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Finland win gives Trophy to Portugal

Finland beat Czechia for the first time, but the lack of a bonus point means that the European Trophy title goes to Portugal.

Anna Soiluva lines up the winning kick

Until last year, Finland had gone 13 years without a test win but their fortunes have changed so much that when play began they were the only team with a mathematical chance of stopping Portugal from winning the European Trophy title, their impressive first ever win against Germany being balanced by a loss to Portugal.

They were up against two-time Trophy winners Czechia, who were playing their final game in what been a difficult campaign, a good win against Belgium being balanced by narrow defeat to Germany and heavy defeat against Portugal.

Most of the first 20 minutes were played between the respective 22m lines, a run if handling errors preventing frustrating attempts to develop any flow to the game, but Czechia had the first real scoring chance, a break by Anezka Skalová taking Czechia down to the Finnish try line, only for them to give away a penalty. The Czechs them won a penalty on the Finnish 22, but chose a scrum – and then knocked on.

That was the only scoring opportunity in the first half.

The deadlock continued into the second half, although Czechia did break into the Finnish 22 after 55 minutes, but again lost possession in a promising position.

Finland broke into the Czech 22 for the first time a few minutes later, and after a period of pressure won a penalty  just to the left of the Czech posts. Originally they set up to run the ball, but at the last moment captain Hanna Visuri seem to change her mind, and passed the ball to Anna Soiluva who converted the penalty with ease.

Czechia had another most of the play in the final few minutes but the Finnish defence remained strong and held out for a 3-0 win.

CZECHIA: 3 Gabriela Spackova; 2 Aneta Smejdova; 1 Alzbeta Susova; 5 Alice Matejckova; 4 Katerina Novakova; 7 Dominika Holcikova; 6 Anezka Skalová; 8 Kristýna Plevova; 9 Kristyna Jungerova; 10 Pavla Zahrádková; 13 Vera Gartnerova; 12 Katerina Novakova (Cap); 14 Petra Vackova; 11 Michaela Kovarova; 15 Pavlína Cuprova; 18 Natálie Kollmanova
16 Dominika Havelkova; 17 Anna Benesova; 19 Viktorie Lancova; 20 Hana Hubincova; 23 Sárka Kyselova; 22 Anezka Hruba; 21 Zuzana Mala

FINLAND: 1 Sarianna Haavisto; 2 Sonja Jurmu; 3 Liisa Lemettila; 4 Elisa Salonen; 5 Eeva Pohjanheimo; 6 Essi Kara; 7 Saara Kukkurainen; 8 Hanna Visuri (Cap); 9 Venla Lehtonen; 10 Mira Saarikoski; 11 Kiira Kupiainen; 12 Ida Herrgard; 13 Anna Soiluva; 14 Hanna Timonen; 15 Oona Tolppanen
16 Jasmin Ahonen; 17 Emilia Snare; 18 Pinja Pennanen; 19 Camilla Garbutt; 20 Rosanna Boswell; 21 Saana Jarvenpaa; 22 Lea Kaszas; 23 Jenni Makirinta;