Women’s EuroHockey Indoor Championships (Prague, January 21): Alisa Vivot’s ice-cool composure saw her scored two from two in a shoot-out, winning the women’s EuroHockey Indoor Championships title for Germany, ending the Netherlands’ reign as continental champions.
She had also scored in normal time to level the game at 1-1 with eight minutes to go, canceling out Imme van der Hoek’s goal in a high quality tactical tie.
Earlier in the day, a hat-trick from Ryta Batura helped Belarus upset the home hosts the Czech Republic and win the bronze medal with a 5-3 win. Ukraine scored a 3-1 win over Poland to preserve their place in the top tier in fifth place while Switzerland’s dramatic 2-2 draw saw them stay up with their opponents Russia relegated along with the Poles.
Final: Netherlands 1-1 (0-0) Germany, Germany win shoot-out 2-1
Alisa Vivot’s ice-cool composure saw her scored two from two in a shoot-out, winning the women’s EuroHockey Indoor Championships title for Germany, ending the Netherlands’ reign as continential champions.
It was a classic tactical battle in the final with openings hard to come by and both defences superbly well organised, blocking chances at all times in the first half. Indeed, the closest chance came with the very last pay of the half, the ball slipping inches wide of the right post.
In the second half, it followed a similar pattern with both sides winning corners but finding their shots shut down by the defensive runners. The game burst into life in the 32nd minute when the Dutch worked a brilliant move, exchanging passes and making intricate runs. Mila Muyselaar’s brilliant pass from the back found Imme van der Hoek on the right of the circle.
A lovely shimmy left and a backhand finish and the Dutch led 1-0. But the lead only lasted for a couple of seconds as Sophia Willig stole the ball on the right board, drove into the circle and pushed to the left post where Vivot tapped in the equaliser.
And so it remained until the final hooter, leading to a shoot-out to decide the destination of the title. Vivot was once again the player to put Germany in front in the first round of the shoot-out but some nervous finishes allowed Muyselaar to level it at 1-1 after the initial phase of three shoot-outs.
On to sudden death and Vivot scored once again while Muyselaar was unable to find a way past Rosa Kruger, sparking the celebrations in earnest for the Germans.
Bronze medal match: Belarus 5-3 (2-1) Czech Republic
Two late Belarussian goals saw them lay claim to the bronze medal ahead of hosts the Czech Republic in Prague, putting a halt to their big comeback in a battle of penalty corners. Indeed, seven of the eight goals came from set pieces. Anna Kolarova put the hosts in front but they soon trailed following twin goals from Maryna Nikistina and Ryta Batura. Batura scored her second for an imposing 3-1 lead in the 25th minute. Adela Lehovcova has scored plenty of crucial goals during the tournament and she fired in two corners to level the game for the Czechs at 3-3. But they could not complete the comeback as Batura found the net in the 33rd minute to put Belarus back in front and Nastassia Syrayezhka finished off the crucial fifth goal – owing a lot to Krestina Papkova’s steal and pass – for the victory.
Match 17: Ukraine 3-1 (2-0) Poland
Ukraine ensured their safety in the top tier of European indoor hockey when they ran up a 3-1 win over already relegated Poland in Prague. Yana Yorushylo put them in front in the second minute when she turned home Maryna Khilko’s cross. Oksana Ponomarenko flicked in on the backhand for 2-0 at half-time and Viktoriya Stetsenko put them out of sight with 12 minutes to go. Paulina Grotek put Poland on the board but they could not find any more of a comeback.
Match 18: Switzerland 2-2 (1-0) Russia
Tamara Trösch’s 31st minute goal ultimately was the difference for Switzerland, earning them a draw against Russia that saw them finish sixth with the Russians seventh overall. Stephanie Wälti’s corner for the Swiss was the only goal of the first half. Needing victory, Russia fought back with Valeriia Borisova scoring a corner in the 28th minute and, within 60 seconds, Svetlana Eroshina had them in front with a first time touch from a left wing pass. But Trösch turned in Wälti’s pass for the all-important equaliser.
4. Czech Republic
Top goalscorer: Valeriia Borisova (Russia) – 10 goals
Best goalkeeper: Nathalie Kubalski (Germany)
Player of the tournament: Valeriia Borisova (Russia)