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05 Jul 2019
Russia and Spain taste victory on day one
The Euro Beach Soccer Cup kicked off with two former winners taking early wins in Nazaré
All three former champions of the Euro Beach Soccer Cup were in action on the first day in Nazaré, but only two took took victory, as England were seen off by Russia as Cherniakova scored twice in the final third.
Spain handed an extra time defeat to Switzerland to start their Group 2 campaign on the front foot, with Sara netting the winner with seconds on the clock to help La Roj amove to the top of the group.
England 1 - 3 Russia (Group 1)
It was just a couple of short months ago that England and Russia had squared up on the final day of the Salou qualifier for the World Beach Games. The prize that day was a place in the Games in Qatar, and England had come out on top.
However, Russia now had the best player in the world back in their ranks, as Marina Fedorova, who had been absent in Spain, made her return.
Either way, this coming together of two former champions was always going to be a tight match and the first period ended with the score unopened, despite both teams rattling the woodwork.
In the second period the deadlock was broken by a fine strike from the Russian captain, Gorshkova, which hit the bar to bounce down and across the line. However, a looping header from Sarah Kempson, former best player in the world, saw both captains get their names on the scoresheet.
The sides went into the final period on level terms, but Cherniakova slid down the right flank to bury number two for Russia. England threatened as the clock ticked down but Cherniakova added a third, putting the game beyond Perry Northeast’s side.
The defending champions took an important step towards title retention in beating one of the favourites, and at the same time tasting revenge for the defeat in the World Beach Games Qualifier.
Goals: 0-1: Sheva, min. 11 (2); 1-1: Kempson, min. 1 (2); 1-2: Cherniakova, min. 11 (3); 1-2: Cherniakova, min. 0 (3);
Spain 5 - 4 Switzerland *AET (Group 2)
Spain had won the first ever Euro Beach Soccer Cup in 2016 and Switzerland were two-time runners-up in the competition, so when the two sides met in their opening match in Nazaré, a top-level contest was guaranteed.
It was a mix up between goalkeeper and defender which saw the score opened after a tightly fought opening run of play, when Kuffer sent an overhit back pass into her own net to give Spain the lead.
Carla Morera then scored what is sure to be one of the goals of the tournament in the last minute of the opening period. However, there was still time for another goal at either end, courtesy of Schenk and Carol Glez, as the sides went into the second period with Spain leading 3-1.
Bachmann cut the deficit to just one midway through the second period with a long-distance strike, but Jessi managed to beat the keeper with just seven seconds of the period left.
At 4-2, Spain had the advantage as the final 12 minutes began but Bachmann scored after just minutes and then Kuffer blasted in a screamer to level the game up and force extra time.
With just 40 seconds of the added three minutes left, Sara Gonzalez turned the ball in from close range to snatch the winning goal and take an opening two points against the Swiss.
Goals: 1-0: Kuffer (OG), min. 4 (1); 2-0: Carla, min. 1 (1); 2-1: Schenk, min. 1 (1); 3-1: Carol Glez, min. 1 (1); 3-2: Bachmann, min. 5 (2); 4-2: Jessi, min. 0 (2); 4-3: Bachmann, min. 11 (3); 4-4: Kuffer, min. 9 (3); 5-4: Sara, min. 0 (ET);
England 1-3 Russia (Group 1)
Spain 5-4 Switzerland (Group 2) *AET
Russia v Netherlands (Group 1)
Switzerland v Czech Republic Group 2) *Pitch 2
England v Netherlands (Group 1)
Spain v Czech Republic (Group 2)
For all the fixtures, results and standings of the Euro Beach Soccer League Nazaré 2019, click here.