11th August 2017: What at day at Glasgow Green as Scotland and Wales survive two incredible semi-final games to make history and back up to the EuroHockey Championships in 2019, a first for Scotland since 2005 in Leipzig and Wales since 1995 in Dublin.
First up was the Pool C relegation games:
Portugal 2-4 Switzerland
Switzerland won their first Pool C match 4-2 in an entertaining encounter with Portugal.
A bright start for the Portuguese saw them fashion a couple of early chances but nothing that caused the Swiss goalkeeper, Jonas Verest, too much strife.
Switzerland took the lead as the end of the first quarter approached and it was an exceptional finish that gave them the advantage.
The ball found its way to Gael Wyss-Chodat on the left of the D and he launched the ball into the top right corner, leaving the goalkeeper with no chance at all.
In the second quarter Pedro Pinto was denied by a fantastic save low to the right following a quick Portugal break.
Switzerland made it 2-0 early in the second half. They worked their way into the D from the right and a quick exchange found Florian Feller unmarked to roll the ball into the net and score.
Portugal pulled one back and it was a tremendous individual effort to give them the strike. Miguel Rodriguez went on a solo run on the left and from a tight angle he found the top corner to make it 2-1.
Switzerland all but sealed the victory when they made it 3-1 in the fourth quarter. Nick Schwehr turned in the D and slipped the ball under the goalkeeper to score.
Portugal pressed to pull one back but were hit on the break and Nicholas Steffen applied a finish from close range to make it 4-1.
Portugal did pull one back towards the end of the match. Despite some valiant goalkeeping Vasco Ribeiro found the back of the net to make it 4-2.
Ukraine 1-1 Czech Republic
It was a tight draw in the Pool C clash between Ukraine and Czech Republic as both sides battled to steal the points and avoid relegation.
Both sides looked dangerous in the early stages – each of them coming close with a couple of penalty corner routines.
Tomas Vohnicky had a great chance to open the scoring for Czech Republic – the ball found him in space in the centre of the D but he blazed his effort over the bar.
It was Ukraine who opened the scoring. They drove through the second of the pitch and the defence opened up to give Artem Popovchencko the time and space to pick his spot in the goal to make it 1-0.
Ukraine kept possession very well in the third quarter and made the Czechs work hard in defence. It was without creating any clear chances but the game was firmly in the control of the Ukrainians.
Straight from the whistle in the fourth quarter Czech Republic scored. The impressive Lukas Plochy got his well-earned goal when he struck a rebound of the keeper to equalise.
The Czechs nearly took the lead when Jan Zelezny tried to force the ball over the line but was denied by valiant goalkeeping to keep the score level.
It was end-to-end at the end of the match but neither side could find a winning goal and it ended a draw.
Wales 4-3 France
Wales secured promotion and a place in the Men’s EuroHockey Championship II semi-final after an enthralling 4-3 victory over France.
It was an end-to-end opening to the match with both teams looking menacing on the break.
It was on one of these breaks that Wales opened the scoring. Draper smashed the ball into the D and Rupert Shipperley deflected the ball into the roof of the net to give Wales the lead.
France equalised in the second quarter through a lethal Gaspard Baumgarten strike. The ball was played into the D from the left, Baumgarten took one touch and smashed the ball into the net to make it 1-1.
The first half came to a close with the teams at stalemate but promising an entertaining second half.
Wales restored their lead early in the third quarter when they scored from a quick break. James Carson was sent running through on goal and he coolly slid it low against the backboard to make it 2-1.
France had the ball in the net at the end of the third quarter but it was ruled out for dangerous play and Wales survived.
It would be the Welsh who would strike next and it came through a clinical penalty corner. Gareth Furlong expertly slammed the ball against the backboard to make it 3-1.
France pulled one back with four minutes remaining when Victor Charlet dispatched a penalty corner to make it 3-2.
With France playing a kicking back and Wales winning a penalty corner it seemed the writing was on the wall for the French. When Luke Hawker fired the ball home to make it 4-2.
Still France wouldn’t go away and they made it 4-3 with just over a minute to play. Guillame Deront scored to make for a very nervy ending to the match but Wales held on to claim the win, and promotion to the top table of European hockey.
Scotland 4-3 Russia (K. Bain, B. Cosgrove, C. Fraser, A. Forsyth)
Scotland secured promotion to the top tier of European hockey after a dramatic 4-3 victory over Russia in the semi-finals of Men’s EuroHockey Championship II in Glasgow. Scotland were 4-0 in the final quarter and managed to hold off a late Russian surge to claim the win, and set up a final against Wales.
A very even opening quarter saw Scotland enjoy possession and test the Russian full backs. Ben Cosgrove was full of running and made several attempts to slide into positions behind the full back. Russia was solid however and gave Scotland very little to play with in and around the D.
It was in the second quarter that Scotland began to turn the screw. Kenny Bain came close half way through the second quarter when he surged through the Russian defence, but it was well dealt with by the Russia rear guard.
Lee Morton was pulling the strings in midfield, spraying passes around the pitch with purpose.
Scotland would be rewarded with a goal before half time after Alan Forsyth won a penalty corner. Bain was on hand to send a delightful flick into the top right corner to make it 1-0.
Scotland made it 2-0 in the third quarter and it was a goal made in Dundee. Gavin Byers went on a run into the D and found Ben Cosgrove who finished from close range.
It was 3-0 a short while later when Cammy Fraser got his name on the score sheet. Alan Forsyth smashed the ball goal-ward from a penalty corner, it scooped up into the air off the goalkeeper and Fraser slammed it into the net to make it 3-0.
The final quarter was about as dramatic as sport gets. Alan Forsyth put Scotland 4-0 after some superb skill by Chris Grassick to fashion the opportunity.
Russia retaliated instantly with a penalty corner tucked nicely into the bottom right corner to make it 4-1.
Then it went to 4-2 when Pavel Plevetskii buried the ball into the top right corner with an exceptional finish.
In the final minute Nikolay Komorov scored from a penalty corner to make it 4-3 to set up a torturous ending to the match. Scotland held on and secured promotion to the top tier of European hockey.
The Final Day is tomorrow and the line up is:
|09:30||UKR – SUI||Pool C|
|11:45||CZE – POR||Pool C|
|14:00||FRA – RUS||3rd/4th place|
|16:30||WAL – SCO||Final|
Watch back today’s games here:
Day tickets can also be purchased in advance online HERE
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- Facebook gallery (thanks to Duncan Gray)
- Twitter – @eurohockeyorg – follow us for all the final results of the games
- Results and standings – click here
Photograph credit Duncan Gray