28th July 2018: A full day of games yesterday saw hosts Wales miss out on promotion, losing 4-1 to a strong Russian side. Scotland overcame Austria 3-2 to earn themselves a final slot v Russia. In Pool C Belarus earned 3 crucial points and Czech Republic lay top of the table overnight.
The roundup of yesterday’s games:
Switzerland v Belarus 2-5
The first game of the day saw a mixed battle between Belarus and Switzerland who were fighting out for the last few ranking places in Pool C. Possession was shared by both teams, but Belarus gained the advantage with a goal by #10 Dzianis Tsalukia who faced Swiss keeper Timo Buetler one v one. It wasn’t long before a second was scored by Tsaluika again through a short corner drag flick and Belarus started taking full control of the game. Belarus missed a penalty flick in the second quarter, saved confidently by Buetler and that was Belarus’ best opportunity of the quarter while Switzerland continued to miss their own chances at goal. The halftime score sat at 2-0 in Belarus’ favour.
At the beginning of the second half and Belarus continued to look dangerous, but it was Switzerland who opened the second half scoring. Belarus continued to power through strongly, delivering a third goal through a short corner routine. The fourth quarter was a more defensive affair for Switzerland who had to hold strong against a barrage of attacks by Belarus, who scored their fourth goal after a counter attack, earning #10 Tsaluika his hattrick of the game. A fifth followed minutes later, seeing the final score of 5-2 to Belarus.
Italy v Czech Republic 2-4
The second game of the day started more evenly, with both teams securing chances to take the lead. However, the deadlock was broken by Czech Republic boys during a short corner, with Michael Hamouz slotting away a rebound from Italian keeper Andrea Dell’anno. The second quarter was also littered with opportunities for either team, Italy seeking out an equalising goal to get back on track and they almost had one with three short corners but all went unconverted.
After halftime the tempo was turned up by both teams, Italy searching for a goal to put on the scoreboard and Czech Republic sniffing out another to extend their lead. It was Italy who got the first goal of the half, with #11 Jasbeer Singh putting it away as the umpire called play-on after a potential foul. Czech Republic were unable to find an answer until deep into the final quarter. The Czech Republic won a short corner from a foul which also saw Italy’s captain Giacomo Boi being sent off with a green card. A drag flick from Czech’s #16 Hamouz gave Czech Republic a second goal. Italy had a flourish of short corners but was unable to convert, and Czech Republic was able to counter-attack with three minutes to go, and #11 Ondrej Sochor got onto the scoresheet. Soon Sochor was scoring a fourth with a rocket strike from centre circle to make it 4-1 to Czech Republic. Italy fought hard to answer back and earned themselves a second goal courtesy of #6 Bautista Consul. Unfortunately for Italy, the clock ran down too quickly for them to find more goals, and the final score stood 4-2 to Czech Republic.
Ranking Pool C:
Scotland v Austria 3-2
The first of the semi-finals for Championship II saw Scotland face off against Austria. The match was incredibly even, with both teams creating opportunities to put themselves ahead. Scotland were the ones to break the deadlock with a drag flick from #9 Andrew McConnell, the only goal of the quarter. The second quarter didn’t start well for Scotland who saw #4 Robert Croll green carded and less than a minute later, Austria equalised with a drag flick of their own by #11 Nikolas Wellan. Scotland pressed on, winning numerous short corners but unable to convert. Austria’s #18 Florian Hackl was awarded a green card and moment later Scotland received a penalty flick. #10 Fraser Heigh stepped up and put it past Austrian keeper Felix Piller. Austria came out at halftime strong, having plenty of chances in the Scottish final. Scotland made it 3-1 courtesy of #14 Strawn Walker. The final quarter saw Austria earn themselves a second goal making the score 3-2. Austria pushed hard for their third and equalising goal and had a barrage of opportunities during which the Scottish defence stood strong, including during an onslaught of Austrian short corners. Scotland had a fourth goal disallowed but continued to put the pressure on Austria. Possession was exchanged and neither team looked ready to concede. The final score ended 3-2 to Scotland, who are through to the EuroHockey Championship II finals.
Wales v Russia 1-4
The second semi-final of the day and tournament, saw the home nation Wales play against Russia. The first quarter saw no real shots on target with a lot of possession being exchanged in the middle of the pitch. Both goalkeepers were forced to stay alert but weren’t truly tested. Wales were the team to secure the first goal of the game, thanks to a short corner drag flick from #26 Ollie Wheeler. However, within third seconds Russia equalised. It ended 1-1 at halftime as neither team could seem to secure a chance on goal during open play.
Russia came out hard at the beginning of the second half, applying a barrage of pressure in the form of short corners. However, the Welsh defence held firm against the attacks and no goals were scored during the third quarter. The final fifteen saw the game turning up another level, with the Welsh defence yet again their defensive strength. However, Russia finally had a breakthrough with the winning of a penalty flick. Russia stepped up to take it and saw it passed the Welsh keeper. Minutes later Russia furthered their lead, scoring the first field goal of the game. Wales were not without their chances, winning short corners toward the end of the game, however, it was Russia who sealed their fate securing the fourth goal. The final score 4-1 to Russia, who’ll now face Scotland in the final.
|09:00||ITA – SUI||Pool C|
|11:15||CZE – BLR||Pool C|
|13:30||AUT – WAL||3/4|
|16:00||SCO – RUS||Final|