13th January 2017: As expected the opening day of the EuroHockey Indoor Junior Championships in Lisbon lived up to expectations with some really excellent skills on display here in Lisbon.
Match 1: Belarus 6-6 Croatia
The first day of the Eurohockey Junior Indoor Championship, Men – Lisbon 2017 kicked of with an amazing game. An incredible comeback from Belarus who were 4-0 down to deny Croatia a perfect start to the Tournament.
Dominant and well organized, that’s the way Croatia started the game against Belarus. Four goals without response and the feeling was that the game was all but ‘over’. However, Belarus raised from the ashes and managed an excellent recovery scoring three goals in a row. An avalanche of goals started with both teams scoring one after the other. With 6-4 on the board the Belarus show started, and Croatia were caught napping allowing Belarus to level the score just before the final whistle.
Match 2: Austria 3-2 Switzerland
In the second match, Switzerland started very defensively, playing on the errors of Austria and taking advantage of a short corner to score the first goal of the game.
Austria changed tactics and pushed forward with a full attack. The strategy proved to be the right one and the Austrians won the turnover and firmly grabbed the advantage until the end. The final result, 3-2 for Austria, justifies the quality of a defending Champion.
Match 3: Russia 3-3 Czech Republic
Russia and Czech Republic started the game slowly, both testing the opposition and looking for the channels and a breakthrough: during the first ten minutes the teams played with patience, waiting for the opponent’s error. The first goal scored came through the Czech No. 17 Lukas Plochy.
After a goal in the last second of the first half, the Russians galvanised and came in strong at the beginning of the second half, scoring again. Czechs responded and almost immediately Russia made it 3-2 which remained until the final moments of the game when, through a penalty stroke, the Czechs got the tie in the final moment of the game, and left delighted to claim a draw against a strong Russian side.
Match 4: Portugal 2-6 Poland
Things did not go well for the home team in it’s debut at the EuroHockey Lisbon 2017. Portugal started very nervously, whilst the Swiss team was very strong and focused.
Portugal conceded too many short-corners and Poland took their chances scoring the first goal through short-corner. Patrick Pawlak the Polish captain converted a second corner to double the score. Long before the break, Portugal conceded two more goals in a clear lack of concentration by the young Portuguese players. The second half of the match brought the first goal of Portugal in the competition as they settled into the pace of the game. Carlos Almeida converted a well designed short corner. The goal did not detract from Poland’s game plan and Krystian Sudol responded with another goal. Portugal managed to score again, but Poland was the stronger team and the final score was 6-2, a fair result for the game.
Match 5: Switzerland v Croatia 2 – 4 (1 – 2)
Croatia certainly warranted their slot in the Championship division, with a comprehensive win over Switzerland. The win puts them on 4 points with a real chance of making the semi-final, depending on the outcome of their game v Austria tomorrow!
Croatia was clear with their intentions to win and came out strong with Lucas Bachmann opening the scorer. Five minutes before half-time, the Croats scored their second, but this time the national team of Switzerland did not take too much time to respond with a goal from Jonathan Appel. With two more goals and a lot of missed opportunities, the Croats sealed the deal with a final result of 4-2.
Match 6: Belarus v Austria 5 – 4 (2 – 3)
The current champions were put under huge pressure by a very determined Belarus. An amazing save off the line in overtime meant a win for Belarus and like Croatia they end the day on 4 points. Austria need a win and nothing less v Croatia in the morning if they are to progress here in Lisbon.
The game had a very exciting and emotive start, with Austria putting themselves in the front but only for a few seconds, as Belarusian responded immediately. Austria managed to score two goals in a row and tried to hold on to that advantage using all their defensive strengths.
When everything looked set for an Austrian victory, Belarus came back strongly and led 5-3.
The Austrians gave their all, and with big effort set the score in 5-4, putting the Belarussian defence under huge pressure, which they soaked up to claim the victory.
Match 7: Russia v Poland 1 – 4 (0 – 2)
Poland have proved themselves to be the team to beat here in Lisbon. A attacking side with excellent set pieces dominated this game v Russia. A 6point top of the table finish overnight should see them into the semi-finals, will they complete a hat-trick of wins? We shall see in the morning as they face Czech Republic.
Poland exploded onto the court with 2 clear objectives: score fast and secure the match. Their plan was flawless. With an early goal, everything was easier for the Polish team that extended the advantage after the half-time. With a two goal lead, Poland controlled the game in the second half, conceding a goal and scoring another.
Match 8: Portugal v Czech Republic 4 – 7 (3 – 3)
Game 8 saw an incredibly lively finish to the day here in Lisbon. 6 goals in the first 15 minutes and it was ‘game on’ for both sides. Czech were clinical with their chances, but Portugal competed well and were certainly more composed than in their first game of the day.
Czech Republic started well with a goal in the first minute, bringing the game to the Portuguese who responded with three goals in three minutes.
Nonetheless, the home team completely lost its focus and a consecutive set of defensive mistakes allowed the Czechs to tie the game right before half-time.
In the second half, the Czech Republic had a brilliant start and scored two goals. Czech Republic, more focused and efficient, increased the difference and finished the game 7-4.
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Pictured: Poland prove dominant in their opening game v Portugal (Frank Uijlenbroek (c))