Spain and Portugal will contend the final while the hosts and France will scrap for the final place at the World Beach Games
– Italy and France to fight for fifth ticket to Bali
– Portugal and Spain make Qualifier final
– Late winner sees hosts seize nervy win
All eyes were the battles to reach the fifth-place playoff of the ANOC World Beach Games European Qualifier on Saturday, as Italy just squeezed past an impressive Germany, and France came back to down Turkey.
In the semi-finals, Spain cruised past Ukraine and Portugal overran Switzerland, meaning that Sunday’s final of the Qualifier will be an Iberian derby.
In the playoff matches, Azerbaijan defeated the recently promoted to EBSL Division A side, Moldova, by five goals to two, as Nazarov ran riot, scoring four goals in a single match.
THE FIGHT FOR THE FINAL TICKET TO BALI
Bertacca screamer give hosts hope for ticket to Bali
The elimination in the quarter-finals meant that both Italy and Germany had to bet all they had on the fifth place to grab the last place at the ANOC World Beach Games 2023 in Bali 2023.
The Germans had the better start with Metzler putting a set piece into the top corner two minutes into the game, but the Italians quickly turned the score around. First Sciacca scored from the penalty line, and then Zurlo dribbled past the goalkeeper to have the hosts leading ahead of the first break.
The second period saw Italy trying to increase the lead and Germany looking to equalise but the two-one result remained on the scoreboard going into the final 12 minutes.
The match entered then an action-packed last period, with the equaliser arriving with midway through, as Baaske scored with a header, within less than a minute both sides scored from the penalty line. First it was Marco Giordani and then Baaske who took the opportunity to score his second.
The Metzler-Nowak connection provided Germany’s fourth goal, as Metzler saw Nowak running on the right side and served him for a volley that ended up in the back of Italy’s net.
But Italy didn’t lose hope and 40 seconds later Josep Jr. equalised again. The match ended in epic style as Bertacca took a deep breath and blasted a free-kick from his own half straight into Ebener’s goal with only one minute to go, qualifying the hosts to the decisive match for the last ticket to Bali 2023.
The will take on France for the final ticket, while Germany will meet Turkey for seventh place.
France mount comeback to keep hopes of fifth alive
Having lost in the quarter-finals, Turkey and France now found themselves in a furious fight for the final ticket to the 2023 ANOC World Beach Games in Bali.
The victor today would win a place in the straight shootout on Sunday for the fifth and final qualification spot…
Turkey powered in the first match through the ever-dangerous captain Baris. Ferhat doubled the advantage in the second period until Belhomme finally pulled France back into the match in the last minute of the second period.
The last 12 minutes began with the scores at a tight 2-1, but captain Jeremy Basquaise suddenly burst into action to deliver two essential goals following Gosselin’s equaliser to snatch victory from Turkey at the death, and keep the dream of playing the World Beach Games in Bali alive.
Spain score seven to clinch place in Sunday’s final
After a thrilling tie against the hosts yesterday in which they secured qualification to the World Beach Games, Ukraine took on Spain with a new objective – winning the European Qualifier in Catania.
A Zavorotnyi own goal put La Roja ahead though, and then Arias doubled the lead, but Ukraine fought back before the break to make it 2-2, thanks to goals from Kovalenko and Voitenko.
Spain retook the two-goal lead in the second period as Domi and Chiky fired in the third and fourth for Mendez’s men.
Yesterday’s hero, Pashko, curled in number three for Ukraine but once again, Spain struck back, this time through keeper Dona who shot bounced in off the underside of the bar. Chiky scored his second, but Korniichuk – brought on as a keeper to give extra attacking options – netted to make it 4-6.
Moments later though, he was caught in possession and Arias slotted into an open net, wrapping up the win for Spain and clinching a place in the final against Portugal.
Portugal book their place in the Iberian final
After seeing Spain qualify to the final, Portugal and Switzerland stepped on the sand with their eyes for the remaining place in the final.
The Swiss took the lead with a midfield shot by Spacca after two minutes surprising Andrade, but at the match’s restart André Lourenço equalised. Nöel Ott would put Switzerland ahead again before Bruno Torres sent both teams into the second period level.
Once again, the Swiss went ahead with goalkeeper Eliott finding the back of the net with a low shot from distance making it 3-2, but then Portugal’s quality came up with eight minutes of domination that saw Mário Narciso’s team score five goals as Bê Martins (two), Coimbra, Cabral and Léo Martins added their names to the scoresheet.
Portugal were controlling the tie and their lead was extended four minutes into the third period as Bê Martins netted his hat-trick. Stankovic reduced for Switzerland with a bicycle kick setting the final result in 8-4 to the Portuguese team, who booked their place in the Iberian derby final.
Portugal 8-4 Switzerland
Ukraine 4-7 Spain
Playoffs for fifth/final qualification spot
Italy 5-4 Germany
Turkey 2-4 France
Playoff for ninth
Azerbaijan 5-2 Moldova
The matches are scheduled from 29 August to 4 September at See Sicily Arena Beach Stadium, and will decide which five men’s and four women’s national teams will represent Europe at the 2023 ANOC World Beach Games in Bali.
For full details on the ANOC World Beach Games European Qualifier Catania 2022, head to beachsoccer.com.