15th January 2017: After 20 games and 155 goals Poland are the EuroHockey Indoor Junior Champions! 

We started the day with the Pool C games and with Switzerland and Czech Republic tied on equal points, but Swiss ahead on goal difference, a draw would save them from relegation. For Czech Republic only a win would keep them in this Division. In the Croatia v Portugal game, Croatia would be fighting for the 5th place ranking that a win would guarantee. Portugal, finding the Championship division too tough with it’s young team will be playing in Championship II in 2019, even a win would not save them from that fate.In the medal games Russia dominated the bronze medal game winning by a margin of 6 goals and in the Final game it was Poland who pipped Austria to the podium in a tactically brilliant game.

Pool C: Czech Republic v Switzerland 2-2 (0-1)

In an extremely lively and hard fought game, both teams had chances to go ahead in the first half. An incredible off the line reverse stick save from Switzerland was the best chance of the half for Czech. Switzerland were the first on the scoresheet via a well rehearsed corner, finished comfortably as the ball was switched to Monard in the 17th minute. Czech responded in the second half with a great finish from Uhlir, a move that started well within the Czech defence. The score remained level until the last 2 minutes when Switzerland went ahead again as Schwehr tapped in. However the action wasn’t quite finished and with seconds on the clock Zuna levelled for Czech, but it was too little to save Czech from relegation to Championships II in 2019. Switzerland secured their slot in the Championships finishing the tournament on a high with 4 points in Pool C and a better goal difference than Czech.

Pool C: Croatia v Portugal 8-3 (3-1)

A much stronger Croatian team beat the hosts Portugal in the final Pool C game of the Championships. Croatia, already with 6 points in the bag, were assured of their place in the 2019 Championships.

Croatia set out their intentions for the game with an explosive start and earned a pc in the 2nd minute that Fujs rocketed home as he has done all event. They doubled their score in the 4th minute via Ilinovic. Portugal, unfazed, put some excellent passes together for Wenzel to slot one home in the 10th minute to bring the score back to 2-1. However the reply from Croatia was a 3rd goal before the half.

In the second half Croatia dominated and went ahead to 7-1 before Portugal, via Wenzel again scored with some great personal skill on the turn outsmarting the Croatian keeper. The final score of 8-3 was a fair reflection of the game and skills of Croatia who were unlucky not to be playing for a medal place having just missed out on a semi-final place due to goal difference.

Bronze Medal Game: Russia v Belarus 7 – 1 (4 – 1)

In a repeat of the Bronze medal game in Torun in 2015, Russia dominated from the start to claim, once again the Bronze medal at the EuroHockey Indoor Junior Championships.

A game dominated by the Russia attack saw them go 1-0 ahead with Belarus responding in the 10th minute to level the score. Straight from the restart, Arstanbekov slipped the ball under the keeper to restore his side’s advantage 2-1. 2 more goals saw them 4-1 ahead at the break. Belarus were never allowed to take control of this game as Russia once again dominated the second half, scuppering any attacks coming from the Belarussians. A power play attempted by Belarus ended in them conceding 2 more goals, with some noteworthy individual skills from Russia’s Sergy EPESHKIN. The final score of 7-1 secured another bronze medal for the Russians, the Belarussians once again denied a medal at this level.

Final Austria v Poland 4 – 5 (1 – 2)

An explosive start to the Final as Poland set out to take control of the attacking of the game. They were rewarded with 2 goals, one reply from Austria, who played with incredible maturity and patience.

The second half opened as Steyrer slotted home a corner to bring the game level in the 24th minute. And Austria in fact went ahead as Binder scored from an impossibly tight angle in the 26th minute. Poland held their nerve and were patient with their passes, being rewarded in the 29th minute as Mazany someone lost his marker and scored a neat deflection to take the score to 3-3. A direct strike from Pawlak from a PC with 7 mins to go and Poland were ahead again. Captain Pawlak scored again in the 38th minute as the Austrian keeper was drawn away from his goal.  The score was now 3-5, Austria did score again (4-5) using the power player to great advantage, but as the clock ticked down Poland held possession and the right to be named Champions of Europe.

Final Ranking:

TeamCodeFinal Standing
PolandPOL1 Champions
AustriaAUT2
RussiaRUS3
BelarusBLR4
CroatiaCRO5
SwitzerlandSUI6
Czech RepublicCZE7 Relegated in 2019
PortugalPOR8 Relegated in 2019

Top Scorer: 

Sergey Lepeshkin, Russia

Best Player: 

Sergey Lepeshkin, Russia

Best Goalkeeper: 

Dawid Wróbel, Poland

Re-watch the final highlights:

Photograph: EuroHockey Indoor Junior Champions, Poland (Frank Uijlenbroek(c))