Spain finished fifth courtesy of their 7-2 win over Ireland. Despite the result, the Irish ended sixth as Scotland were unable to find the win over the Czech Republic as Tereza Mejzlikova’s strike gave them a famous win.
Women’s Pool C
Scotland 0 Czech Republic 1 (0-1)
Tereza Mejzlikova’s goal saw the Czech Republic land their first win in the EuroHockey Championships, giving them a best ever finish of seventh place.
The result also relegated Scotland and kept Ireland up in sixth place in a dramatic closing Pool C game.
Scotland needed a victory to earn their place in the top level for 2019 and they made most of the running, winning plenty of corners but they found the Czechs in robust mood.
Scotland v Czech Republic – Women's Rabo EuroHockey Championships – Match Highlights pic.twitter.com/wgutjWRuIr
— EuroHockey (@eurohockeyorg) August 26, 2017
When they countered, they did so with venom. Klara Hanzlova hit the post on the five minute mark from a breakaway while Mejzlikova almost stole in from a loose control in front of the goalkeeper.
Mejzlikova then went and slammed home their go-ahead goal in the 28th minute after Amy Gibson had made a couple of initial saves.
Scotland, though, were in near constant control of the ball but their composure in front of goal proved their undoing time and again.
Cechakova made a barrage of brilliant saves as Scotland built a massive corner count but could not find their way past the goalkeeper, booting away several strong shots. Amy Brodie somehow could not finish off a one-on-one chance.
Scotland withdrew their goalkeeper with 12 minutes to go when Hanzlova was sent to the sin-bin. It led to two manic saves from the kicking-back to deny the Czechs a second goal. Chance after chance flashed across the face of goal as time wore on and the game became more frantic but no major breakthrough meant that Ireland stayed in the top level and Scotland go down for 2019.
Czech coach Filip Neusser said of the result: “It took so much power out of me and my team. We really wanted to stay in the A division so it was difficult to play against a Scotland team who had to win. But we gave everything on the pitch. Technically and physically, we didn’t play anything special because the players are super tired and not used to this level but they gave everything.
“The last 10 minutes was so stressful. Our goalkeeper was fantastic, saving everything. I am proud of them. It is improvement and it is down to hard work over the years.”
Scotland – Czech Republic
29’ Tereza Mejzlikova 0-1
Umpires: A Keogh (IRL), V Bagdanskiene (LTU)
Spain 7 Ireland 2 (2-1)
Rocio Ybarra signed off on her international career with the final goal in a 7-2 win over Ireland that ensured fifth place for Spain at the Rabo EuroHockey Championships.
Speaking after the win, Ybarra said: “We wanted to finish higher but this win was well deserved. We played really well today. In tough moments, our reaction was great. We played with freedom.
As for the decision to retire, she said it was a tough moment as she would have liked to play longer but felt it was no longer possible.
Spain v Ireland – Women's Rabo EuroHockey Championships – Match Highlights pic.twitter.com/gFopi1z70s
— EuroHockey (@eurohockeyorg) August 26, 2017
“I’m a little disappointed to be making this decision. I cannot work and play hockey at the same time anymore so I have to choose.”
She finishes after three Olympic Games which she cites as highlights along with Spain’s fourth place finish in the 2006 World Cup.
Against Ireland, her side hit the front seven minutes into the game from their first penalty corner, Cristina Guinea getting a crucial touch to Maria Lopez’s straight hit. It ricocheted off Grace O’Flanagan and then spun in despite the desperate attempts of Lena Tice on the goal line.
Ireland defended another couple of corners soon after before they got back on terms. Again, it came from a corner, Katie Mullan rescuing a ball going over the endline to tip across to Anna O’Flanagan – in her 150th caps – who finished off her 57th international goal.
Parity was short-lived, however, as Maria Tost broke free of a challenge on the right of the circle and fired in from a narrow angle for 2-1 at half-time.
O’Flanagan equalised for a second time with another fine touch, this time from Nikki Evans’ ball from the right to put Ireland back in the frame to stay up.
But a trio of goals in an eight-minute spell saw Spain take the game away from Ireland. First, Carlota Petchame was found unmarked from an 80-metre ball forward, rounding the goalkeeper and scoring. Lola Riera then scored two corners in quick succession to stretch the lead to 5-2.
Marta Segu then finished off from Carola Salvatella’s pass from a quickly taken free before Ybarra deflected in a final corner to complete the rout and put Ireland in danger of relegation.
Spain – Ireland
7’ Cristina Guinea 1-0 (pc)
22’ Anna O’Flanagan 1-1 (pc)
24’ Maria Tost 2-1
35’ Anna O’Flanagan 2-2
37’ Carlota Petchame 3-2
42’ Lola Riera 4-2
45’ Lola Riera 5-2
55’ Carola Salvatella 6-2
60’ Rocio Ybarra 7-2 (pc)
Umpires: M Meister (GER), K Alves (FRA)