Play-offs to decide 9th to 16th place were also played in Baku
The final day of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup European Qualifier action took place on the 9th July, as four qualification matches were played to decide the four European nations to book their place at the FBSWC UAE 2024…
Bryshtsel’s brace books Belarus’ place
Belarus beat France 3-1.
Belarus took on France in the first qualification match, with both sides looking for a place at the FBSWC UAE 2024.
France took the lead in the opening period as Bru found the bottom-right corner with just over one minute played in Baku. The French team managed to hold onto their one-goal advantage over the Belarusians until the end of the period, winning 1-0 heading into the first interval.
Belarus gained the advantage for the first time in the match in the second period, as Bryshtsel struck twice for his brace to turn the match around.
Heading into the third and final period, tensions were high as France needed one goal to take the match to extra time, whilst Belarus were just 12 minutes away from FBSWC qualification. Despite France’s attempt to make their way back into the match, their World Cup dreams were ended late on, as Novikau fired in Belarus’ third goal of the match with less than 90 seconds left in the fixture.
Belarusian players and staff sprinted onto the pitch once the final whistle sounded, as their hard work had paid off, securing a place at the FBSWC UAE 2024.
Lethal Léo Martins strikes see Portugal qualify
Portugal defeat Denmark 8-3.
Portugal faced Denmark in the second qualification match, as both teams were one match away from a potential FBSWC UAE 2024 spot.
Denmark’s, Frandsen broke the deadlock in Baku with just over two minutes played, but less than five seconds later, Portugal were back on level terms courtesy of Jordan. Coimbra then netted his first of the match, firing in with eight minutes left in the period to give Portugal the advantage.
Léo Martins increased Portugal’s lead in the second period, but Damm cancelled the goal out seconds later with one of his own and Rædjkær equaled the scoring minutes after. However, Portugal found three consecutive goals inside the final six minutes of the period, as Léo Martins and Coimbra completed their braces and Pinhal added to the scoring.
The third period saw Portugal secure their FBSWC place, as Léo Martins scored his third and brother, Bê Martins scored his nation’s eighth of the match.
Ukraine to play at UAE 2024
Ukraine win 5-2 against Moldova.
Ukraine and Moldova competed in the third qualification match of the day on the Azerbaijan sands, competing for one of two remaining FBSWC places.
Zborovskyi sent the Ukrainians in front in the fixture less than two minutes in, but Podlesnov found the net for Moldova to level the scoring before the first period came to a close.
Both sides hit the target once again in the second period, as Ukrainian goalkeeper, Poslavskyi put his country ahead with just two minutes on the clock. However, the Moldovans bounced back moments later, as Graur struck for his nation to make the score 2-2 with 12 minutes to go in the Azerbaijan capital.
With only one period to play in this vital match, both sides had to give it their all if they were to compete for national beach soccer’s biggest prize, in 2024. Ukraine didn’t hesitate to take the lead again as Pashko slammed the ball home with two seconds played, and goals from Voitenko and goalkeeper, Nerush sealed the deal for the Ukraine side.
The players were ecstatic after the match, celebrating their huge achievement with their fans.
Italy take the final spot
Italy beat Spain 4-3 after extra time.
With only one FBSWC 2024 place left available in Baku, Italy played against Spain in the final qualification match.
It was a perfect opening period for the Italians, leading by two goals to nil after 12 minutes. Bertacca got the scoring started for his nation, finding the back of the net two seconds into the match and Remedi doubled the lead with less than 90 seconds to go in the period.
Remedi then found his brace at the start of the second period, but David converted Spain’s first goal of the match to reduce the deficit going into the final period.
Spain had to find two goals without a response from the Italians in the third period if they were to take the match to extra time, and they did just that. Chiky scored the Spanish team’s second and Guisado brought his nation back on level terms, slotting the ball in from close range. The Spainish substitutes area were overjoyed with the fight that their team displayed, as extra time was ahead.
There were big chances at both ends in the three-minute period, but the only goal fell to Zurlo for Italy with an acrobatic shot, following a cross.
An incredible fixture to end the FBSWC European Qualifier on, as Italy booked their place at UAE 2024.
To bring the tournament to a close, individual awards were given to the ‘MVP’, ‘Best Goalkeeper’ and ‘Top goal scorer’. The ‘MVP’ award was given to Ihar Bryshtsel after some wonderful displays for Belarus throughout the competition, Olli won the ‘Top goal scorer’ award after scoring 10 goals, and Leandro Casapieri won ‘Best Goalkeeper’.
Play-off matches (9th-16th place)
Türkiye end the competition in 9th
Türkiye win 4-3 on penalties against Estonia.
To decide 9th and 10th place, Türkiye and Estonia battled it out in Baku. The scores were all even at 3-3 after all three periods had been played and extra time had concluded, as a penalty shootout took place to define the victors. Serkan saved two Estonia penalties and Volkan netted the winning strike for Türkiye, as they ended the tournament in 9th place and Estonia finished 10th.
Witkowski hat-trick helps Poland finish 11th
Poland secure an 8-6 win over Germany.
The play-off match to decide 11th and 12th place was a contest between Poland and Germany in Baku. Poland won the match 8-6 with Witkowski scoring a hat-trick, as well as strikes from Jesionowski, Gac, Bistula, Ziober and Klopeć to grant their nation the victory. This result saw Poland finish in 11th place and Germany finish in 12th.
13th place finish for the hosts
Azerbaijan defeat Switzerland 5-4 on penalties.
In the play-off match to decide 13th and 14th place, Switzerland faced hosts, Azerbaijan. After playing out a 6-6 draw inside three periods, with the addition of extra time, the match was decided by a penalty shootout. Azerbaijan won the shootout 5-4 to finish 13th place in the FBSWC European Qualifier, whilst Switzerland finished in 14th place.
Shootout win for Lithuania sees them place 15th
Lithuania win 6-5 on penalties against Greece.
Lithuania took on Greece in the 15th/16th place play-off match. After the two sides were level at 4-4 after extra time, a penalty shootout was to be played to determine the winner of the match. Lithuania won 6-5 on penalties as they finished in 15th place in the tournament, whilst Greece placed 16th.
Belarus 3-1 France
Portugal 8-3 Denmark
Ukraine 5-2 Moldova
Italy 4-3 Spain (after extra time)
Play-off matches (9th-16th place)
9th/10th place – Türkiye 3-3 Estonia (Türkiye win 4-3 on penalties)
11th/12th place – Poland 8-6 Germany
13th/14th place – Switzerland 6-6 Azerbaijan (Azerbaijan win 5-4 on penalties)
15th/16th place – Lithuania 4-4 Greece (Lithuania win 6-5 on penalties)