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Seven Teams Qualify for 2026 Women’s Championship at Women’s European Championship in Braga

July 19, 2024

From worldlacrosse.sport

Seven teams qualified for the 2026 World Lacrosse Women’s Championship with a day left to go in competition at the 2024 Women’s European Lacrosse Championship in Braga, Portugal.

England, Israel, Scotland and Wales were the first four teams to qualify on Wednesday, followed by Germany and Ireland on Thursday.

In a dramatic, de-facto play-in game for the final spot on Friday, the Czech Republic staged a comeback for the ages to defeat Italy in overtime, 15-14, after trailing by five with under seven minutes to play.

The seven teams are the first to qualify for the championship in 2026, set to be hosted in Japan. This event will be the first in World Lacrosse’s new championship format, which includes 16 teams that all must earn their spot through a qualifying event.

The remaining nine spots will be determined at future continental qualifiers, with four spots allocated to the Asia Pacific Lacrosse Union and the Pan-American Lacrosse Association each, and one spot allocated to the Africa Association of Lacrosse.

In addition, World Lacrosse is expecting to launch a Division II women’s championship in 2026, that will feature an additional 16 teams participating, including the nine teams that finished eighth through 16th at the WELC in Braga: Italy, Netherlands, Latvia Sweden, Switzerland, Poland, Spain, Norway and Finland (in order).

England and Israel will compete for the gold medal for the European Championship on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. local time after two dominant campaigns so far, with both teams winning every game by four goals or more.

Scotland and Wales will face off for the bronze medal at 11:30 a.m. local time. Scotland notched an impressive 11-8 win over Germany in the quarterfinals while Wales overturned an early 4-1 deficit against Ireland in the quarterfinals to win 10-8.

Both Germany and Ireland rebounded with nervy wins in placement play to secure their spots for 2026. Germany trailed 4-1 against the Czech Republic and flipped the script with a five goal run to start the second half that it protected to win 6-5.

Ireland had just enough mettle to pull away from Italy after the game was tied entering the fourth quarter, winning 11-9 thanks to two late goals from Katrina Dowd.

Italy and the Czech Republic traded runs in the dramatic finale of the qualifying campaign. With the game tied 7-7 at halftime, Italy opened up a slight two-goal lead in a measured third quarter. The Czech Republic cut the deficit to one entering the fourth quarter, but Italy pulled away with a 4-0 run in the final frame to lead 14-9 with just under seven minutes to play.

With its back against the wall, the Czech Republic reeled off an improbable, furious five-goal run to tie the game, clawing within one with under three minutes to play and finding the equalizer in the final minute. Marketa Malinovska had a hat trick contained in the run herself.

In overtime, the Czech Republic won the ensuing draw control but could not score on its first try, before Italy received a player-advantage after a yellow card. The Czech Republic narrowly survived the penalty, including a free position miss, to regain possession.

On its next trip down the field, the Czech Republic found the perfect combination with a goal from Teresa Kreuzova on an assist from Lucie Chottousova to spark an incredible celebration for the 15-14 win.

Eight teams are in action tomorrow on the final day of the WELC, but the current standings are as follows:

  1. England/Israel
  2. England/Israel
  3. Scotland/Wales
  4. Scotland/Wales
  5. Germany/Ireland
  6. Germany/Ireland
  7. Czech Republic
  8. Italy
  9. Netherlands
  10. Latvia
  11. Sweden
  12. Switzerland
  13. Poland
  14. Spain
  15. Norway
  16. Finland
  17. Austria/Belgium
  18. Austria/Beglium
  19. Portgual

Full results can be found here.