Italy vs. Austria
Semi Final 1
The Italians are favourites for this clash. The Austrians have been on a whirlwind journey so far and nobody, even themselves, I suspect, thought that they would get to this stage. The game start to the tune of ‘The Final Countdown’ as we get underway. In the second minute the ball comes into the Austrian circle. A bad touch by Corinna Zerbs gives Lara Oviedo the ball. There’s not much space available, a shot does gotten away, but from a tight angle and the ball goes wide. Italy seem to get getting some decent high possession, but not many clear cut chances.
The Austrian fans are in the main stand today and are in good voice. In the ninth minute the Italians are certain that they should have been given a short corner, after a Lara Oviedo runs across the circle, but nothing is given. She gets another chance moments later, but her shot is saved by the Austrian goalie. With five minutes left of the quarter Emilia Munitis passes to Sofia Cesanelli, who drives into the circle and wins the first short corner. However, the shot is deflected wide. Soon afterwards a drive along the right baseline from Munitis finds an Austrian foot and a short corner for Italy. The shot comes in and there’s a high deflection that is deemed dangerous. The Austrians get the free hit. Celina Traverso takes a knock and needs a minute, but she can play on. In the last 14 seconds of the quarter, Italy get another short corner. The slap shot from top circle is saved, Munitis again goes for the rebound, but missies the ball. After the first 15 minutes the score is 0 – 0.
The two sides return to the field after a brief interlude and a chat from the coaches. In the very first minute of the second period, Italy get a short corner. The teams set up and we have our first goal. Ivanna Pessina is the hero of the moment and the Italians draw first blood. In the sixth minute Stella van Rahden, in the Austrian goal, makes two good saves in a row and the ball is cleared, but possession turns over and she can’t save her team for a third time as Jasbeer Singh scores for Italy, who now lead by two goals to nil.
Four minutes after the second goal goes in, Austria get a chance as a first phase shot spills off the Italian keeper, Natalia Schinoni, and back into the centre of the circle. The Italian defence do enough to keep it out though and look to move the ball forward. At the other end Italy’s Maryna Vynohradova cuts through the Austrian defence in the circle, but is kept out by van Rahden. At half time the score is Italy 2 – 0 Austria.
The fifth minute of the second half sees Vynohradova move the ball forward well. Lara Oviedo picks it up on the right baseline and drops it back. A shot taken and a penalty stroke given. This was a good bit of play. The keeper goes the correct way, but can’t get to the ball. Vynohradova is the scorer and the score is now Italy 3 – 0 Austria.
Italy have been the better team throughout this match. Eight minutes into the half they get another penalty corner. The shot is saved by the goalkeeper, number 16 Karin Stieflemeyer, who replaced her compatriot at half time. The second phase ball hits an Italian foot and Austria get the free hit. The Austrians are coming further forward, playing decent passing moves through the centre. In the 13th minute they think that they should have a short, but the umpire disagrees. At the end of the third quarter, it is Italy 3 – 0 Austria.
Within a minute of the restart, Italy get a short corner. The routine sends the ball to Chiara Tiddi, who sweeps and hits the keeper. There’s an infringements and the Italians line up again, but they can’t make anything of it. In the fifth minute Austria’s Nathalie Matousek blocks a pass from Tiddi. The Italian captain fouls her and knocks the ball away after the whistle and is shown a green card. Austria are unable to mount an attack a sustained from the resulting free hit. In the eight minute Jasbeer Singh combines with one of her compatriots to win the ball in a high position, Singh moves it forward into the circle, the pass is defected and tucked home by Emilia Munitis for her second of the game and the Italians now have four. A little under three minutes remain and Italy get a short corner. It’s given back to the injector, who’s put off by the encroaching goalie and sends it wide. The game ends with a final score of Italy 4 – 0 Austria.