Austria, Russia, Turkey and Switzerland have progressed to the semi-finals of the EuroHockey Indoor Junior Championships here in Tarnowskie Gory, Poland.

Game 9: Ukraine v Russia 0 – 7 (0 – 5)

In their strongest display yet, Russia had a comprehensive win over Ukraine in the first game of the day, rocketing them to 6 points and a real chance to make the semi-final, dependent of course on the result of the game Austria v Czech Republic. MAKEEVA opened the scoring in the 9th minute, then EROSHINA scored 4 of the 7 for Russia with CHEPLYGINA adding two.

With the high scoring first game, Czech had a mountain to climb if they were going to make it to the semi-finals, with the small matter of a strong Austrian team in their way, who were hoping to top the pool.

HERZOG was first on the board for Austria, making the Czech task now even harder! HOLUBCOVÁ equalised from the penalty spot in the 12th minute, with no time for celebrations. Czech went ahead 1-2 in the 18th minute, Captain KOLAROVA on target, this was countered by BUCHLEITNER just before halftime. 2-2 at the break.

A battle royale in the second half as Czech went with a powerplay (no keeper) for a full 10 minutes. KOŽÍŠKOVÁ doing a fantastic job as ‘kicking back’ including defending a pc.  MALIK  dashed Czech’s hopes in the 31st minute putting Austria ahead again. A late goal from BABICKÁ drew the game again, but it was too little too late as Czech will now have to battle in the relegation Pool C to save their Championship status.

Chris Faust, Austria’s coach wasn’t happy with his team’s performance against his old team:  “Playing Czech is my old team, my family and we play similar tactics! I was not happy with our performance, but better now than later in the tournament.” Speaking about his young team he added: ” You see it today, a lot of pressure for these young girls but we need this pressure to learn.” And what about the rest of the Tournament “So, we are in the semi-final and that was our initial target, winning isn’t always pretty, it can be ‘dirty’ and tactical. It is good that we had the early game and now we have a lot of rest time and we will see…”

Game 11: Belarus v Turkey 2 – 3 (1 – 1)

The first game of Pool A today was a cracker! Belarus started the day at the top of Pool A but with only 4 points and with Switzerland on 4 and Turkey on 3 the battle for the two semi-final slots was wide open.

Some nice skill from KÖŞKER put Turkey ahead in the 18th minute, this was countered just before the half via a converted pc from BATSIUKOVA. 1-1 at halftime.

A high tempo second half saw Turkey go ahead again and their advantage was once again cancelled by BATSIUKOVA in the 27th minute. A frantic last 10 minutes as both teams pushed to get the win and the coveted place in the semi-finals. Turkey’s captain OYMAK scored from play in the 36th minute and from then on they held firm for the win.

A delighted Turkish captain Meryem OYMAK  spoke to us following the game “I am so proud of my team and I am so proud to play for my country.” Her job this afternoon is the get her team “relaxed again and ready for the semi-finals!”

Game 12: Switzerland v Poland 0-0 (0-0)

A game of cat and mouse as a draw would be enough for Switzerland to make it to the semi-final so even one mistake could cost them their place!

The teams could not be separated and the game ended 0-0 as Switzerland takes the 4th place in the semi-finals.

Upcoming games:

16:30 4th Pool A – UKR Pool C
17:40 3rd Pool A – CZE Pool C
18:50 1st Pool A – RUS Semi Final 1
20:15 AUT – 2nd Pool A Semi Final 2

All photographs: World Sport Pics, Frank Uijlenbroek (C)

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