The men’s and women’s EuroHockey Nations Championship II concluded over the weekend with the Czech Republic taking top honors on the men’s side and Scotland claiming the women’s title. Both teams are now promoted to the EuroHockey Nations Championship in 2013.Men:
The Czech men's team won the event in Vinnitsa, Ukraine after playing to a 1-1 tie against Poland. Extra time yielded no goals, so it the game went the distance in a penalty shootout, which the Czechs won in a 2-1 decision.
The two teams were close foes throughout the week-long event. Poland claimed a 2-0 win in the preliminary round meeting between the squads, which was a deciding factor in giving the Poles the top seed coming out of the preliminary round group. But despite being the lower seed in the semi-final game, the Czechs had no problem moving onto the final game with a 2-0 win against Scotland. Poland won its semi-final against also by a two goal margin against Austria, 3-1, setting up the re-match final.
Not all is lost for the second-place Poles. They, along with the Czechs, Austria and Ukraine are now eligible to play in the 2012 Olympic Qualification Tournaments, keeping their hopes for London 2012 alive. It is not known which of the three tournaments the teams will be in, but all three qualification events will be held in the first half of 2012.Final Ranking Men:
1. Czech Republic (Promoted to Championships in 2013)
7. Sweden (Relegated to Championships III in 2013)
8. Belarus (Relegated to Championships III in 2013)Women:
Scotland had a tough road, but in the end the team earned the EuroHockey Nations Championship II with a 2-0 win against previously unbeaten Belarus. The win over the tournament's top team was par for the course for a determined Scottish squad, which won all of it’s games by razor thin margins.
In fact, Sunday’s two-goal final win was the largest margin of victory for the Scots, which won all other games, including the semi-final against Russia by just one goal.
"We're delighted to have won and got promotion to the 'A' division,” said head coach Gordon Shepherd. “It has been a very hard and long road but we've succeeded in reaching our target. We learned from the pool match against Belarus and produced an excellent performance today. We started a bit slowly in the competition but got the right result."
Scotland now joins the EuroHockey Nations Championship in 2013, while Switzerland and Wales are relegated to the Tier III level. The four women’s Olympic Qualification Tournament spots go to Belarus, Russia, France and the Ukraine.Final Ranking Women:
1. Scotland (Promoted to Championships in 2013)
7. Switzerland (Relegated to Championships III in 2013)
8. Wales (Relegated to Championships III in 2013)