Wales vs. Czech Republic
As we enter the final day of the tournament, we start with the classification matches. In Pool C Wales should be comfortable, but will want to win to make their original seeding of fifth place. The Czech Republic will want to win to be certain that they don’t finish in the bottom two and are relegated to the third tier of the EuroHockey Championships.
The Czech’s get us under way. In the third minute the Welsh forward line apply some pressure the Czech backline for a good chance at goal, but the keeper, Barbora Cechakova smothers it. Wales have been dominating the early part of the game, with a number of circle entries and shots, but without success. On nine minutes Phoebe Richards sends a decent shot at goal, but it’s dealt with well and cleared first time by the keeper. After 15 minutes the score is Wales 0 – 0 Czech Republic.
In the fifth minute Wales get a good chance when the ball is fired up to Xenna Hughes inside the circle. She gets her shot on target, but whilst being put under pressure she gets a stick in the face. The game is stopped, while she makes sure everything is still there and we carry on. A minute later Hannah Cozens gets a first time shot away first time from the top of the circle, but saved by Cechakova. In the eight minute of the second period, but get our first goal. Hughes picks the pocket of the Czech defender drives to her left to the top of the circle and unleashes a reverse hit shot into the bottom corner; one nil to the Britons, which is how it ends after the first period.
There is little action in the second quarter. With a little over two minutes remaining and the Czech midfielder Katerina Lacina is shown a green card. Her discipline in this tournament has consistently been quite bad and seems to sin binned on a regular basis. There has been no score in this quarter and at half time the score remains Wales 1 – 0 Czech Republic.
Within 90 seconds of the restart, the Czech’s put a hopeful ball sent into the circle. It’s moved to the right slightly and Veronika Decsyova gets a goal at the back post. It’s the equaliser for the Eastern Europeans and now we have a game. Four minutes into the second half and Phoebe Richards is sin binned for a dodgy tackle. The Czech’s immediately attack down the right and centre the ball into the circle. Decsyova scores again with a nutmeg on Welsh goalkeeper Rose Thomas and puts her team in the lead for the first time in the game.
In the fifth minute Wales get a short corner. It’s blocked twice and the Czech’s counter attack. Lucie Duchkova, however, can’t find Decsyova with a pass and Wales regain possession. Shortly after Lacina is yellow carded for a foul on Richards. She isn’t happy about it, but off she goes. The Czech’s are playing a bit better in this half, passing the ball around, but the Welsh seem to have adapted and are cutting out the angles since they conceded the second goal. At half time the score is Wales 1 – 2 Czech Republic.
In the second minute of the third quarter there is a challenge on Sarah Jones. The umpire spots an infringement and gives Wales the free hit. Czech Republic’s Jindriska Reichlova looks straight at the umpire screens and thumps her stick on the ground. She is promptly shown the green card. Nothing much happens in this period and the score remains the same.
Well into the fourth and final period the Czech captain, Tereza Mejlikova is sin binned for a foul in the inside her own quarter. Wales get a free hit, but they can’t work anything from it. In the tenth minute Wales get a free hit inside their opponents half. The Czech coach, Filip Neusser, is furious with this decision. Wales go up into the circle and send a shot just wide of the post. The Welsh have had more possession, but the Czech’s are defending stoutly, getting the direct sight lines to goal squared away. The final score is Wales 1 – 2 Czech Republic.