Italy wins overall stage in heartstopping final day

Russia wins group with penalties while France, Belarus, Italy, and Portugal march on to Superfinal

Russia takes 1st in group after penalties and will proudly head to Estonia   


The 3(3)-3(2) penalties win for Russia over Belarus was a minor consolation for losing their opening match in penalties to Poland. Belarus started the match very fast and much stronger but Russia inched closer and eventually tied the match before it went into an exciting shootout. The penalties had misses, saves and clutch goals with Russia prevailing in the end. The win gives Russia their second win out of three matches and the four points, three for regular time victory and one for penalties win, was enough to give them first place in the group. The loss was difficult to swallow for Belarus but they will still be heading to Estonia as they finished second in the group. 


Belarus and Russia both came into the match with a win and a loss, though both their losses came after regular time, with Russia losing in penalties on the opening day, and Belarus lost in extra time. They both sorely needed a win to make sure they qualified for the Superfinal in August in Estonia. The action was at a million miles a second as both teams were scrambling and rushing to the ball in hopes of securing the first goal. The score did not come in the opening minutes of the match, though it nearly did on multiple occasions. The Belorussian scoring machine, Bryshtel, made sure the match did not go any longer without a goal when, just past the midway point in the period, he nailed home a shot to give his side the 1-0 advantage. Bryshtel added his second goal seconds before the end of the frame to give Belarus the 2-0 lead going into the first break. Russia was playing very tight and knew they could get back into the match, it was just a matter of executing and they did splendidly in the opening minutes of the second period when they scored their first goal, putting the score at 2-1 for Belarus. Belarus utilized a hat-trick from Bryshtel to take a commanding 3-1 lead but Russia bounced back with a goal from Peremitin to leave the score at 2-3 for Belarus going into the last period. 


Russia may have been down, but they are hardly ever out of any match and they made sure that Belarus knew that when they scored their second straight goal to tie the game at 3-3. The third Russian goal came on the third period restart and the strike from Paporotnyi energized the hosts and the crowd. The Beach Red Machine did not stop their pressing for another goal and they looked like the more composed team as the match wore on. The Belorussian confidence was not wavering though, as they were seeing chances add up but were not making the most of the chances. The Russian squad was playing calculating defense and offense but as the clock ticked, both sides were not putting the ball in the net and the score remained 3-3. The deadlock continued and the match went into an extra frame. With overtime whizzing by, both sides seemed prepared to go into penalties to decide the winner of the match and group. 


Goals: 0-1: Bryshtel, min. 5 (1); 0-2: Bryshtel, min. 0 (1); 1-2: Safronov, min. 10 (2); 1-3: Bryshtel, min. 6 (2); 2-3: Peremitin, min. 1 (2); 3-3: Paporotnyi, min. 11 (3).

Penalties: Bryshtel: make; Paporotnyi: make; Slavutsin: save; Shishin: save; Bokach: make; Krash: make; Kanstantsinau: save;  Makarov: save; Miranovich: save; Ilinskii: make.


Italy claims group in see-saw battle


The 6-5 win for Italy over Portugal had the makings of a classic the moment the schedule was releases and it more than lived up to its billing. Italy jumped into the lead but Portugal snapped right back to take the lead but Italy had a big 3rd period that almost was for naught with Portugal nearly coming from behind again. The win secures Italy as the only undefeated team in the entire event and they stake claim to first place in Group 2. The loss was heartbreaking for Portugal as they had so many chances but could not close out the Italians. The two teams will both still be competing in the Superfinal in August in Estonia. The loss leaves Portugal as 2nd in the group. 


First place was on the line between Italy and Portugal , and not just in the group but in the entire event, and both sides saved the best for last. The penultimate match of the final began with extraordinary defense and goalkeeping, which has been a theme for both teams throughout the weekend. The offenses were not clicking early but both teams saw their fair share of chances, they almost all went missing, except for a last second blazing shot from Ramacciotti that put Italy in the driver seat and up 1-0 after 1. The second period started with the Portuguese side asking all the questions but they were unable to get the early equalizer, like they wanted. Although it was still early in the frame, as the pace quickened so did the Italian lead, with Gori helping to double the Azzurri advantage with his first goal of the day. With 1st place slowly slipping away Alan of Portugal took it upon himself to get his team on the board, which he did by sliding a low shot past the Italian keeper and making score 2-1, but still for Italy. Normally momentum in sports is fluid and cannot be quantified but this match was different and you could actually see the momentum swinging towards the Portuguese Selection as they score rapid back-to-back goals to go up 3-2 heading into the last 12 minutes. 


Italy made sure to make things and the final interesting as they used the second goal of the match from Gori to level the score at 3 early in the final period. The teams nervously awaited the next goal and this showdown of unbeatens was nothing short of spectacular, evidenced by amazing goals and lead changes and ties. The next lead change went the way of the Italians when Palmacci scored the fourth goal for Italy  at the midway point in the period. The Portuguese began to push harder and harder but the more they pressed, the tighter the Italian defense was becoming. The Italy counterattack is always a point of strength and it proved worthy again when they countered and were awarded with a penalty kick late in the game and Palmacci connected for his second goal of the day. The score sat at 5-3 after the strike and the insurance goal was enough to secure the 6-5 win. 


Goals: 0-1: Ramacciotti, min. 0 (1); 0-2: Gori, min. 7 (2); 1-2: Alan, min. 4 (2); 2-2: Be Martins, min. 1 (2); 3-2: Jose Maria, min. 1 (2); 3-3: Gori, min. 8 (3); 3-4: Palmacci, min. 6 (3); 3-5: Palmacci, min. 3 (3); 3-6: Palmacci, min. 2 (2); 4-6: Jose Maria, min. 2 (3); 5-6: Jose Maria, min. 1 (3).


