22:07:2015, Brussels; Poland and Austria win their respective pools and avoid a head to head with Scotland beating Ukraine to save their semi-final slot and the hosts Czech Republic inching past Switzerland to claim the final semi-final slot.

Poland 3 Croatia 1

In today´s first match of the day we saw unbeaten team of Poland and Croatia who were yet to score some points in the tournament. Both teams showed some good skills, Croatia put a lot of pressure on their opponents. This earned them their first goal in the 7th minute when Tausan converted a short corner. Not late after that Polish team stepped up their game and managed to score their first goal in the match also from a short corner by Gumny. In the rest of first half game leveled up and 8 minutes before end of first period it was again the Polish team that scored their second goal. After changing the sides the game got slightly rougher with both teams fighting for midfield. Gradually the experience of the Polish was obvious and they got the lead through short corner by Bratkowski. The Croatians got their nerves going and scored 2 more green cards, but they did not score anymore goals so the Polish could celebrate 3 points after an unexpected tough match.

Scotland 6 Ukraine 3

After the first match we saw an important battle between Scotland and Ukraine. Both teams were fully aware they are playing for the second spot in their pool. It was the team of Scotland that managed to score first with an unfortunate deflection by the Ukrainian defender’s foot. Ukraine went on to score from a short corner shortly afterwards. Towards the end of the first quarter Ukraine had a series of short corners and one of them found the net. Scots managed to equalize again with a quick goal from the game. 21 minutes before the end Ukrainian Mazurkevych was found by a long scoop inside the opponent’s circle and hit the target with a soft touch. Within few minutes Scotts replied with 2 goals. Ukrainians weren’t able to maintain the same pace throughout the whole match and therefore Scotland increased their lead by another 2 goals by the end of the match making the final score 6:3.

Azerbaijan  1 v Austria 1

Azerbaijan started off better in the game, they had a series of short corners in the first quarter but were unable to score. It was at the end of the first quarter, when Austrians managed to win a short corner, but failed to score. 8 minutes before the half-time Azerbaijan found the goal through a short corner. In the second half both teams stepped up the pace and the spectators could see top hockey. Austrians were desperate to hit the target. Finally Korper sent the ball into the goal by the beautiful deflection. Right after the goal, the Austrians started to delay the game knowing well that the tie pushes them through to the semifinals from the 1st place in the group.

Czech Republic 3 v Switzerland 1 

After a first Swiss chance it was the Czechs who took control of the match. They put a lot of pressure of their opponent and the Swiss team wasn’t able to play it’s own game. Then Czech captain Piterak failed in a clear goal chance, but in the 16th minute Pauer softly deflected a nice long pass and opened the score. The Czechs locked the Swiss on their own half and created many chances, but none of them were used. Finally Vudmaska showed his experience and increased through slap shot to 2:0. After the break Switzerland had a short corner, but missed and Czechs scored from counter attack by Plochy. Then the game leveled up and the Swiss endangered the Czech goal through fast breakaways. In the 63rd minute the Swiss scored their first goal from a penalty corner. Since then the Czechs were under pressure, but managed to defend their lead and reached the semifinals.

 

Friday is Semi-final day for the Men’s event:

Friday 24th July 2015
11:00

*C
4A Croatia – Switzerland 4B
13:15

*C
3A Ukraine – Azerbaijan 3B
15:30

*SF1
1B Austria – Scotland 2A
17:45

*SF2
1A Poland – Czech Republic 2B

However before that on Thursday is Women’s Day with the relegation pool in the morning and the semi-finals in the afternoon.

Thursday 23rd July 2015
11:00

*C
4A Ukraine – Austria 4B
13:15

*C
3A France – Wales 3B
15:30

*SF2
Ireland – Belarus
17:45

*SF1
Azerbaijan – Czech Republic

 

Photograph: Scotland v Ukraine