Italy vs. Scotland
Gold Medal Match
The two highest ranked teams have made it to the final. We are also looking at are two of the most attacking teams in the tournament so far, with 16 goals each. Both finalists of this tournament achieve promotion to the top tier of EuroHockey Championships, so this game is purely about the celebratory moments and earning a gold medal. Both sides have come out to the pitch in their alternate kits, even though both enjoy wearing blue. Italy are in white, whilst Scotland have donned their pink vests.
As the game gets under way both teams are trying to stretch each other, edging forward with combinations and passing moves. It’s Scotland who draws first blood though, with Rebecca Conde and Sarah Robertson working well together to move the ball from defence to attack. Conde then plays in Jamieson, who does well enough to put it past Natalia Schinoni in the Italian goal. Seven minutes played; Italy 0 – 1 Scotland.
Italy aren’t daunted, after a drive up the wing and cut back from the Italian winger, the ball is played to Jasbeer Singh, who sends a stinger towards Gibson’s left deflector pad. Maryna Vynohradova tries to get one in the near post, but is denied. They are refusing to lie down for this final with the host nation. In the 11th minute Marianela Busechian nearly finds Italy Emilia Munitis in the circle with a through ball, but they can’t quite connect. The game has been fairly even, with both teams getting circle entries. With a little under two mins of the quarter remaining, a long thumper of a pass up the Italian left wing finds Sofia Cesanelli. She drives into the circle and forces a save from Gibson. It spills acrid the circle, but Robertson sees it away. Italy 0 – 1 Scotland at quarter time.
Scotland are using the width well, trying to stretch the Italians, but they are keeping the door well shut. The game has become a little bit cagey, with neither team throwing too many forward. With five minutes to go before half time, I’m struggling to think of any clear cut chances for either side. A minute later though Jasbeer Singh gets the ball in space and hits Nikki Cochrane in the Scottish goal. Scotland look to counter in trying to get the ball back Singh is sin binned. With a little over three minutes of the half to play, Elisabetta Pacella drives down the right and along the baseline. She duly earns a short corner for her team. It’s stopped on the line by the Scottish left post player. The Italians pick it up and stick it into the right hand post. They are sure that they have equalised, but the umpire disallows the goal for a stick foul. At half time the score remains Italy 0 – 1 Scotland.
The Scots restart as we get the second half under way. A minute and 39 seconds played and Scotland get a penalty corner. Great Britain international, Amy Costello hits the keeper and it spills out. The second phase sees another attempt which trickles over the line and it’s in. Everybody celebrates, but the umpire had already blown her whistle for a foot and another penalty corner; no goal. They get a third in quick succession, but this one goes wide of the post. A bad umpire decision has denied Scotland a goal. Five seconds later they get a fourth short. It’s worked well, but then sent wide of the other post.
In the ninth minute a good pass into the circle, is picked up by Lucy Lanigan. She tries to escape the attentions of Sara Puglisi, but receives a push in the back. Short corner. Another shot from the top of the circle and another save by the Schinoni. In the eleventh minute the Italians work their first shot of the half. A lovely little move up the left hand side finds Giuliana Ruggieri in the circle, but she sends it just wide of the post. In the 14th minute, a coming together between Kate Holmes and Jasper Singh sees a short corner for Italy. Homles is sin binned. The set piece is It’s defended well and after 45 minutes the score remains Italy 0 – 1 Scotland.
We have the restart and Italy are in search of the equaliser. One of the Italian stars of the tournament Vynohradova helps to move the ball from the left tot he right of the pitch and earns a short corner. It’s defended well though and Scotland clear their lines. Italy come back and get a second short of the period. It’s played back to the injector, but not correctly and the ball rolls over the backline.
During the build up to an attack, that doesn’t work out for Scotland, Sarah Robertson gets a shove in the back from Tiddi. Advantage is played, but the next time the play breaks down Tiddi gets a yellow card on, with four minutes of the quarter played. A minute later, Italy go up the other end and earn a short corner with a numerical disadvantage. It’s blocked by the first runner, but the umpire calls for a foot and gives another short. The Scots disagree but there is no video referral in this competition. The runners block the shot again and clear the lines. Italy come back and are given yet another short corner. The Scots are adamant that this is the wrong decision. There’s a chat with the captain and the other umpire and the decision is overturned. There was an off the ball incident, a bit of push and shove between Becky Ward and Marianela Busechian. Both are shown the green card on six minutes. In the eighth minute Nikki Cochrane makes a save and then shortly afterwards an Italian shot skims the bar. They are coming forward in numbers.
Scotland are starting to regain their shape and keep possession bit more. They are creeping up the pitch and a little after the ten minute mark earn a short corner. It’s sent to Fiona Burnet outside the right hand post who deflects and hits a defender on the line; Penalty Stroke! The Italians protest and crowd the umpire. Celina Traverso gets a green card. Kate Holmes steps up but send it wide. Tiddi is still arguing and as they line up for the hit out she gets the yellow. She’s still arguing and is sent off. It’s the first player hockey player that I’ve ever seen shown a red card.
There’s only four and a half minutes left, they are currently down to nine players. They have the perfect reaction, however, by getting a shot corner. It’s run down by the first runner for a 23 metre restart. This is cut out and by Scotland and they counter attack. Louise Campbell is on the right and centres it to Charlotte Watson. She controls it and as she shoots is tackled by the defender. However she gets enough on it to do the keeper and goes in; Italy 0 – 2 Scotland and the 21 year old is on the scoresheet in the final. Watson’s mum is the same block of seats as I am and she’s going crazy with pride.
Two minutes later, however, Italy win another short corner. The ball is sent back to the injector, who misses the ball again. 30 seconds later, they get another. It’s blocked by the first runner, but bounces backwards. Cochrane has already planked and it’s put over her. Eugenia Bianchi is the goalscorer and the Italians are back in it. They’re streaming forward now, putting the Scottish defence under pressure. It’s not enough though, as the final hooter sounds to signal the end of the match. Scotland win! Scotland win! The final score is Italy 1 – 2 Scotland!
After the presentation of the trophy and individual awards, I spoke to Scotland captain Kareena Cuthbert. I asked her what the turning point in the game was, but she implies that there wasn’t one specifically. Her opinion is that Scotland were in control for most of the match, especially after taking a two goal lead. This was also made easier with a bit of a lack of Italian discipline. She spoke with pride about Emily Dark winning the young player of the tournament award as well as pointing out that Amy Gibson’s goalkeeping award was well deserved, as she, personally, hasn’t conceded a goal all week. The crowd is definitely happy, with a home victory.