This game saw Izzy Webb receive her 50th Cap for Wales!
Wales began the match with an impressive display of attacking intent, led by Sarah Jones and Eloise Laity, who made several strong entries into the Czech Republic's defensive zone. Holly Munro's skilful pass down the line set up a chance for Xenna, whose reverse shot narrowly missed the far post. Rebecca Daniels showed promise with a run down the line and a delivery into the D, although the connections were not quite there yet. The midfield duo of Betsan Thomas and Millie Holme displayed excellent link-up play, allowing Wales to maintain possession and advance forward.
However, a loose tackle in their defensive half resulted in Wales conceding a penalty corner to the Czech Republic. Nevertheless, Wales defended the corner well and swiftly launched a counter-attack. Hannah Cozens showcased her attacking skills with a beautiful drive and reverse strike, but once again, the ball narrowly missed the back post.
In the second quarter Xenna had an early shot but narrowly missed the target. After facing some pressure, Holly Munro delivered a good ball into the D, but it narrowly missed connecting with Eloise Laity. Another loose touch from the Czech Republic allowed Livvy Hoskins to set up Phoebe Richards for a shot, resulting in a penalty corner for Wales. Unfortunately, the drag flick from Livvy Hoskins was blocked.
Both teams received green cards, with Beth Bingham being temporarily sent off. Wales showcased impressive skills, with Emily Drysdale driving the ball into the D, and the 3D skills of Sarah Jones and Hannah Cozens causing problems for the Czech Republic. Wales were awarded a penalty corner and the Czech goalkeeper deflected the ball dangerously into Wales. However, despite their relentless efforts at goal, they couldn't convert the opportunity. Sarah Jones was on the end of the ball but couldn't find the target.
In the opening of the third quarter, Rebecca Daniels received a green card and Wales found themselves under pressure and conceded a short corner. After two re-awards, the subsequent shot went wide of the goal, allowing Wales to regain possession. Wales was then awarded a short corner, with Livvy Hoskins taking the initial shot, but no goal was won. A yellow card was given to the Czech Republic after a foul on Hannah Cozens, resulting in another short corner for Wales. Xenna's shot was saved and cleared by the Czech Republic defence.
The match remained goalless until the last quarter when Wales gave away a penalty corner. A well-executed drag flick from the top of the circle beat goalkeeper Lauren Roberts, giving the Czech Republic the opening goal.
Despite the setback, Wales fought hard to equalise. Betsan Thomas intercepted the ball and delivered a reverse pass into the D, targeting Livvy Hoskins and Phoebe Richards. However, the attempt went high, missing the mark.
With just 6 minutes left on the clock, Phoebe Richards received a green card, putting Wales temporarily down to 10 players. In a bold move, Wales decided to take their goalkeeper off, seeking a numerical advantage in the attacking third to find an equaliser.
The match ended with the Czech Republic securing a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Wales.
Kevin Johnsons, Head Coaches Comment “We are bitterly disappointed of course to lose a semi-final we felt we were in control of for large periods but we needed to get on the scoreboard when we had the momentum and opportunity. Sadly it wasn’t meant to be today but we are doubly determined to bounce back tomorrow in our last match here.”
Wales now face Ukraine in the 3rd/4th Play Off at 12:45 BST.