St. Gallen/Herisau, Switzerland, May 6, 2018- Latvia were crowned champions of the 2018 IFF U19 Women’s Floorball World Championships and sealed promotion to the A-Division in the 2020 inception of the tournament, after easing aside rivals Russia in St. Gallen. Meanwhile, Hungary came out on top in the Austro-Hungarian battle for bronze in Herisau, earning a comfortable win of their own against their local Austrian rivals.
It was commiserations for a Russian side who had enjoyed a fine campaign but fallen at the final hurdle to progress to the A-Division for the 2020 U19 Floorball World Championships competition, but it is an exciting new chapter for Latvia as they look forward to a return to the top-tie in two years time.
B-Division, Bronze Medal (11th Place) match (9:00 CET): Hungary U19 6:1 Austria U19
An intriguing Austro-Hungarian affair was the order of the day in Herisau as Hungary and Austria did battle for the Bronze Medal in the B-Division and an 11th place finish in the overall match rankings. It took time for the Hungarians to hit their stride against their local rivals, but they eventually found their rhythm in the game and eventually took apart their neighbours, who capitulated further and further into the tie.
It was cagey and unpredictable to start with, however, Marcella Toth sending Hungary on their way just before the ten minute mark, but the Austrians pegged them back before the break, Rebecca Kuzel slotting in to restore parity after Jana Gams pass. Hungary fans could be forgiven for fearing their campaign was unravelling right at the last, having fallen in the semi-final to Latvia the day before, but the Hungarian players emerged with a new resolve after the interval, Petra Magyar’s brace seizing control of the match before Kinga Anna Orovecz added a fourth before the second interval to put one hand on the bronze medal going into the last twenty minutes. From there, there was no stopping them, the Austrians having no answer as the excellent Dora Nyerges notched a fifth before Eszter Gonczi’s strike six minutes from time hit them for six. The result caps off a strong campaign for Hungary and hope of progress toward the A-Division in future, whilst the Austrians were left to reflect on missing a podium finish and will look to come back stronger in 2020.
B-Division, Gold Medal Promotion Final (9:00 CET): Latvia U19 9:2 Russia U19
The main event in the B-Division was billed as a potential classic. Both Latvia and Russia were unbeaten going into the B-Division final, the Latvians having scored 59 goals across their four games, conceding a mere five, whilst Russia entered the final with a record of 35 goals scored and ten conceded. The mathematics didn’t deceive on the big occasion, however, as Latvia seized control of the final early on, eventually coasting through to a comfortable victory and a convincing return to the A-Division in 2020.
Julija Rozite had the Baltic side ahead after just four minutes to set the tone for the complexion of this final, before Anna Ankudinova, who has enjoyed a fine campaign in Latvian colours, breezed through a string of Russian defenders before calmly finishing for a fine solo goal after seven minutes. If the Russians were shell-shocked by that uncharacteristically slow start, they were left utterly flabbergasted as Rozite and Simona Grapena added another two quick-fire goals in less than a minute to lift Latvia to 4:0 just before the 25 minute mark. Any hope that the free-scoring Russians could mount a comeback after the interval was quickly dispelled as Rozite added another, before Leticija Kalve and Laura Gaugere made it 7:0. Russia salvaged some pride when Mariia Basargina- who has been a bright spark at this tournament- was teed up by Anastasiia Bulbash to get them on the scoresheet just before the final break, but it was too little far too late, Elizabete Pavlovska slotting in another for Latvia as Rozite turned provider at the start of the final period. Tatiana Kozlova added a second for Russia shortly after, but the champions elect would have the final word, Simona Grapena tucking home from Laura Gaugere’s set-up just seconds from time to kick-off the celebrations slightly early.
It’s a remarkable achievement for a Latvia side that had enjoyed a formidable campaign in the B-Division, whilst Russia can take heart from a strong year of their own and will look to 2020 to go one better.
U19WFC 06.05.2018 HUN - AUT
U19WFC 06.05.2018 LAT - RUS