Wales and Ukraine clashed in an intense and thrilling match that ended in a dramatic draw, pushing the game into a nail-biting shootout.
The first quarter saw both teams starting strong, but it was Ukraine who struck first with a goal in the 12th minute. Wales had a chance to equalise with a penalty corner, but the shot narrowly missed the target. The quarter ended with Ukraine in the lead.
The second quarter brought green cards for both teams, leaving them with one less player. Ukraine capitalised on their advantage, doubling their lead just before halftime. The ball slipped past Wales' keeper Lauren Roberts, increasing the pressure on Wales.
However, Wales showed their resilience in the third quarter. Xenna Hughes' drag flick during a penalty corner allowed Beth Bingham to tap the ball into the net, getting Wales on the scoreboard. They continued to press and won more penalty corners, with Ozzie Howell equalising in the 40th minute.
The fourth quarter saw both teams fighting relentlessly for a winning goal, but the defence held strong. Wales created numerous chances and won a late penalty corner, but they couldn't convert it. With the match ending in a draw, the teams headed to a shootout.
Ella Jackson stepped into goal for the shootouts, and it was Millie Holme, Sarah Jones, Izzy Webb, and Phoebe Richards who took the shuffles for Wales.
In a tense and decisive shootout, Wales emerged victorious with a 3-0 win over Ukraine. Phoebe Richards got things started for Wales, drawing a foul from the goalkeeper, resulting in a penalty stroke. Stepping up to the challenge, Beth Bingham coolly converted the stroke, securing Wales' first shootout goal.
Ella Jackson, Wales' goalkeeper for the shootout, proved to be the hero, making crucial saves and denying Ukraine any goals in their attempts. Sarah Jones unfortunately couldn't find the net in her shuffle, but Jackson's brilliance kept the pressure on Ukraine. The momentum swung in Wales' favour as Izzy Webb confidently slotted home another goal, extending Wales' lead to 2-0. Ella Jackson continued her performance, keeping the ball out of the goal leaving Ukraine struggling to find an answer. With victory within grasp, Millie Holme sealed the deal with ease, skillfully rolling the ball around the goalkeeper to put Wales up 3-0. The celebration ensued as Wales secured a remarkable shootout triumph.
Wales won the Bronze medal at the European Championships II in Prague, a testament to their grit, determination, and teamwork. Their incredible performance throughout the tournament culminated in a well-deserved podium finish.
A comment from Kevin Johnson, the Head Coach ''Much credit to a spirited and technically skilful Ukraine team who gave us a huge challenge to overcome with us being 2-0 down at half time but the team spirit of this group along with some learning from the semi-final the night before ensured we stuck to our process and deserved to get back into the game. Our shoot out takers were brilliant in holding their nerve as well as Ella Jackson in the goal in keeping Ukraine out. We have thoroughly deserved our Bronze medal and one we will cherish as only the second Wales senior women’s side to medal at this level of European competition with this one being the first since 2009. We have had terrific support out here and at home and we would like to thank everyone for this.''