Among the invitational tournaments held last week around the globe, the Pinatar Cup was organised in Spain’s region of Murcia. It ended with an expected victory from Belgium, who defeated the Russia in a penalty shootout.
Russia met with Slovakia in the quarter-final, where goals from Hannah Eurlings, Janice Cayman, Tine De Caigny and Sarah Wijnants gave them an easy pass to the next round. There, they met the winner of the all-British battle between Wales and Scotland — a little bit more surprisingly won by the Welsh.
Wales put in a solid performance in the semi-final, keeping a 0-0 draw until the final whistle. However, Belgium snatched the win on penalties and progressed.
Russia welcomed the Red Flames into the final after beating Hungary in the quarter-finals, also via penalty shootout, followed by Ireland in the semis.
The final also came down to spot-kicks to decide who would lift the trophy. with 8 series, An opening miss from Belgium’s Davina Philjens and two deciding misses from Yana Sheina and Vera Simanovska of Russia secured an overall 7-6 victory for the Belgians.
Third place went to Ireland after they edged out Wales through a 1-0 win, with Denise O’Sullivan deciding the outcome in the first half.
In the 5th-8th place playoffs, Scotland won 2-0 against Slovakia and 3-1 in the shoot-out against Hungary (after 0-0 in regular time). Meanwhile Slovakia defeated Poland — the biggest disappointment of the tournament.
The team that surprisingly tied with Belgium and Norway in the World Cup Qualifiers saw a harsh regress in their play — struggling against Kosovo and losing 4-0to Belgium.
Now they’ve scored just two goals — including one penalty — against rivals on a similar level to themselves, questioning the possibility to come back to the fight for the World Cup Qualifier play-off.