France takes out Poland for first win


The 3-1 win for France over Poland was an upset to some, especially after the Polish side had defeated Russia and Belarus in penalties and overtime in their opening matches, while France had yet to earn a victory, in regular time or extra time. The France squad came out strong in the opening period, but relinquished the lead, only to score again and restore their advantage late in the middle frame. The difference was their timely goals as they hung on for the victory. The win gives France three points and their first victory of the weekend, and they picked a perfect time to get it. The loss was very difficult for Poland as they had won their previous matches as underdogs and as the favourite against France, they could not finish the game on top. 


If France was going to pull an upset, they knew that they needed to come out strong and score early, and with any luck, many goals. The first wish came true when they struck only seconds into the match and gave themselves the slight 1-0 advantage over Poland. The Polish team had to come from behind in every match thus far and were not fretting being down, but the first frame ended with the French still up 1-0. Les Bleus were playing excellent defense and looked to be on pace for a shutout, but in beach soccer things and momentum change so quickly that nothing is predictable, not even the winner. France was surprising the Red and Whites, but as the middle frame progressed, Poland looked ready to score. Sure enough, Lenart used a shot from distance to tie things at 1-1 nearly halfway through the match. The French showed their determination and did not crumble under the pressure, in fact, they nailed home their second goal, on a shot from Lauthe, that restored their one goal lead, at 2-1. The score did not change going into the final period, setting the stage for late drama. 


The excitement was growing and growing with each passing second, which became even more evident with the fact that the score had not changed for an entire period. Each shot was becoming a stress factor for the other team, because another goal would have turned the whole game around. Similar to when they were down earlier, Poland was knocking on the door and were ready to score, but the French were playing the type of match they wanted and needed. The energy boiled over as the game became physical with both sides jostling more and more but when the referee signaled the end of the match, the French had deservedly earned the 3-1 win. 


Goals: 1-0: Marques, min. 11 (1); 1-1: Lenart, min. 8 (2); 2-1: Lauthe, min. 4 (2); 3-1: Marques, min. 0 (3).


Gritty performance gives Germany first win


The 7-6 win for Germany over Greece was a fight between two teams that had been hard-done in their previous matches, so the excitement and energy for this game was that much higher. The Greeks came on stronger at first, but for every goal they scored, the Germans came right back and the back-and-forth match continued into the final minutes, until Germany pulled away only to see their lead nearly disappear, but the three goal lead they had built was large enough to secure the win. The win also leaves Germany as 3rd place in Group 2 with three points, behind Italy and Portugal but ahead of Greece. The loss was the 3rd one for Greece, however, in every match they were more than competitive . Greece will have to wait until next year to fight for the Superfinal. 


Greece knew they needed to generate offense and early, so they did just that on a strike from Triantafyllidis, which surprised the Germans and left them down 1-0 in the opening minute of the match. Germany had an answer only it did not come immediately, as they needed half of the period to find their first goal, but they did on a shot from Biermann. The 1-1 score was not pleasing to the Greeks and they replied a minute later with a strike from Pantelis, giving them a 2-1 lead, but the advantage would not hold and Germany scored two late goals to put the score at 3-2 for the good going into the first break. Like the opening frame, the Pirate Ship came out strong in the second, scoring in the first minute, to tie the game at 3-all. The Germans and Greeks were putting on a show, going tit for tat, and it was the German Selection who hit the next goal, going up 4-3. The goals in the second 12 minutes did not stop there as the Hellenic side scored in the final minute to tie the score again, this time at 4, going into the final period. 


The last period arrived just how the game started, tied. But now it was after eight splendid goals and the pace was still evident, however the goals were not coming as freely as they were in the two first periods. Germany struck gold when they were awarded a direct kick near midfield and Kniller made sure to connect, and that goal put the score at 5-4 for Germany going into the heart of the period. That goal inspired the Germans and they turned on the after-burner to leave Greece behind. Biermann score his second and third goals to put the match seemingly out of reach. The Greek side was not ready to quit and the second and third goals from Triantafyllidis brought them back to within one at 7-6, with only three minutes left. The Germans were able to stop the comeback and hold off the Greeks for the 7-6 win. 


Goals: 0-1: Triantafyllidis, min. 11 (1); 1-1: Biermann, min. 6 (1); 1-2: Pantelis, min. 5 (1); 2-2: Thurk, min. 1 (1); 3-2: Keppinho, min. 0 (1); 3-3: Triantafyllidis, min. 11 (2); 4-3: Thurk, min. 9 (2); 4-4: Kafantaris, min. 0 (2); 5-4: Kniller, min. 8 (3); 6-4: Biermann, min. 4 (3); 7-4: Biermann, min. 4 (3); 7-5: Triatafyllidis, min. 3 (3); 7-6: Triantafyllidis, min. 3 (3).




 Results Today:

Sunday 14.06.15

12:30 – Germany 7-6 Greece (Group 2)

13:45 – France 3-1 Poland (Group 1)

15:00 – Portugal 5-6 Italy (Group 2)

16:15 – Russia 3(3)-3(2) (pen) Belarus (Group 1)


Final Standings:

Group 1

Winner: Russia

Runner-up: Belarus

3rd Place: France 

4th Place: Poland


Group 2

Winner: Italy

Runner-up: Portugal 

3rd Place: Germany

4th Place: Greece


Individual Awards:

Best Goalkeeper: Ostrovskii (RUS)

Top Scorer: Gori (ITA), Bryshtel (BLR), Jose Maria (POR)

MVP: Gori (ITA)

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