Austria will meet Switzerland in the final of the men’s EuroHockey Indoor U21 Championships in a rematch from their thrilling group stage draw as they saw off the Czech Republic and Poland in Nymburk.
It will be a repeat of the 2011 final, the last time Switzerland contested the final which was also the last time they took gold. For Austria, it is an eighth successive decider when they meet at 2pm (CET).
The Czech Republic and Poland meet at 12.30pm for bronze while Italy face Ukraine for fifth; Croatia meet Denmark for seventh; Türkiye and Slovakia ended ninth and tenth and are relegated for the next edition. Full reports below.
** All games from the competition will be live-streamed via www.eurohockeytv.org with commentary from Nick Irvine. This stream is free of charge for those registered with an account.
** Scores will be posted to the EuroHockey social media accounts while full tournament statistical information is available here: https://tms.fih.ch/competitions/1466
Austria 4 (F Hackl 2, Marcin Nyckowiak 2, J Winkler) Czech Republic 1 (J Trejbal)
Austria produced an awesome performance to propel themselves into the final of the men’s Under-21 indoor championship in Nymburk, proving too strong for the Czech Republic.
Austria played most of the first half on the offensive as the Czech hosts looked to play half-court and break at pace. As it was, the Red Yamahas got motoring inside a minute, Florian Hackl’s gorgeous behind the back pass.
Some brilliant corner running limited the damage and the Czechs grew into the contest with a razor-sharp attack seeing Jan Trejbal denied by Lukas Schiesser’s out-stretched boot.
Josef Winkler made it 2-0 when he pinched the ball off the last defender and skillfully dodged right and slotted in off the inside of the post. Trejbal’s predatory instincts, though, saw him pick-pocket the Austrian defence and score to cut the gap to 2-1 at half-time.
The game followed a similar pattern in Q3 with Austria making the main moves, the Czechs lying in wait. The only incursion came when Marcin Nyckowiak nailed his side’s fourth corner of the game for a 3-1 lead and they were out of sight following a lovely move down the left boards with Hackl getting the final touch into the goal.
Nyckowiak added a fifth for good measure into an empty net in the dying moments for a handsome victory.
Poland 1 (R Pawlak) Switzerland 3 (L Grandchamp 2, L Kraxner)
Switzerland set up a rematch with Austria as they produced a defensively superb performance to outdo Poland 3-1 and will now face a side they drew with in the group stages.
The Swiss burst into life in the first three minutes with Léonard Kraxner breaking the deadlock. After that, it was a first half of very few chances with both sides charging down a penalty corner shot while defending their circles with grit and determination.
Poland did get back on terms just 13 seconds into the second half when Robert Pawlak scored his 12th goal of the tournament. The Poles kept out a second Swiss corner but they fell behind once more when Loris Grandchamp was fouled while rounding the goalkeeper. The captain stepped up to power in the stroke for 2-1.
Poland piled forward but found chances hard to come by while Switzerland looked more dangerous on the counter. Maksymilian Pawlak kept Poland in it with an outstanding low block from Kraxner, leaving Switzerland to endure some hairy moments in the closing stretch.
But Grandchamp made sure when he followed up from a Kraxner shot which bounced off the base of the post in the last minute to make it 3-1.
5th – 8th place playoffs
Italy 7 (M Succi 2, L D’Amico 2, I Merighi, A Calzolari, A Petito) Croatia 2 (F Zlatar, L Wher)
Denmark 2 (A Jacobsen, M Thorsted) Ukraine 7 (O Boiko 3, Y Dzemukh 2, O Yasinskyi, D Zheleznyi)
Italy and Ukraine will meet in the fifth place playoff while Croatia and Denmark for seventh following 7-2 results in their respective classification matches this evening.
Italy went through with a comprehensive win over Croatia; they built a 3-0 lead in the first 13 minutes via Leonardo D’Amico and two from captain Marcello Succi. Fran Zlatar’s stroke stopped the run but the Italians were 4-1 up at half-time thanks to an Isaac Merighi penalty corner.
Lijan Wehr cut the gap to 4-2 but three goals in the last four minutes confirmed the healthy Italian win.
The second tie in this section was dominated by Ukraine from the outset against Denmark. Yurii Dzemukh finished from the baseline from Oleksandr Yasinskyi’s tee-up; Dzemukh potted a stroke and Oleksandr Boiko’s clever touch between his legs made it 3-0 inside Q1.
Yasinskyi extended the lead to 4-0 with the only respite for the Danes an Anders Jacobsen corner in the first half. Boiko would go on to have a hat-trick with Dmytro Zheleznyi weighing in too as Ukraine ran out 7-2 winners.
Ninth-tenth place playoff
Türkiye 10 (K Özdemir 3, E Sansar 2, I Bakar 2, A Alperen, R Kayar, Ö Beser) Slovakia 1 (A Štrofek)
Türkiye finished strong to land their first win of the competition and finish in ninth place overall while Slovakia’s youthful side battled to the end but found themselves outgunned once more.
It was close in the first quarter with Ensar Sansar’s first minute goal equaled by an Adam Strofek backhand finish to make it 1-1. But four second quarter goals put the Turks on course for the win in which Kerem Özdemir top scored with three.