This was a day of many emotions. Some national teams have already bid farewell to the hopes of qualifying, while others still live in the uncertainty that only tomorrow will be undone. There were smiles, tears, despair and relief. Tomorrow is expected more of this but in a higher dose… it’s the last day of the competition.
Wales 1-2 Sweden
The balance in this match was so evident that the first goal of the match and the day – scored by Welshman Oliver Wheeler – came just before the break. Shortly thereafter, through the conversion of a short corner, the Swedes tied the game.
The balance remained in the second period, with missed opportunities from both sides. The decisive goal was scored in the last minute of the game by the Swedish No. 11, Johan Issazadhe, and celebrated with euphoria by all his teammates.
Slovakia 3-2 Denmark
Slovakia kept possession in the opening minutes but against the current of the game, the cunning Danes scored in the first goal chance. The Slovaks responded through Michal Holasek. At the end of a frenzied period, the Danes were able to get back to the lead, but Slovakia responded promptly in the conversion of a short corner. In the 10th minute of the second half, the Slovak team got the lead in the scoreboard for the first time in the match and no longer missed that precious advantage.
Czech Republic 5-4 Portugal
The Czechs entered confidently in the confrontation with Portugal, getting the first goal very early and extending the advantage immediately. After a nervous start, the Portuguese team reduced by Afonso Caramalho through a short corner. A well-studied and executed play. Invigorated by the goal of their No. 7, the “Lusos” reached the desired goal that left everything tied again. The pupils of Bernardo Fernandes managed, in a play of insistence, to turn the result in their favour even before the half-time.
As they did in the first half, the Czech Republic came with a better attitude for the second-half and managed to tie through Ondřej Sochor. The Portuguese answer did not wait: Caramalho put Portugal back in the front. With just 10 minutes to play, the Czechs Bodnar and Sochor, after a good offensive and a penalty, respectively, allowed the Czech team to get ahead in the scoreboard to no longer lose the advantage in a match very important for the aspirations of both teams.
Ukraine 5-4 Wales
Confident, Ukraine got ahead very early on the scoreboard by Yurii Dzemukh’s stick. The Welsh tie was followed by another goal of the Ukrainian team, that succeeded to hold to the advantage until the end of the first half.
The second half started with two more goals from the Ukrainians, who were very strong on the counterattack. However, when nothing was foreseeable, Wales got galvanized and scored two goals and returned to the game, although this impetus was not enough to prevent the defeat.
Denmark 4-2 Sweden
A very tactical game between two national teams that seem to know each other very well. The scoring was only changed near the end of first half through a short corner favourable to the Danes. The excitement was late but came close to the final with another goal from Denmark, followed by two good opportunities from the Swedes. With Denmark’s player Markus Hansen scoring his 9th goal – setting a score of 4-0-, the victory seemed to be certain. However, Sweden still threatened the draw with two goals.
Portugal 3-3 Slovakia
Another false start for the young Portuguese squad. And another exemplary response: a beautiful goal scored by captain Vasco Ribeiro. The Slovakians were to obtain a new advantage, this time through the conversion of a penalty by Holasek, one of the best scorers of the tournament so far. But the best was yet to come! Caramalho not only managed to equalize the game… he did in a sublime way, with an incredible goal that left in bustle the well-made stands of the Pavilion Rota dos Móveis.
After the talk of Bernardo Fernandes at half-time, Portugal appeared revitalized for the second half of the confrontation, not wasting the opportunity to get ahead on the scoreboard again. However, a fatal short corner by Slovakia brought another equalizer that would no longer be shattered.
Czech Republic 3-2 Ukraine
It was enough to accelerate a little the rhythm of play for the Czechs to inaugurate the score. Patiently, the Czechs controlled the match and even increased the advantage that, in the last minutes of the first part, would be diminished due to a short corner. Still, everyone thought Czech Republic would have it easy, but everyone that thought that was utterly wrong.
Ukraine returned from the interval willing to turn the game, and they fought with everything they had! However, the coldness of the men commanded by Lucas Nocar prevailed. Czech Republic kept it together and managed another win. The first place of the competition is practically known, but the third and the last day of EuroHockey Indoor Junior Championship II Men, Paredes, might still hold some surprises.