The maiden event of the Women’s EBSL will see the Lionesses or La Roja claim the Regular Stage
Two former champions of Europe, England (2017) and Spain (2016) will contend the final of the brand-new Women’s Euro Beach Soccer League Regular Stage in Nazaré. They will also win more favourable seedings at the Superfinal in Figueira da Foz.
In the last day of group games in Nazaré, England’s women knocked the current European champions, Russia, out of the running for the Regular Stage title, while Spain left it late to down Switzerland and clinch their spot in the final.
Russia and Switzerland will meet in the playoff for third, while Ukraine and Czech Republic will contend fifth.
ENG 3-1 RUS (Group B)
Two former European champions went head to head in Group B on Saturday, fighting for a place in Sunday’s final of the first ever Women’s Euro Beach Soccer League.
It took just two minutes for the deadlock between these old foes to be broken, when Hannah Haughton found the top corner from her own area in a goal of the tournament content. England hung on to this lead stubbornly despite rising pressure from the reigning continental crown holders.
Russia knocked at the door for the whole of the second period but still the England backline held until Bychkova poked in from close range after a brilliant headed assist from Zubilova.
It was captain Kempson who retook the lead moments later with a low shot at the near post, and then Wendy Martin was permitted time and space at the back post to nod home a third from a well-worked corner.
England make the final on Sunday and will meet Spain, who beat Switzerland in the later match.
Goals: 1-0: Haughton, min. 10 (1); 1-1: Bychkova, min. 10 (3); 2-1: Kempson, min. 9 (3); 3-1: Martin, min. 4 (3);
ESP 2-1 SUI (Group A)
The 2016 European champions took on Switzerland in the Group A battle for the chance to play the Lionesses in tomorrow’s final.
Spain and the Nati have met many times before and a tight game was always on the cards, and it took almost the entire period for the deadlock to be broken.
Carmen Fresneda, who leads to Spanish scoring, pounced on a loose ball to slot in the opener, right through the legs of Alma Marti between the Swiss sticks. It was a Spaniard that netted the next goal too, but Estela nodded a long shot into her own goal to level the game up.
The stalemate continued almost until the final whistle but the La Roja number eight Sara just managed to find the space and time to power in a deflected overhead kick to snatch the points.
Spain take a step closer to the Euro Beach Soccer League title, and will face England in the final of the EBSL Regular Stage Nazaré. Meanwhile Switzerland will have another tough match tomorrow when the play Russia for third place.
Goals: 1-0: Fresneda, min. 1 (1); 1-1: Estela (OG), min. 6 (2); 2-1: Sara, min. 2 (3);
NED 3-4 UKR (Group A)
Neither side had manged to register a win in the maiden edition of the Women’s Euro Beach Soccer League, and in the battle for a place in the fifth-place playoff, Vypasniak needed just seconds to open the scoring for Ukraine.
But in a highly entertaining first period, Nidia had the Dutch on level terms just two minutes later. Keeper Terekh blasted the women in yellow ahead once more but just like clockwork, the Netherlands struck back, this time through Drost.
Klipachenko tucked away a third for Ukraine in the second period, and soon after the pace slowed as the leaders fought hard to retain their advantage. Verschoor eventually equalised but when Khrystiuk put Ukraine ahead with six minutes to go, the response from the Dutch never came.
After having scored a goal, the hero of the match was Ukrainian goalkeeper Terekh, who made save after save to earn Ukraine a place in the fifth-place playoff.
Goals: 0-1: Vypasniak, min. 11 (1); 1-1: Nidia, min. 9 (1); 1-2: Terekh, min. 5 (1); 2-2: Drost, min. 4 (1); 2-3: Klipachenko, min. 7 (2); 3-3: Verschoor, min. 6 (3); 3-4: Khrystiuk, min. 6 (3);
Head to beachsoccer.com for full details on the Women’s Euro Beach Soccer League.