Main qualifier is underway in Baku

Spectacular matches between Europe's best teams took place

The first day of main qualifier action got started on the 5th July in the Azerbaijan capital, Baku… 


Group A
Three points for Italy
Italy defeat Estonia 3-1.

Italy and Estonia got Group A action underway in Baku.

It took until the second period for the first goals to come in the fixture and it was Italy who struck first, courtesy of Zurlo. However, just 40 seconds later, Estonia had the leveler as Munskind found the back of the Italian net. Italian goalkeeper, Casapieri found the target to put his side ahead again, leading 2-1 heading into the final phase of play.

In the third period Sciacca gave Italy a two-goal advantage over their opponents, as his right-footed strike bounced over the goalkeeper into the centre of the net.

A positive start for Italy, getting three points on the board.

A narrow Moldova victory against the hosts
A 3-2 victory for Moldova against Azerbaijan.

Host nation, Azerbaijan battled it out against Moldova in Baku.

Despite taking on Azerbaijan in their home stadium, Moldova took the lead from a Turta penalty, following a Vagif red card for Azerbaijanis. A ferocious strike from Azerbaijan keeper, Elchin brought the scores level, but straight from the Moldova kick-off, Ignat’s shot found the top-left corner.

Scores would remain the same in the second period, as Moldova took a one goal lead into the last period.

After a mistimed jump from the Azerbaijan goalkeeper, Graur was left with an open goal to aim at, as he slotted ball into the right-hand side for the Moldovans. The Beach Soccer Olympic Stadium erupted just over three minutes from time after Kamran slotted the ball into the net, but Moldova held on, attaining three points.

Group B
A competitive sees Poland come out on top
Poland win 3-1 against Lithuania.

It was an extremely competitive first period in the Group B fixture between the two nations, as both sides looked to score the opening goal in the match.

Lithuania were almost ahead at the start of the second period as Plytnikas’ rocket of a strike slammed against the crossbar from kick-off. However, it was the Polish side that broke the deadlock, as captain, Gac rifled a bicycle kick in low at the far post, following a corner. Around 45 seconds later, it was all level as Makutunovičius nodded the ball home at the back stick, but Poland’s number 20, Gruszewski restored the lead with a very similar goal to Gac, but instead found the top-right corner.

Gruszewski scored the only goal of the third and final period, acquiring his brace and a Poland victory.

Ukraine leave it late to win
Ukraine overcome Spain 4-3 in extra time.

Spain took on Ukraine to bring Group B action to its end on day one.

Ukraine drew first blood in Baku, as Guisado turned the ball into his own goal, following a cross. Ukrainian goalkeeper, Nerush then converted an outstanding strike from long range to double the lead inside four minutes. David brought Spain right back into the fixture, as he scored a brace to make the match all square and the Spaniards went ahead before the opening period ended, through goalkeeper, Dona.

Voitok scored the only goal of the second period, as he brought his nation level, with all to play for in the last period of the match.

With no goals scored in the final period, extra-time awaited the two nations. Within 40 seconds of the three additional minutes, Voitok struck for his second of the match and won the match for Ukraine.

Group C
Astounding Angeletti strikes guide France to victory
France win 5-3 against Greece.

To begin Group C, France played Greece.

Bru scored the first goal of the match to give France the lead and the advantage was doubled a few minutes later with Angeletti finding his first goal of the match. However, Greece launched their comeback at the back end of the period with a bicycle kick from Skourtas and captain, Triantafyllidis scored a screamer from distance, smashing the ball into the centre of the goal to equalise.

The second period was just as entertaining, as Angeletti’s stunning free-kick found the top-right corner. Mikelatos brought Greece level for the second time in the encounter, but Angeletti completed his hat-trick, picking out the top-left corner from range.

France increased their lead in the final 12 minutes, as Varrel slammed his strike in at the near post to beat Tsekouras and rounded off a great start for the French in Group C.

Goals galore, as Portugal edge victory
An 8-6 win for Portugal over Germany.

Portugal played against Germany to end Group C action on the opening day.

Olli broke the deadlock for the Germans with less than four minutes on the clock in the first period, but Portugal would strike back with seven seconds to go, courtesy of Torres.

Lüth sent Germany ahead inside two minutes of the second period as his right-footed attempt bounced into the far corner. However, Rúben Brilhante produced two moments of magic in quick succession for the Portuguese team, to send them ahead for the first time. Despite this, Peterson and Biermann turned the match around again for Germany, leading 4-3 after two periods played.

In the last 12 minutes of action, Portugal incredibly found the net another five times, after a Léo Martins double and goals from Coimbra, Jordan and Pintado. Petry scored a wonderful volley and Olli scored his brace for Germany in the period, but it was Portugal who came out triumphant.

Group D
Dominant opening day victory for Belarus
Belarus defeat Türkiye 10-2.

To get Group D started, Belarus took on Türkiye.

The first goal of the match game within four minutes of the opening period, as Türiye’s, Recep turned the ball into his own net at an attempt to clear Bryshtsel’s off the line. Belarus’ second goal followed, as Hardzetski’s shot from the right-hand side found the bottom corner.

It got even better for the Belarusians moments into the second period, with Hardzetski finding his brace after some great one touch passing between the team. A superb shot from distance from goalkeeper, Ustsinovich made the score 4-0, bouncing off the inside of the left post on the way through and Bryshtsel got the fifth less than 20 seconds later. After scoring another two times before the end of the period, courtesy of Hapon and Bryshtsel, meant that Belarus took a seven-goal advantage into the final period.

Türkiye found their first goal of the match at the beginning of the third period, as goalkeeper, Mehmet slammed an expertly placed shot from range into the top-left corner and Efe Lorenzo scored their second of the day. However, two Bokach bicycle kicks and Piatrouski’s penalty granted Belarus a 10-2 victory in their first match.

Denmark take down gold medalists
Denmark beat Switzerland 3-2.

In the second Group D encounter of the opening day, Denmark faced Switzerland.

Switzerland scored first in the match, as a cross into the back post ricocheted off Danish player, Frandsen and found its way past goalkeeper, Madsen. The lead was doubled by the European Games gold medalists, as Stankovic converted with less than 30 seconds to go in the opening period.

Both sides failed to score in the second period of the match, as Switzerland managed to take their two-goal advantage into the final stage of the game and Denmark were still very much in the fixture.

Danish goalkeeper, Madsen pulled one back for his nation, blasting a rocket into the top-right corner, and he found his second soon after, scoring into the bottom corner for the leveler.

The remarkable comeback was complete with less than five minutes from time, as a lofted pass was turned in at a tight angle by the foot of Frandsen.

An incredible moment for the Danish team, with players falling to their knees with emotion when the final whistle blew.

To keep up to date with all the main qualifier action, make sure to visit!

Group A
Italy 3-1 Estonia
Azerbaijan 2-3 Moldova

Group B
Poland 3-1 Lithuania
Spain 3-4 Ukraine (after extra time)

Group C
France 5-3 Greece
Portugal 8-6 Germany

Group D
Belarus 10-2 Türkiye
Denmark 3-2 Switzerland

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