Scotland vs. Poland
Semi Final 2
The second semi final of the day sees the hosts, Scotland, take on one of the surprise packages of the tournament, Poland. This might well be the hardest match of the tournament for the Scots, as on the way to this game, the Poles have got draws off Italy and Wales. I’ve just spotted the GB women’s head coach in the crowd. He must be here to check out Scottish players for his next Great Britain squad.
With a little over two minutes played. Scotland get the crowd cheering with a goal. Emily Dark gets us under way to make it one goal to nil for Scotland. The rain is chucking it down now very, very heavily. In spite of the weather earlier in the day, this is the worst it has been all week. With only three minutes and 40 seconds played the game is postponed. Standing water is all over the turf, this might take a while. At 18.25 the teams are back out on the pitch ready to go.
A minute played since the restart and there’s a goal line save by the Scottish defence. Nine minutes in, Gibson’s goal comes under a bit of pressure, but she’s in the right position for two decent saves. After 10 minutes Dżesika Mazur Poland is sin binned. Soon after this a drive along the baseline sees the ball hit a polish foot in the circle and a short corner for Scotland. A shot from the top circle is saved by the Marta Kucharska, but the ball bounces back out to Kareena Cuthbert, who promptly thwacks it into the bottom corner; two nil. Seconds later we think that the Poles get a short corner. The crowd is not happy about this. The umpires confer and the decision is over turned. At the end of the first quarter the score is Scotland 2 – 0 Poland.
Scotland get us under way for the second period. In the second minute Poland get a short corner. A variation to the right is followed by a save from Nikki Cochrane, but the Poles earn the chance to try again and set up for another set piece. It’s aimed to Cochrane’s left hand post for a deflection, but the connection is missed and goes out of play. Four minutes later Sarah Robertson gets a heavy tackle and a knock to the head. She’s up on her own accord but elects to sit on the bench for a bit to collect herself.
Poland are venturing out a lot further then they did against Wales, putting on a high press on the Scottish backline. It’s a challenge for Scotland, but they are managing to get out every now and again. With two minutes left of the half the Polish number four Amelia Katerla picks up the ball, drives into the circle through a central channel and finds a Scottish foot. Short corner! It’s deflected up high and wide for a Scottish free hit. With 56 seconds remaining, Sarah Jamieson is challenged by two polish defenders on the edge of the area. However, the ball bounces well for her, she drives to her left and hits it on the reverse. The ball gets past the goalie and is seen over the line by Louise Campbell on the stretch. The score at half time is Scotland 3 – 0 Poland.
Poland push back for the second half to begin. In the second minute, Karolina Grouchowalska shells the ball in from the right hand side. The ball loops up off of a Scottish stick to cause a bit of danger and the poles get the first penalty corner of the period. It’s sent back to Amy Gibson’s right hand post, but without the all important deflection and goes wide. Shortly after this, Scotland get a short corner themselves. It’s thwacked at Dominika Nowicka in polish goal, on after the break. She makes a good save and it’s cleared. The Scots are throwing plenty of players high, with the full backs acting almost as wingers. The Poles are keeping plenty of players back. As I’m typing this every polish player is within the dotted line, so narrow as well as deep. Scotland are finding it difficult to attack the space. There has been lot of Scottish possession, but no goals for either side and the scores remain 3 – 0 at the end of the third quarter.
In the second minute of the fourth quarter the Scots move the ball from right to left. The Polish captain, Marlena Rybacha is fiercely protecting her circle. However, she makes a shoulder charge on the Scottish forward and a short corner is given. Scotland strike from top circle, but it goes wide of the post. Poland have been steadily creeping forward in this final period. With seven minutes to go, the coach decides to pull their keeper. They now have 11 outfield players. They’re looking for the win now. In the twelve minute Scotland’s Charlotte Watson receives the ball, she drives forward and the space opens up for her. An open goal looms, but the polish defence force her to change the angle of her run and the shot hits the post. In the final few minutes two or three moves break down, because players are slipping on the pitch. With less then two minutes of the game remaining there is a collision between Louise Campbell and Natalia Wisiniewska. The umpire allows play to continue as Campbell goes on the attack, but then stops the game as it becomes clear that Wisiniewska is hurt. She gets up to continue, after a few seconds, but she isn’t the sort to go down lightly. Poland have a chance towards the end, with a centred ball flashed across the face of the goal, but there’s no body on the end of it to convert. The game ends with a goaless second half and the final score is Scotland 3 – 0 Poland. The Scots will meet the Italians in the final, with both sides earning promotion back to the top tier of European Championships.