Scotland and Wales’ women will meet in the World Cup Qualifier semi-finals on Saturday after both secured huge wins in Pisa, Italy.
Two goals from Fiona Burnet and another from Sarah Jamieson saw Scotland ease to a 3-0 win over Poland, while Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist Sarah Jones continued her fine form to seal Wales’ place in the final four with a 1-0 win over Italy.
Under the lights on home soil, Wales men delighted a partisan home crowd by reaching their semi-final with a clinical 2-0 victory over Italy.
Gareth Furlong produced two unstoppable penalty flicks to keep his side in with a chance of reaching their first ever World Cup.
There was heartbreak for Scotland’s men though as their World Cup dreams were ended by Austria as they lost on a shootout after a goalless draw.
Boasting three successive major tournament wins against their opponents, Scotland’s women would have felt confident heading into their game against Poland.
It translated into their on-pitch performance too as they opened the scoring early in the second quarter through Burnet, before she doubled both her individual and the team’s tally in the 36th minute.
Jamieson then sealed the victory with five minutes remaining to book Scotland a crunch semi-final tie against Wales on Saturday.
The Welsh women started the competition as the seventh seeds, meaning they faced the second-highest ranked Italy in the quarter-finals, a side they’d lost their last five games against.
But they produced a brilliant defensive performance to keep out an Italian side aiming to reach a second consecutive World Cup, while at the other end Jones’ goal in the 18th minute – a rasping strike – secured a massive victory for her team.
In Cardiff, Wales’ men treated a packed Sport Wales National Centre crowd to a dominant performance as they beat Italy 2-0 to reach the final four.
They dominated possession for much of the first half but were held at until Furlong did what he does best and fired home a corner in the 26th minute.
That pattern continued early in the second half before Italy grew into the game, testing the Welsh defence and goalkeeper Toby Reynolds-Cotterill, before Furlong scored again five minutes from full-time to seal the win and a semi-final against Ireland on Saturday.
It was also a special occasion for Lewis Prosser as it was his 159th international, meaning he became Wales’ most capped male player of all-time.
Scotland’s men would have been hopeful of exacting revenge on an Austrian team that beat them on a shootout to secure EuroHockey Championships II gold in the summer.
They dominated much of the match, creating the best chances – with one attempt cleared off the line – but couldn’t breach the Austrian defence.
Once again it went to a shootout, where they found themselves 2-0 down before drawing it back to 2-2 with one attempt left each. Scotland’s effort was saved and Austria’s Michael Korper scored to send them through.
The Blue Sticks will now try to finish in fifth place over the next few days, starting with a classification match against Poland on Friday.
- Scotland 3-0 Poland (W)
- Scotland 0-0 Austria (2-3 S/O) (M)
- Italy 0-1 Wales (W)
- Wales 2-0 Italy (M)
- Poland v Scotland (M) – 16:00, Fri 22 Oct
- Wales v Scotland (W) – 13:30, Sat 23 Oct
- Ireland v Wales (M) – 14:30, Sat 23 Oct