Chances not taken
Much-changed from the team that lost 2-0 to Spain two days previously, Austria took the fight to the Czechs, dominating the chances from the off, leaving ženy camped in their own half for the first ten minutes. A deep free kick from Aneta Dědinová saw the game open a little, though it wasn’t long until the Austrians had pushed back, crowding the box.
Frenzied to clear and making silly errors in doing so, ženy looked unsettled, not like a team that claimed a 2-1 win over much-higher ranked opposition two days ago, Alexandra Vaníčková’s goal under frequent threat. The best chance of the game twenty minutes in fell to Nina Burger, the Sand woman played through by Viktoria Pinther, her volley just wide of the mark before Laura Feiersinger fluffed her lines with the goal gaping. Having just refused two sterling chances, Unsere Mädchen were almost immediately punished as their opposition pushed forward, Kateřina Svitková’s swept shot only finding Jasmin Pfeiler’s grateful grasp.
A pair of corners just after the half-hour led to the Czech’s best chance, Svitková’s ball whipped in goal-bound but Pfeiler bright to catch the curled corner before it slipped under her bar. The chance was fast followed by another when Lucie Voňková caught Viktoria Schnaderbeck in possession, the Czech captain nibbling the ball away with ease before easing into the box.
One-on-one with Pfeiler, the Munich woman really should have done better, her low shot without conviction, a boot stuck out by the Austrian ‘keeper enough to divert the ball away from her vulnerable goal. There was little the back-up keeper could do however when Virginia Kirchberger played a loose back pass to her, Voňková seizing on the ball before rounding the shot-stopper.
The captain going to ground as soon as Pfeiler made a grab for the ball, getting plenty of the attacker in the process, the Euro semi-finalists given another let-off when Svitková’s penalty clipped off of the top of the bar.
Austria finished the half off strong but for all the chances both had, neither could take an edge into the break.
As you were
Starting the second half as they did the first, Austria were quick to press the issue, seeing a handful of chances in the opening exchanges, half-time substitutes Sarah Zadrazil and Katharina Schiechtl fast getting into the thick of it. A smart through ball from Zadrazil played Burger in before the home side cleared, Schiechtl’s follow up from outside the box rising over the bar, keeping the two deadlocked.
With the Czech defence beginning to scramble, Austria saw another fine chance go begging, Zadrazil’s close control enough to see the 25-year-old free with the ball ten yards out, the mistake from the midfielder the decision to lay the ball off. The eventual shot somehow wide of the goal, the flag already raised for the clear offside, the parity holding, just.
A good break from ženy saw Antonie Stárová play Jitka Chlastáková in, the shot from the Slavia woman touched wide for an unenthusiastic corner. More pressure from Austria brought about more chances, another Laura Feiersinger corner and a firm punch clear by Vaníčková, Sophie Maierhoffer’s follow up crashing against the seats in Row H.
Having just made a triple substitution, the Czechs lost their resilience, conceding two in as many minutes. The first a flowing move that saw Sarah Puntigam link with Zadrazil, the Potsdam midfielder again opting to lay the ball off, this time with more promising results, the ball swept home by Feiersinger. The young Sand attacker wasting no time in making in two, her chip more than enough to leave Vaníčková picking the ball back out of her net after over-committing.
The substitutions came thick and fast, the chances still flowing for Austria who seemed to be picking the Czechs apart at will, the resolve completely gone from their game, the visitors back to being unable to put their better chances away. Another lay-off from Zadrazil, this time for Potsdam teammate, Marina Georgieva brought about another missed chance, the ball sent behind the goal. The Czechs continued to leave gaps that their opposition refused to exploit, the game settled long before the 90-minute mark.
Puntigam’s stoppage-time free-kick ensuring Vaníčková finished the match with a strong save to deny a third, the counter from the hosts indicative of their performance; close but no cigar.