Wales wither away under Ukraine's grip

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The Independent Online
Wales paid the penalty of defensive tactics yesterday on the second day of the women's European Junior Championship here when they were thrashed 5-0 by a sparkling Ukraine side, who are surprising everyone with their mastering of the "no offside" rule and their all- round ability.

Wales, with captain Kate Thomas and Charlotte Merrett controlling the midfield, started brighly until, in the 12th minute, their defence opened wide to allow Marina Ilina to end a 60-yard run with the opening goal.

Thereafter, Wales conceded the midfield, fell back on defence and never offered a serious challenge. Two further goals just before the interval emphasised the Ukraine's superiority. A side composed from just three clubs, with 10 players from Sumy Ukraine, dominated the second half and were not put off by a 10-minute delay due to a thunderstorm. Only poor penalty corner drill stopped them going into double figures - they squandered 12 second-half corners. Wales' dreams of making Saturday's semi-finals are now in tatters.

Earlier in the day, Germany, the defending champions, came from behind to beat Spain 3-1, scoring all their goals in the second half, and they now look certain to make the semi-finals.

England continue their campaign today against Russia, with the confirmation that their injured captain, Lucy Newcombe, will play in spite of her fractured thumb.