Austria is the new European U16 Champion! The hosts won the EuroHockey Championship for Boys in Vienna after a 3:2 in a dramatic and high quality final against Poland in front of 700 spectators in Viennas Hockeystadion.
Austria and Poland picked up the pace early on with the hosts domination on offense. Nevertheless Poland scored first when they found the goal after some confusion in front of the Austrian keeper for the 1:0 (25.). But Austria immediately answered with captain Emil Sperl converting a penalty corner for the 1:1 (27.) – also the halftime score.
After the break the game kept an impressive pace and quality – and again Poland scored first when they took a nice volley for the 2:1. But twelve minutes later Austria answered again: Fabian Unterkircher spectacularly made the 2:2 after a long pass, scoring while flying past the keeper.
The end of the game was dramatic: Austria got a penalty corner with 90 seconds to go and had to retake it three times. But then Emil Sperl send the Austrians into ecstasy, hitting the bottom left corner on his fourth try, making Austria the new European Champions.
Russia took the bronze medal with an impressive performance, taking Italy apart with a brilliant offense. After 70 minutes the Russians had scored ten goals, making it a 10:3-victory.
Croatia and the Czech Republic are the teams who have to move down to Championship II in 2016 after losing their final and decisive games in relegation on Sunday. Croatia, after improving tremendously over the course of the tournament, fought hard against Belarus. After being 0:4 down after 45 minutes they scored three goals to come back to 3:4 with one minute to go. The Czech Republic gave Ukraine a hard time, tying the game in second half after being down 0:1 at halftime. But the Ukraine scored from a beautiful attack, securing their spot in Championship for 2016 with the 2:1 with eight minutes to go.
Photograph: Austria celebrate their win