Wales and Ireland will battle for the sole women’s ticket to the 2022 World Cup on offer on Sunday after two tightly-contested semi-finals in Pisa.
Wales, the world No 24 side, upset the seedings to beat Scotland in a shoot-out after a typically physical encounter which failed to produce a goal in normal time.
It was left to Wales goalkeeper Rose Thomas to produce the heroics for Kevin Johnson’s side, the Welsh prevailing 3-1 in the shoot-out to set up the Sunday finale against Ireland.
Phoebe Richards, Isobel Webb and Sophie Robinson all scored for Wales while Emily Dark was the sole provider for Scotland as Sarah Roberton’s attempt was scuppered by Thomas.
Earlier, Niamh Carey’s fine start to her international career continued as her 48th minute goal earned Ireland a 3-2 win over Belarus.
Carey was knocked over by Belarus goalkeeper Maryna Navitskaya but still managed to roll over on the ground and scoop the ball into the backboard for the vital goal.
Ireland had made a brilliant start with Lena Tice and Anna O’Flanagan putting them 2-0 up inside four minutes only for Belarus to fight back with Sviatlana Bahushevich and Ryta Batura levelling things.
But Ireland kept their nerve with skipper Katie Mullan picking out Carey with a beautiful line into the circle from which Carey settled the contest.
“It certainly wasn’t the way we wanted the game to go, especially when we went 2-0 up so early,” was coach Sean Dancer’s assessment.