The 2004 European Lacrosse Championships were held in Prague, in the Czech Republic, with 12 men's teams and 8 women's teams taking part in the competitions.
This year saw an extremely impressive turnout of countries taking part, including several very welcome newcomers. The men's competition had therefore to be split into two groups, the first group containing the Czech Republic, England, Germany, Scotland, Sweden and Wales; and the second group with Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia and the Netherlands. The women's competition was also held in two groups with teams from the Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Germany, Scotland, and Wales.
As in the world championships, each team plays each of the other teams in the same division once, and then a playoff game gives the top-placed second-group team the opportunity to enter the semi-final round. In the top division the results of the first round were:
|England||England 14-4||England 20-2||England 17-4||England 14-7||England 16-5|
|Germany||Germany 15-3||Germany 5-3||Germany 7-6||Germany 12-3|
|Scotland||Scotland 9-8 (ET)||Scotland 8-7||Wales 8-7|
|Sweden||Sweden 12-11 (ET)||Sweden 10-2|
|Ireland||Ireland 12-3||Ireland 14-2||Ireland 15-3||Ireland 13-1||Ireland 15-1|
|Finland||Finland 9-3||Finland 10-7||Finland 11-0||Finland 9-3|
|Denmark||Denmark 5-4||Denmark 7-3||Denmark 11-4|
|Netherlands||Netherlands 14-2||Netherlands 15-1|
So, demolition jobs by both England and Ireland in each of the divisions, both unbeaten and both with an awesome +59 goal difference from their 5 games. Looks like Ireland once again found itself inbetween divisions, unable to get a win from the top flight in the last Europeans, but then unbeatable in the last World cup and again here. Notable also is the amazingly impressive performance of the Finns, beating everyone except Ireland in only their first European championship appearance.
Going by points and goal-difference, you'd expect the top 4 to then comprise England (5 wins, +59 goals), Germany (4 wins, +14), Sweden (2 wins, -7) and then Scotland (2 wins, -29). However, surprisingly, despite scoring more goals and conceding fewer than Scotland, it was Sweden who ended up having to fend off Ireland's bid to enter the semi-finals, which they did with a 9-1 victory.
So after the Czechs beat Wales 7-2 to take 5th place, the top four teams head into the semi-finals, with England playing Sweden and Germany against Scotland. Going to the form book, England beat Sweden 14-2, and Germany beat Scotland 7-5. And so into the semi-finals. Sweden played Scotland for 3rd place, which turned into another dingdong sealed by a 3rd quarter onslaught from the Scots - final score 12-10 to Scotland.
Lower down the rankings, the battles were just as fierce, with the matches to decide the final rankings. Czech Republic beat Wales 7-2 to take 5th place, Ireland beat Finland 12-6, Netherlands demolished Denmark 18-2, and Italy squeaked a low-scoring victory against Latvia 5-4.
In the final game, England surged into a second-quarter lead against Germany, holding it to lead 7-3 at three-quarter time. The German fightback in the final quarter found three unanswered goals but wasn't quite enough - England held on to win 7-6 at the final whistle.
This one still remains a mystery - although there were 8 women's teams, each team played only 5 games in the group round - each of the other 3 teams in the (apparently arbitrary) group of 4, plus 2 of the teams in the other group. Mysterious. The final results of this miscellany are listed below, obviously with gaps, but apparently someone somewhere understands it and has figured out that the Czechs, England, Scotland A (who are still unbeaten) and Wales A should go through to the semi-finals.
|ScotlandA||ScotlandA 9-4||ScotlandA 16-3||ScotlandA 11-7||ScotlandA 10-5||ScotlandA 23-0|
|Czech||Czech 13-2||WalesA 7-4||11-11||Czech 27-0|
|WalesB||Germany 6-5||ScotlandB 8-5||WalesB 26-0|
|WalesA||WalesA 15-3||WalesA 6-4||WalesA 17-3|
|England||England 12-4||England 15-5|
ScotlandA beat England 10-5 in their semi-final, and WalesA beat the Czechs 7-4, making it a Scotland-Wales final and leaving England to play the Czechs for the consolation bronze. WalesB also played Denmark for the 7th/8th place decider (and secured an 8-1 win) and ScotlandB played Germany to decide 5th/6th places (which Germany won 7-1). Meanwhile, in the 3rd-place playoff, last-time winners England came back from behind to pip the Czechs 10-9.
The final was yet another close one, with WalesA keeping hold of a slender 1-goal half-time lead and taking the trophy with a 6-5 victory, handing the Scots their first defeat of the tournament. Final rankings:
Again, these results were provided by Petr from the Czech team, who has compiled them on the official site at lacrosse.cz. There were also some reports and stats about the British teams at englishlacrosse.co.uk (since removed), and reports on the German teams' games at dlaxv.de (also removed).