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11 Aug 2014
EBSL Superfinal and Promotion Final are now in focus
Siófok hosted the final group stage over the weekend and now all eyes move to Torredembarra as the postseason participants are finalized
The excitement of the European Beach Soccer League season was more than anyone could have hoped for and after four stops, Catania (Italy), Sopot (Poland), Moscow (Russia), and Siófok (Hungary), the teams have been sorted and the final chapter of the season begins on August 14th in Torredembarra (Spain). Now that the dust has settled on the regular season, here is a look at the final standings and their goal differential tiebreaker:
1. PORTUGAL, 13 points. Goal differential: + 14
2. SWITZERLAND, 12 points. Goal differential: + 12
3. SPAIN, 12 points. Goal differential: + 5
4. ITALY, 11 points. Goal differential: + 7
5. UKRAINE, 10 points. Goal differential: +3
6. RUSSIA, 9 points. Goal differential: +10
7. BELARUS, 9 points. Goal differential: -2
8. GERMANY, 7 points. Goal differential: 0
9. FRANCE, 6 points. Goal differential: -5
10. GREECE, 5 points. Goal differential: -17
11. The NETHERLANDS, 3 points. Goal differential: -13
12. POLAND, 3 points. Goal differential: -14
Narrowly missing out on the Superfinal's 8th and final spot were France and Greece, who had 6 and 5 points, respectively. The Netherlands edged out Poland on goal differential, and by the thinnest of margins; 1 goal, to avoid the Promotion Final.
This season there will be added pressure and emotion as the top six teams from Division A and the top team from Division B will qualify for the first ever European Olympic Games to be held in Baku in 2015. When all is said and done, one team will be crowned European Champion and there may be changes in the makeup of Division A and B, like every year, depending on the outcome of the Promotion Final.
All of the matchups will be interesting as the overall importance of every postseason game is more than evident but let us take a look some intriguing individual storylines. The top overall seed, Portugal, is pitted in the same group as the defending EBSL Champions, Russia. More alluring is that the 2013 Superfinal was between these same squads. You can rest assured that in their first game against each other, the Portuguese will look to exact revenge on the Russians. In the other Division A group, the all-time leader in European crowns with five, Spain, will have to face the high-flying offense that is Switzerland in a match that could determine the group leader.
Division B has just as many compelling matches with Poland, the very tough but last place Division A team, will take on a very confident Czech Republic side. Poland will be looking to avoid relegation and every other team in the Promotion Final wants nothing more than to move into Division A at their expense. Group 2 of Division B includes an impressive array of teams, one of which has tasted of the glory that is Division A, Turkey. The Crescent-Stars will need to fend off three very young and up-and-coming teams if they hope to get back to Division A.
Below is the list of teams and groups:
Division A – Group 1
Portugal, Italy, Russia, and Belarus.
Division A – Group 2
Switzerland, Spain, Ukraine, and Germany
Division B – Group 1
Poland, Czech Republic, Azerbaijan, and Bulgaria
Division B – Group 2
Turkey, Hungary, Estonia, and England