28th July 2018: The final day of the EuroHockey U18 Championships saw Russia take gold after beating Scotland in the thrilling 6-3 Final. Austria took bronze v the hosts Wales and the Pool C was completed.
Italy v Switzerland 4-1
The first game of the finals saw Italy take on Switzerland. The first quarter paved the way for a strong start for the Italians, courtesy of two goals on the back of penalty corners. Switzerland came back fighting during the second quarter, applying good periods of pressure against their Italian counterparts. After defending well against two Italian penalty corners and struggling to penetrate the Italian defence, the Swiss clawed back one of their own with a well-placed field goal from open play #17 Lukas Hengartner. With just under 5 minutes of play left, it looked like Switzerland were going to draw level, being awarded a penalty corner after a bad stick tackle. Their opportunity to draw dampened however when saved by the Italian keeper. The third quarter ended 3-1 to Italy after converting the first of three penalty corners.
Throughout the second half, Italy continued to dominate against a determined but flagging Swiss side. The final minutes saw Italy deliver a final blow to Switzerland when #21 Delan Grosso powered through a fourth and final goal during open play. Although awarded a further penalty corner during the closing minutes, Italy was unable to convert with the game ending 4-1.
Belarus v Czech Republic 5-7
The second game of the day. The first quarter saw an early but unconverted penalty corner awarded to Belarus followed moments later by a second that this time although initially saved ended in a goal from the stick of #15 Ilya Yerakhavets. The Czech Republic replicated the same sequence, missing one penalty corner and converting the next, bringing the score to one a piece at the end of the first quarter. The second quarter saw a field goal for Czech Republic after questionable Belarussian marking, allowing two unmarked Czech players, one getting a touch in front of the goal. The score at halftime was 2-1 to Czech Republic.
The second half paved the way for a fierce battle of goals for both teams. During the third quarter, Belarus capitalised on mistakes made, winning two field goals. The Czech’s returned with a third goal of their own, resulting from a quick free hit after a Belarus mistake and two touch counter attacking play led to Czech Republic levelling the score.
The fourth quarter broke with a goal from Czech Republic that appeared to have had a final touch from a Belarussian stick, followed up by a converted penalty corner for Belarus after a foul from the Czech’s. The end result was 7-5 to Czech Republic, with #11 Ondrej Sochor making a hattrick, just 30 seconds from time.
Bronze Medal game:
Wales v Austria 0-3
The Bronze medal game of the Championship saw home nation Wales battle it out with Austria. It was a tense affair in he opening few minutes of the game, both teams testing the waters and no real shots on target during open field play. Austria opened the scoring courtesy of a dragflick penalty corner by #11 Nikolas Wellan, that put the score at 1-0 to Austria. Wales fought back and were beginning to get shots on target, but Austria keeper Felix Piller was determined to keep a clean sheet. The second quarter continued much the same, Wales winning chances and penalty corners alike but were just unable to convert as Austria seemed content to sit on a half-court press until after half-time.
Still 1-0 up going into the third quarter, Austria came out hard against Wales, who soon found themselves down to 10 men after #20 George Rice was green carded. Austria capitalised and soon a second penalty corner drag flick by Wellan was hitting the back of the net. Austria pressed higher, wanting to keep pressure on Wales who held strong defensively as no field goals were scored. A third penalty corner was award to Austria, and a third drag flick goal was converted, this time by #27 Benjamin Kolbl to put his team 3-0 up going into the fourth and final quarter. Wales saw the ball hit the net of the Austrian goal five minutes into the final quarter but the goal was unfortunately disallowed due to a high first strike. Wales continued on, pushing for their first goal despite #26 Ollie Wheeler receiving a yellow card.
The end of the fourth quarter became fractious, with Austria later receiving a yellow card and a green being given to Wales’ #19 Miles Margetson. Despite best efforts from Wales the final result remained 3-0 to Austria.
Scotland v Russia 3-6
The Final of the EuroHockey Championship II was to be decided between Russia and Scotland. It was a very tentative start to the game, both teams observing and waiting patiently to learn more about their opponents. The first quarter saw plenty of attempts at opening the scoring, but those chances went wide or were simply incomplete with no one able to get on the end of a pass. However, Russia went on a goal-scoring spree in the second quarter, with a penalty corner goal by #10 Igor Stepanenko opening the scoreline. Followed by two goals from #5 Alexey Sobolevskiy, which left the half-time score 3-0.
Scotland was fighting hard to win opportunities that could get them on the scoreboard, and a lot of possessions was exchanged in the middle third of the pitch in those attempts. Eventually, they secured a penalty corner which was converted through a drag flick from #9 Andrew McConnell. However, less than a minute later, Russia got a fourth goal courtesy of #13 Artur Kazanchian. Scotland tried linking passes together, and Russia’s defence held firm, until Scotland won another penalty corner and, after a scramble in front of goal, #19 Alexander Riddell got his first of the game. In the final quarter, the game grew tense as Scotland found a third goal through #7 John Stephen, bringing the score to 3-4. The dreams of a comeback were there, but despite Scotland’s determination and penalty corner routines, Russia’s #7 Denis Starienko scored another penalty corner drag flick. A sixth, and final, goal was scored by Russia’s #17 Vladislav Kazantsev despite Russia having only 10 men for the last two minutes of the game, thanks to a yellow card.
The final score read 3-6 to Russia, who will be promoted into Championship I as hard-earned Champions, and Scotland will take home the silver after a brilliant display of determination and spirit.
|Player of the Tournament||SOBOLEVSKIY Alexey||Russia|
|Goalkeeper of the Tournament||UHLÍŘ Vaclav (GK)||Czech Republic|
|Leading Goalscorer||CONSUL Bautista||Italy|