Finals day in Glasgow brings success for Belarus girls and France boys
Belarus and France were the winners of the two fantastic U18 EuroHockey Youth Championship II competitions in Glasgow.
The story of the tournament belongs to Belarus. From arriving in Glasgow just hours before their opening game due to travel problems, which also saw their kit go missing, they won their opening game 5-1 using Scottish kit, and kicked on from there to win the girls’ tournament in Glasgow.
The girls’ final between France and Belarus had a very competitive opening half with neither side having a clear advantage. The first half ended in stalemate with so much at stake. The game only really came alive when Belarus scored a fully deserved goal on 41 minutes. Volha Skryba struck the ball well, right in front of goal, to give her side the lead in the final.
The French played some good hockey and were rewarded for it when Johanna Lhopital levelled the score with an improvised finish. The game went to a shootout, just as it did when the two met in the final group game, which France eventually won. This time it was Belarus who kept their nerve to win the shootout and the final, taking the trophy, and some Scottish kit, back to Belarus.
France were the winners of the boys’ final against Poland with a fantastic performance in the Glasgow sun. Krystian Sudol had an excellent chance for Poland after 12 minutes, but the dangerous striker was crowded out by French sticks before he could properly connect a shot on goal.
It was France who made the breakthrough as half time approached. They broke in well from the left side, crossed, and Timothee Clement finished clinically to make it 1-0. Then, in the blink of an eye, came a quick reply from Poland’s Sudol who fired away a brilliant finish to pull Poland back onto level terms. 1-1.
France took the lead again through a penalty flick to make it 2-1. Adrien Coffigniez stepped up with a low flick that the keeper managed to get a stick to, but couldn’t prevent from hitting the net.
France made it 3-1 from a penalty corner when Martin Poupee finished clinically with a drag flick from the top D. They sealed the game when Theo Viguie scored on 58 minutes. To rub salt into Polish wounds Clement scored a thunderous strike on 61 minutes to make it 5-1. France ran out as winners and deservedly took the trophy home from Glasgow.
Earlier, Lithuania and Italy girls got the day off to a high scoring start. Dovile Juraite scored the first goal of the game, giving Lithuania a great start in six minutes. They doubled their lead on 18 minutes when Rimante Gudeliauskyte scored from open play. 2-0. Italy struck back a minute later when Federica Carta scored to make the score 2-1. Sara Puglisi equalised for the Italians with half time approaching to bring the first half to an even end. Italy took the lead early in the second half with Federica Carta grabbed her second of the game. Dovile Juraite also grabbed her second of the game shortly after, and in the end both sides ended their tournament with a competitive 3-3 draw in Glasgow.
Czech Rep were the opposition for Scotland girls in the U18 3rd/4th place play off and it was the Czechs who claimed third place in the EuroHockey U18 Youth Championship II through a penalty shootout. An excellent break by Scotland allowed Hanna McKie to sprint into the Czech D, het shot was saved but Millie Steiger was on hand to score the rebound and give Scotland the lead.
Czech Rep got off to a flier in the second half when they scored when they scored through Veronika Koprivova within a minute of the restart. The Czechs broke quickly down the right and Koprivova popped up at the far post to score. 1-1. Scotland were awarded a great chance to snatch victory just before full time when they were awarded a penalty flick. Morven Cawthorn stepped up to strike it but was met by a great save by Tereza Koprivova. A penalty shootout beckoned and it was the Czechs who prevailed with a 2-0 victory in the shootout.
Ukraine girls ended their tournament with an excellent 4-2 win over Austria in Glasgow. Ukraine got off to an incredible start with Mariia Handabura scoring in two minutes, Alevtyna Shalyhina scoring on eight minutes, and Hanna Serozheko scoring on 11 minutes to give them a 3-0 lead. Helene Herzog pulled one back on 24 minutes to make it 3-1 before Karyna Leonova restored the three goal advantage for Ukraine. Luisa Mayer scored a penalty corner to make it 4-2 towards the end of the game, which is how it finished.
Scotland boys defeated Austria to win bronze on Pitch 1 in Glasgow. Scotland boys got off to a great start with Andrew Webb scoring from a penalty corner. He flicked the call quickly past the goalie and into the bottom right corner of the goal. 1-0. Shortly later, Philipp Schippan had a great chance to equalise for Switzerland, but his swivel and strike fired past the post.
Austria began the second half by applying pressure through a succession of penalty corners. Scotland defended them well and kept Austrian intentions of an early strike back at bay. Then Schippan deflected a smash into the D with 12 minutes remaining to give Austria an equaliser. 1-1.
Alan Johnston very nearly restored Scotland’s lead when he slid in to try and knock the ball into the goal, but he couldn’t connect his stick and the chance passed.
Scotland wouldn’t be denied for long when Aidan McQuade bagged yet another goal from a penalty corner this tournament. 2-1. Scotland held on to win the match and the bronze medal in Glasgow.
Wales and Switzerland battled out a fantastic 2-2 draw on pitch 2 in Glasgow. Wales’ penalty corner expert Ioan Wall gave his side the lead through a good strike on six minutes. Felix Schwander equalised for Switzerland on 54 minutes; a good goal from open play. Nick Schwehr converted a penalty corner to give the Swiss the lead on 61 minutes, but Jolyon Morgan snatched Wales a draw with five minutes remaining.
Russia against Ukraine got off to an explosive start with Aleksandr Laptev scoring a goal for Russia. Ukraine had a penalty corner on the stroke of half time and nearly equalised, but Russia defended well. The second half was even more explosive than the first with Russia setting off on a goal scoring rampage. Three goals from Oleg Kotkov, and one a piece from Georgii Arusiia, Pavel Shaboldin, Konstantin Zinkovskii made the score 7-0 full time.