Eugene Magee stamped down a marker of intent in the opening minutes of the fixtures as he fired two passes into the circle, both just missing his awaiting team mates. Magee then linked up with Shane O’Donoghue to bulldoze through the middle but his reverse shot was over the bar. Jamie Wright anad Matthew Nelson were next to expose the Italian defence as they darted down the left wing with ease, the pace of the Green Machine seemed to catch out the Italians more than once. David Harte was called into action in the 12th minute with 3 Italian PC’s but the two-time world goalie of the year couldn’t be beaten.
The Irish chances kept coming and Conor Harte saw his PC drag saved early in the second quarter. Thomas Keenan saved the Italians blushes when McKee beat Enrico Francesconi in goal but the retreating defender made a fine stick save to keep the score at 1-0. Harte and Matthew Bell, winning his 50th cap today, continued to puncture the Italian line with their driving runs into their opponents half. The Italian defence was eventually broken in the 25th minute when Ronan Gormley broke into the circle and set Matthew Nelson up for a tap-in in front of goal. McKee, Harte and Paul Gleghorne all saw their shots and deflections go either high or wide as the Green Machine tried to add to their tally.
The second half started as the first had ended with Shane O’Donoghue drawing a fine save from his PC drag flick. Gleghorne was on hand with his pin-point passes but O’Donoghue had the ball pipped from under him as he readied himself for the reverse shot. McKee was causing havoc in the Italian defence and again dummied Francesconi, leaving the goal exposed but Keenan and Julien Dallons were on hand to save and clear the shot.
The Italians upped the ante in the final quarter and pushed hard for an equaliser. Both Julian and Juan Montone were forcing some chances but in truth the Irish circle was rarely infiltrated nor the Irish defence particularly troubled. Ireland ran out deserved winners while Italy owe much to Keenan and Francesconi for keeping the score at 1-0.
Line Up: D Harte, J Bell (Captain), M Bell, Gormley, Nelson, Magee, O’Donoghue, McKee, Gleghorne, C Harte, Wright
Just two minutes into the tie Alan Forsyth got the scoreboard ticking for Scotland thanks to a superb cross-field pass by Duncan Riddell. But Poland slowly settled into the game and began to build the phases from the back, continuously led by Pawel Bratkowski. David Forrester was called on to make a save towards the end of the first quarter as Mateusz Hulboj and Michal Raciniewski turned on the burners to break into the circle. Forrester was again forced into a good save as Patryk Bulka fired a reverse shot from close range. Wei Adams was running riot for Scotland anytime he got the ball and set up several opportunities for his team mates.
Dominik Kotulski equalised for Poland 3 minutes into the second half as confusion reigned in the Scottish defence and Kotulksi’s ball trickled over the line. Poland began to dominate but the final pass proved elusive for them and the Scottish defence were alert to sweep up any real danger. Scotland upped their intensity in the final quarter but they were matched blow for blow by Poland who looked the more threatening as the clock wound down. Scotland struggled to create real chances despite Adams’ best efforts as Poland had 11 players in the circle more often than not when on defensive duty. The action continued to be end to end and Hulboj saw his reverse strike ping off the crossbar. Scotland were quick off the mark with the ball out and Forsyth charged into the circle for his second goal, his shot clipped off Rafal Banaszak in the Polish goal who was perhaps unlucky not to save the shot. Poland couldn’t force a goal from their final PC and Scotland escaped with the victory.
France 1 (Rogeau)
From the starting whistle, Viktor Lockwood and Tom Genestet were testing the Welsh defence, running straight at them and instigating several early attacks. Jonathan Gooch and Lewis Prosser were trying to build chances from the back for Wales but France were relentless and rarely granted the Welsh entrance into their circle. Blaise Rogeau took his goal exceptionally well as David Kettle’s save hung mid-air, Rogeau jumped and swung on the reverse to leave Kettle with no chance. Kettle was again called into action as he made an initial save before scrambling back across goal to make a stick save from another French shot. Rupert Shipperley proved a creative spark in the Welsh side and began to cause the French defence a bit of trouble but there were few real chances for Wales in the first half.
Wales looked a different team when they came out for the second half and enjoyed the majority of possession as France appeared happy to sit back and catch Wales with their pacey counter attack. Charles Masson had the chance of the half to put the game to bed as he appeared clear on goal but elected to pass instead and the Welsh defence cleared their lines. Daniel Kyriakides set up Luke Hawker in the circle but Hawker slipped at the vital moment and the French poached the ball. Owain Dolan-Gray was a potent threat for Wales all over the pitch as he put the French under pressure and then drove the Welsh forward. Wales took off their GK for a kicking back as they pushed hard for an equaliser with Shipperley and Dale Hutchinson lined up several chances but the goal simply would not come for Wales, an unlucky result for a valiant performance but credit to the French who took their early chance and defended with discipline.
Austria 4 (R Bele, Korper x2, Thornblom)
Ukraine 2 (Kalinchuk, Kovalenko)
Leon Thornblom was the first to test the Ukrainian defence with a blistering run into the circle which was followed up with shots by Julius Heimanns and Florian Steyrer but the Ukrainian defence didn’t falter. Robert Bele scored Austria’s first as he was quickest to the rebounded ball from Perepelytsya’s initial save. 3 minutes later and Ukraine evened the score line with a crash ball in that got a final deflection from Vitalii Kalinchuk. A yellow card for Yasinskyi proved the undoing of Ukraine as a flurry of goals reigned in the space of 6 minutes.
Ukraine held firm for the third quarter despite constant Austria attacks from both Robert and Alexander Bele. Mykhailo Yasinskyi appeared all over the pitch making numerous imperative tackles while Perepelytsya made a phenomenal double save from two Alexander Bele strikes that look destined for the back of the goal. The game took a bit of a turn in the final quarter and fouls were coming in thick and fast. Patrick Stanzl received a red card for bad language following several tackles and half-altercations between players but Ukraine couldn’t take advantage of their man advantage and the game finished 4-2.