20th January 2017: A great start to the EuroHockey Indoor Junior Championships here in Vienna as 8 games were completed and no teams are sure of the semi-final line up as yet and the final Pool games tomorrow morning are critical.

In Pool A, Czech Republic and Italy are tied on 4 points with Russia just behind on 3 points. Turkey havent picked up any points yet, but are capable of making a huge change in the leaderboard as they face Czech Republic tomorrow morning. Pool B is even closer with Belarus on 4 points, Poland on 3, Switzerland on 2 and Austria on 1 point, so it really is wide open as to who will make it through to the semi-finals.

Match Round-Up:

Match 1 – Turkey v Italy  3-4 (1-3)

A lively start in the opening game as Turkey’s captain Fatma Songül GÜLTEKIN opened the scoring with a powerful drag flick into the top corner from a PC. Italy replied quickly with a goal from open play scored by the stylish Camilla BARRICELLI. A wide from a Turkish corner and a good save from the Italian keeper, were game changers as Italy pressed hard and were rewarded with a further 2 goals from Camilla BARRICELLI and Federica CARTA  to lead 3-1 going into half-time.

Second half started with a deflected corner strike from Turkey, bringing the score line back to a one goal difference. A very intense last 10 minutes with both teams having chances to score, but it was Italy who finally broke down the Turkish defence, Turkey got one back and had a really unlucky strike that hit the post!

Italian Coach Daniela Possali was “very happy with the win to the start to the Tournament, which was our plan” It was a nice game and she was delighted with how her girls played. start tournamnent in a good way, now grab. gk made some good saves, cze skilled game

Watch the Highlights here:

http://hockeytv.at/video/indoor-hockey/euro-hockey-indoor—junior-women—vienna-2017/20-01-2017/turkey-u21w-italy-u21w/21520-chance–u21w-2

Match 2 – Russia v Czech Republic  3-5 (1-3)

Both teams exchanged goals in the first 10 minutes of the game, but it was Czech that dominated the first half against the current champions, with striker Anna KOLAROVA being on target twice from penalty corners. Michaela KUČEROVÁ drew in her marker and with some lovely close skills flicked the ball into the net in the 12th minute.

The second half started slowly with both teams playing a patient game and looking to build attacks. Czech stretched their lead in the second half as Kolarova was set for the strike but deflected beautifully for Veronika KUČEROVÁ’s strike. Russia went into a power play in the 34th minute to try and lower the deficit and indeed did with a goal from Iuliia SARTAKOVA they then conceded a corner which was expertly taken off the line by the kicking back! In the 36th minute Russia scored again via, again via SARTAKOVA. But again conceded a corner, a mistrap but it fell to the stick of Monika VYBÍRALOVÁ who struck it home giving Czech Republic the win over the current Champions.

Czech manager Lukáš NOCAR spoke on behalf of his coach “We are very happy to win our first game, that is always important at an indoor Tournament, we were impressed with the Russian’s, especially as they defended 2 corners without a goal keeper. We are now looking forward to our game against Italy.” When asked about their target for the Tournament he stressed that “a semi-final place is the target, after that we shall see!”

Watch the highlights here:

http://hockeytv.at/video/indoor-hockey/euro-hockey-indoor—junior-women—vienna-2017/20-01-2017/russia-u21w-czech-republic-u21w/21555-spezial-russia-u21w-1

Match 3 – Poland v Belarus 0-3 (0-2)

A more cagey start to this game then we have seen so far. However Belarus did get the better of the half going ahead with 2 goals from play, the second a brilliant deflection from Viktoryia RAISKAYA. A strong run by Natallia SHTSIN set up the tap in for Hanna TSABROVA’s second of the game and a lead of 3 -0 was enough to seal the win for Belarus as there were no goals in the second half.

Watch the highlights here:

http://hockeytv.at/video/indoor-hockey/euro-hockey-indoor—junior-women—vienna-2017/20-01-2017/poland-u21w-belarus-u21w/21644-chance-belarus-u21w-17

Match 4: Austria v Switzerland 2 – 2 (0 – 1)

In the final match of the first round of games hosts Austria faced Switzerland. Switzerland scored first as Swiss Julia INTELMANN seemed to glide through the Austrian defence, she then layed off the ball and made herself available again for a diving strike! 1-0 to Switzerland. The score continued like that until Austria won a corner in the 27th minute and Daria BUCHTA struck home,  she controlled the ball at the top of the circle, the keeper was committed and she flicked the ball high over the keeper and the lines’woman’ to level the score 1-1. 2 really important saves by the Austrian keeper kept the score 1-1. An attack by Austria led to a second goal from play by Ruth KONRAT. Austria equalised in the final minute as Léonor BERLIE drag flick from a pc was too pacy for the Austria defence.

