The Netherlands began their EuroHockey Championships campaign with a 2-0 win against Spain ©EuroHockey Championships

The Netherlands' men's team began their EuroHockey Championships campaign with a 2-0 win against Spain at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.

Billy Bakker set the London 2012 Olympic silver medallists on their way to victory with a goal at the start of the second quarter, after which team mate Mink van der Weerden doubled the advantage with half-time approaching in the Pool A encounter.  

Despite a late rally from Spain, Dutch goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann managed to keep them at bay to see out the win for the team ranked second in the world. 

"We were solid, not good, not bad," said Dutch captain Robert van der Horst.

"We didn’t concede so that was good and we played with consistency - which is something that coach Max Caldas has instilled in our team.

"There was a time when we always wanted to win 5-0, and sometimes that led to us losing 5-0, so now we are happy with a win."

The Dutch are looking to secure their first European gold medal since the Championships were last held in England eight years ago in Manchester, and they showed their intent from the outset, forcing Spain goalkeeper Quico Cortes into making three notable saves in the first quarter.

The pressure only began to tell though in the second quarter with Bakker firing the ball into Cortes’ net mid height in the 18th minute and Van der Weerden soon extending The Netherlands’ lead courtesy of a trademark penalty corner strike.

Hosts England beat Russia 10-1 in the second of two Pool A encounters
Hosts England beat Russia 10-1 in the second of two Pool A encounters ©John Hurst/Twitter

Spain could have found themselves further behind before half-time had it not been for a superb double save from Cortes and following a subdued third quarter in which goal-mouth action was at a premium, they had it all to do in the final quarter to salvage something from the match.

They came close to halving the arrears in the opening minutes but Roc Oliva was denied by an excellent reaction save from Stockmann.

Van der Meerden and team mate Sander de Wijn were unable to convert opportunities to put some extra gloss on the scoreline, but it ultimately proved inconsequential in the end as The Netherlands got off to a winning start.

The other Pool A fixture was an extremely one-sided affair as hosts England delighted the home crowd with a 10-1 win against Russia.

David Condon notched a hat-trick, while Nick Catlin, David Ames, Sam Ward, Iain Lewers, Chris Griffiths, Mark Gleghorne and captain Barry Middleton all chipped in to complete the rout. 

Tomorrow's men's action sees defending champions Germany, bidding for a third consecutive title, face Belgium in Pool B following Ireland's clash with France in the same group. 

The women's competition is also set to get under way as Olympic gold medallists The Netherlands face Poland in Pool A after Belgium's meeting with Spain.

Home nation England play Scotland in the opening Pool B match before Germany go up against Italy. 

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