Czech Republic vs. Austria
We’ve made it to the final round of games on the first day. The Czech Republic team are playing in royal blue tops and white skirts, whilst the Austrians are in red and white tops, with black skirts. Four minutes into the game Austria’s Marta Laginja is shown a green card for making a tackle whilst sliding along the turf on her knees. Nine minutes later her compatriot Corinna Dvorak is shown the same penalty for an incident off the ball. There hasn’t been much to write about in this first period, but just before the hooter the Austrian defence gets moved one side of the pitch and the Czech number three, Natalie Hajkova, is one versus one with the keeper, Karin Stiefelmeyer, who manages to kick it clear. At the end of the first quarter, the score remains 0 – 0.
As we get into the second period, Adela Lehocova drives into the circle from the right hand side and long the baseline. She flicks the ball over the body of the on rushing goalkeeper, but is unable to find the backboards. In the eight minute an attack down the Austrian’s right wing sees the ball centred. There’s a bit of a melee, a shot and a goal, from number 17 Veronika Decsyova. It’s been scored fairly against the run of play, but there you have it. At half time the score is Czech Republic 0 – 1 Austria. Even though his team is in the lead, the Austrian coach (Christopher Faust) is not a happy chappy and has been far more vocal than his counterpart (Former East Grinstead goalkeeper, Filip Neusser). At the half time buzzer Faust has strode right onto the pitch and seemed to be saying many important things to his captain, Corinna Zerbs.
Within two minutes of the second half getting under way, the Czech’s have equalised, through Veronica Novakova. It’s been deserved, as the team has dominated somewhat, but the Austrians get the ball in the opposition’s circle and fire a shot over the bar – which only animates their coach even further. With the clock running out, the Czech Republic get a final throw of the dice, but can’t find the back of the net. We go into the final period all square; one goal a piece.
In the fourth quarter, the Czech Republic continue to collect circle entries, but without that all important killer touch.In the eight minute they get a short corner. Adela Lehovcova winds up, but the first runner charges her down. The team in blue are now racking up the penalty corners as well. Finally they get what they are looking for. With three minutes remaining they get a set piece that they actually score from. The ball is injected to the top of the circle and a slap pass is played to the outside of the Austrian’s left hand post. Decsyova is the scorer this time gives her team the lead.
The Austrians haven’t given up though. They go right up the other end and Marta Laginja goes agonisingly close to getting one back on the stretch, but can’t connect. This should be the end of things, with so little time remaining, but with just three seconds showing on the clock, we get some drama. Austria are awarded a penalty corner. They have sent all ten outfield players up for it. The ball is injected and Corinna Zerbs, the team’s skipper, equalises with a drag flick. The game ends Czech Republic 2 – 2 Austria, who’s coach is now giving high fives to all of his players.