranked Belarus.
2011 runners-up and 5th ranked Germany are placed in Pool B alongside 4th ranked England, 14th ranked Spain and 19th ranked Scotland.
At the 2011 EuroHockey championship held in Mönchengladbach, Germany clinched the men’s crown easing past Netherlands 4-2, while the Netherlands pocketed the women’s crown humbling Germany 3-0.
The inaugural men’s EuroHockey championship was held in Brussels in 1970, where Germany cornered glory. The inaugural women’s EuroHockey championship was held in Lille in 1984, where the Netherlands annexed the crown.
Both Germany and Netherlands have dominated the EuroHockey championship in the men’s and women’s sections respectively.
German men have won it seven times, with the Netherlands winning it on three occasions. Spain have won the crown twice, while England have won it only once.
Netherlands women have won the EuroHockey championship a whopping eight times. Germany and England have won it once.
German men and women will launch their campaign against Belgium and Scotland respectively on the opening day, while Netherlands women will launch their campaign against Ireland.