Watch the highlights here:

http://hockeytv.at/video/indoor-hockey/euro-hockey-indoor—junior-women—vienna-2017/20-01-2017/austria-(w)-u21w-switzerland-u21w/21688-tor-0:1-switzerland-u21w-5#

Match 5: Czech Republic v Italy (1-1)

A top of the table game as both teams had taken 3 points in their first game of the day, so a must win for both teams to ensure a semi-final slot. Czech had more chances in the first half but a solo run from her own D saw Sara PUGLISI lay off beautifully to Veronica MARROCCOLI to slot home the opening goal.

Power play as Italy no 8 off on a 4 minute yellow card, payed off as they used the advantage of 6 field players v 4 and equalised the score. A fantastic reverse stick save off the line by Czech kept the score 1-1 heading into the last 10 minutes. Czech had a chance to clinch the game in the final minute but the pc strike was off target. The final score of 1-1 leaves both teams on 4 points, with Czech ahead on goal difference and all to play for tomorrow morning!

Watch Match Highlights here:

http://hockeytv.at/video/indoor-hockey/euro-hockey-indoor—junior-women—vienna-2017/20-01-2017/czech-republic-u21w-italy-u21w/21757-chance-czech-republic-u21w-54

Match 6: Turkey v Russia 4-7 (3-1) 

Both teams came into the game on zero points, so any ambitions to get through to the semi-finals would be dependent on getting at least 3 points on the board! Russia opened the scoring in the first minute, but Turkey fought back and ended the half 3-2 ahead. Turkey went 4-2 ahead, but with their captain off, Russia clawed one back in the 32nd minute. Russia on the attack equalised via a direct strike from Iuliia SARTAKOVA, her second of the game. Moments later in a lapse of concentration from Turkey, Russia went ahead for the first time in the game with a Alina KHALIMOVA goal popping the ball over the keeper. Russia ran away with the final minutes of the game as they finished a deserved 4-7 ahead.

Watch Match Highlights here:

http://hockeytv.at/video/indoor-hockey/euro-hockey-indoor—junior-women—vienna-2017/20-01-2017/turkey-u21w-russia-u21w/21767-chance-%3Cnull%3E-u21w-2

Match 7: Belarus v Switzerland 2 – 2 (0 – 1)

An interception by Switzerland’s Léonor BERLIE led to Switzerland’s goal in the first half. A decent tackle and a quick pass to Jessica AEBI who capitalised on being free from her marker and slipped passed the defence with a fine finish in the 8th minute. No more goals in the first half, but plenty of action as both teams pressed hard. A save off the line, but deemed to have hit the body of a Swiss defender led to a stroke which Volha SKRIBA struck home for Belarus. 1-1 and all to play for. Belarus had more possession during the next few minutes, pressed hard for a corner which they won. Swiss no 12 broke the line, leaving a hole in the Swiss defence and Yuliya YUBKO slotted home with a direct strike, hard and low. The score now 2-1 to Belarus and 10 minutes to play! Switzerland earned a corner in the 26th minute, but a decent save and then an offence from Switzerland kept the score 2-2.  A pc in overtime for Switzerland was bravely saved by the Belarus keeper, so the scoreline held.

Watch Match Highlights here:

http://hockeytv.at/video/indoor-hockey/euro-hockey-indoor—junior-women—vienna-2017/20-01-2017/belarus-u21w-switzerland-u21w/21850-chance-switzerland-u21w-2

Match 8: Austria v Poland (2-0) 

An animated and partisan crowed had something to cheer about as the hosts made an impressive start and racked up a 2-0 lead over Poland in the final game of the day here in Vienna. The first a direct strike from a pc in the 2nd minute from captain LAGINJA, the second from play. The half ended 2-0 in favour of the hosts. In the second half Poland had the better of the first 10 minutes, putting 3 goals with no reply on the board and going ahead 2-3. In the final 2 minutes Austria used the power play to try and earn the draw but they ran out of time.

Speaking to us after the game Polish Coach Krzysztof RACHWALSKI said “I am really happy now but the first half was terrible, it was a really important game for us as we are now closer to the semis. Tomorrow we play Switzerland and I think we can beat them.”

Watch Match Highlights here:

http://hockeytv.at/video/indoor-hockey/euro-hockey-indoor—junior-women—vienna-2017/20-01-2017/austria-(w)-u21w-poland-u21w/21896-chance-austria-(w)-u21w-1

All photographs are now online on our FaceBook page

Photograph: Italy v Czech Republic (Frank Uijlenbroek (c))