The quarter-final match-ups have been decided in Alghero
The final day of group stage action of the Euro Beach Soccer League – Superfinal took place in Alghero, as nations fought for quarter-final places…
Moldova record first win
Moldova defeat Greece 5-3.
Despite it being mathematically impossible for either side to qualify for the quarter-finals, Moldova and Greece battled to get points on the board in Group A.
Moldova scored two goals in quick succession in the first period with strikes from Cojocari and Istrati as they took a 2-0 lead into the second period.
The Moldovans doubled their lead in the second period of the match as Turta and Garanovschi made the score 4-0 with only one period remaining in the Group A encounter.
Greece made a fierce attempt to find their way back into the game in the third period, with a Mikelatos brace and Skourtas finish reducing the difference between the team to just one goal. Moldova took the game out of reach for the Greeks with less than a minute remaining through Graur, to put the match to bed.
Italy win Group A
Italy beat Belarus 4-2.
Italy and Belarus, who had both qualified for the quarter-final stage the day before, clashed to decide who would finish in first place in Group A.
Kanstantsinau gave the Belarusians the lead with less than two minutes played in the match, but Italy struck back minutes later from Alla. The lead was restored for Belarus before the end of the opening period however, as Novikau scored with five minutes left.
The Azzurri were back on level terms in the second period as Fazzini found the back of the net, as the match was wide open heading into the final period.
The Italians took the lead for the first time in the match in the opening minutes of the third period as Giordani tapped the ball in at the back post, and victory was almost certain with less than four minutes of time remaining as Remedi’s chipped effort made its way past Ustinovich.
Fans around the stadium were delighted as Italy won Group A and will play in the quarter-final stage of the Euro Beach Soccer League – Superfinal.
Third period drama sees Switzerland through
Switzerland win 8-7 against Azerbaijan.
With both nations losing matches the previous day, Switzerland and Azerbaijan took to the Sardinian sands with quarter-final places still all to play for in Group B.
It was the Azerbaijanis who led at the first interval with the score at 4-3 after 12 minutes of play. Sabir scored the first of the period, as Ramil, Eshad and Nazarov also followed suit for Azerbaijan. Top scorer, Ott found the net twice for Switzerland in the period alongside team mate, Stankovic.
Elshad widened the gap between the nations in the second period, scoring his second and Azerbaijan’s fifth of the afternoon.
The final period produced fireworks in Alghero, as Switzerland made a tremendous comeback. Ott incredibly increased his goal scoring tally up to 11 in tournament after finding the net three more times in the final 12, as shots from Hodel and Spacca also beat the Azerbaijan goalkeeper. Azerbaijan only managed to score twice in the period, meaning a dramatic 8-7 victory for the Swiss.
This result meant that Switzerland were guaranteed quarter-finalists, as Azerbaijan failed to make the final eight.
Romania hold on for second place
Romania defeat Türkiye 4-3.
Joint on three points each, Türkiye and Romania would fight for the final quarter-final spot available from Group B with both teams knowing even a point would secure their place in the last eight.
Marian broke the deadlock in the vital fixture, as the Romanians had a 1-0 lead over their qualification rivals by the end of the first period.
The tides turned at the beginning of the second period, with Türkiye striking twice inside a minute through Ismail and Ferhat. Despite this, the Romanians had a magical minute of their own, netting twice themselves via Marian and Cosmin to go ahead again.
Marian completed his hat-trick at the start of the last period of the match to make the score 4-2, and regardless of a late goal from Türkiye’s Semih, Romania held on for three points and obtained their place in the quarter-finals.
Denmark prosper on penalties for the second time
Denmark beat Estonia 5-4 on penalties after a 3-3 draw in the match.
Estonia and Denmark stepped on the sand knowing that a win in regular time would secure them a place in the quarter-finals, and in Estonia’s case even a win in extra time or penalties would be enough.
Axel Damm began the scoring, striking in less than a minute played in Alghero, before Rump found Estonia’s equaliser with just over two minutes remaining in the first period.
Goalkeeper, Madsen restored the Danish lead once again, but Rump and Nõmmiko had other ideas as they gave the Estonians the lead for the first time in the tie. Estonia were just 12 minutes away from booking their place in the quarter-final stage.
Denmark wouldn’t back down however, as Dorph made the score to 3-3 with 73 seconds remaining in the final period, as the match went to extra-time.
With neither side finding the decisive goal in the three minute period, penalties would decide the outcome of the fixture. After netting five successful penalties, Denmark knew a save from their goalkeeper would win them the match and a strong penalty hand from Levin granted the Danish team with a huge victory.
Denmark would have to wait for the outcome of Portugal against France, for their fate to be decided in Sardinia.
Group stage superiority from Portugal
Portugal beat France 6-2.
With Portugal securing qualification and winning Group C the previous day, it was a great opportunity to continue momentum, as they faced France who still had the chance to qualify for the next round if they were to achieve a victory within normal time.
It took 21 seconds for Portugal to go ahead in the match as Pintado converted for his nation. The Portuguese team then claimed their second goal at the other end of the period, as Bernardo found the net for the group winners.
Players from both sides scored braces in the second period, with Pintado completing his hat-trick and Gharbi pulling two goals back for France, with his side needing to turn the game around in the final 12 minutes if they wanted to go through.
Despite France’s best efforts, it wasn’t to be as Portugal increased their scoring to six in the third period to see out the match.
With this outcome, Denmark’s penalty victory prior to this match was enough for them to advance into the quarter-finals from Group C.
Spain come out on top
Spain win 5-3 against Poland.
In the final day of Group D action, Spain faced Poland in a match with huge qualification implications on the line.
Spain made a great start to the encounter, leading 3-0 after the first period came to a close with goals from Oliver, Batis and Guisado.
Poland pulled back two big goals in the second period, courtesy of Jesionowski and a wonder strike from Los. However, the Spaniards found their fourth of the game with nine minutes played of the period as Antonio fired home.
In the last period of play, Guisado achieved his brace for the day, as Gac scored Poland’s third.
A strong end to the group stages for Spain, finishing in first place in Group D and disappointment for the Polish side as they miss out on quarter-final qualification, with Germany taking second place.
To find out more about the Euro Beach Soccer League 2023 – Superfinal – Alghero, make sure to visit beachsoccer.com!
Moldova 5-3 Greece
Italy 4-2 Belarus
Switzerland 8-7 Azerbaijan
Türkiye 3-4 Romania
Estonia 3-3 Denmark (Denmark win 5-4 on penalties)
Portugal 6-2 France
Spain 5-3 Poland
Spain vs Denmark
Switzerland vs Belarus
Portugal vs Germany
Italy vs Romania
Switzerland/Belarus vs Spain/Denmark
Italy/Romania vs Portugal/Germany