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Spain and Poland turn on style to reach the finals in Valencia

February 11, 2017

The home supporters left the stadium in high spirits as host nation Spain beat Scotland to reach the final of the Valencia HWL R2, securing a place at the HWL Semi-Finals later this year. Their opponents will be a confident Poland who, in seeing off the challenge of Ukraine, have also secured qualification for the HWL Semi-Finals as well as the right to contest tomorrow's final.

Semi-final: Ukraine v Poland 0-3

These two teams met on the first day of competition and on that occasion the higher ranked Polish team were made to fight every inch of the way for their 3-2 victory. As the competition reaches the final stages, it is Poland who have marched on and seen their confidence and assertiveness grow. The team in red and white took a hold of the match in the fourth minute of the first semi-final when Magdalena Zagajska rattled home a penalty corner past the outstretched body of Ukraine goalkeeper, Tetiana Stepanchenko. It was on the brink of half-time that Poland doubled their score, a well-taken goal from Bianca Strubbe and then, six minutes after the break Paula Slawinska put the game beyond doubt. The well-structured Poland defence worked hard to keep the Ukraine attack at bay for large sections of this game, and the secure defence gave the midfield and forwards a platform to attack from. Spanish coach Adrian Lock will be thinking hard about how his Spanish side can break down that discipline in the final.

Semi-final: Spain v Scotland 2-1

Spain turned up the heat in front of the home crowd and were rewarded with a 2-1 victory and a place in the final against Poland. While the scores suggest a close game, in truth, Scotland were chasing shadows for a large percentage of this game. The host nation played with verve and swift movement, and the outcome, two penalty strokes scored by captain Georgia Oliva, were the return on their constant probing of the Scottish defence. But Scotland are nothing if not determined and the team in blue never stopped trying to turn the result around. They were finally rewarded with a penalty corner goal from Amy Costello, but this wasn’t until the closing moments of the game and on this occasion, it was Spain’s game.

5/8th place: Russia v Ghana 6-0

Russia bounced back from their quarter-final defeat to make certain of a top six finish in the penultimate day of action at the Valencia HWL Round Two event. The Ghana defence held strong until the second quarter but a pinpoint accurate penalty corner goal from leading goal scorer Bogdana Sadovaia broke the deadlock. This was the first of a hat trick of goals for the prolific Sadovaia: the second, and Russia’s second, came six minutes after half-time, while her third was scored from open play in the final minute of the match. Sadovaia was joined on the score sheet by Valeriia Borisova and two from Svetlana Eroshina. Ghana will have been pleased by their discipline in defence in the first half, but the second half saw the African nation chasing the game and, inevitably gaps appeared that the Russian attack were able to exploit.

Russian head coach Anthony Thornton said: “These events are a steep learning curve for my players [there are three 17 year olds in the Russia team] in many ways. The different styles and hockey cultures are a good opportunity for me to talk about different ways of playing hockey and the good and bad parts to each of the hockey styles. My focus is always on development and education of the players.” The result means 28th-ranked Russia will play 25th ranked Czech Republic for fifth place, while Ghana (27th in the world) will face Turkey (37th) to avoid finishing in eighth place.

5/8th place: Czech Republic v Turkey 6-2

The Czech Republic were on a mission to right the mistakes they had made in their quarter final loss to Ukraine. However, this match got off to the worse possible start for the east European side when, with two minutes gone, Perihan Kucukkoc scored from a penalty stroke after a foul was committed in the circle by the Czech defence. Penata Capouchova scored a nicely taken goal from open play to bring the Czech Republic back into the game, but again the lowest ranked team in the competition showed that they can match their higher ranked opponents when it comes to goal scoring. Just one minute after the Czech Republic evened things up, Nurhan Cinar found the back of the net to give Turkey the lead for a second time. Unfortunately for Turkey, this signalled the end of their spirited attack as the Czech Republic found their rhythm and inexorably wore down the Turkish defence. It was Barbara Haklova who did the most damage: her hat trick came from three goals scored from open play in the 14th, 50th and 60th minute of the game. She was joined on the scoresheet by Jindriska Reichlova and Veronica Decsyova.

Semi-final: Ukraine v Poland 0-3

These two teams met on the first day of competition and on that occasion the higher ranked Polish team were made to fight every inch of the way for their 3-2 victory. As the competition reaches the final stages, it is Poland who have marched on and seen their confidence and assertiveness grow. The team in red and white took a hold of the match in the fourth minute of the first semi-final when Magdalena Zagajska rattled home a penalty corner past the outstretched body of Ukraine goalkeeper, Tetiana Stepanchenko. It was on the brink of half-time that Poland doubled their score, a well-taken goal from Bianca Strubbe and then, six minutes after the break Paula Slawinska put the game beyond doubt. The well-structured Poland defence worked hard to keep the Ukraine attack at bay for large sections of this game, and the secure defence gave the midfield and forwards a platform to attack from. The Spanish coach Adrian Locke will be thinking hard about how his Spanish side can break down that discipline in the final.

Semi-final: Spain v Scotland 2-1

Spain turned up the heat in front of the home crowd and were rewarded with a 2-1 victory and a place in the final against Poland. While the scores suggest a close game, in truth, Scotland were chasing shadows for a large percentage of this game. The host nation played with verve and swift movement, and the outcome, two penalty strokes scored by captain Georgia Oliva, were the return on their constant probing of the Scottish defence. But Scotland are nothing if not determined and the team in blue never stopped trying to turn the result around. They were finally rewarded with a penalty corner goal from Amy Costello, but this wasn’t until the closing moments of the game and on this occasion, it was Spain’s game.

Match schedule Sunday 12 February (all times are CET)

7/8 place 09:00 Ghana v Turkey

5/6 place 11:30 Russia v Czech Republic

3/4 place 14:00: Ukraine v Scotland

Final 16:30: Spain v Poland

Follow the action on the FIH events page and on the FIH twitter account

#HWL2017 #MakeYourMark

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