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12 May 2019
Russia victorious over hosts in Salou final!
England and Spain qualify for World Beach Games as Russia defeat Spain in the Europe Qualifier final
After a dramatic ended to end final showdown in Salou, Russia lifted the trophy thanks to a late Makarov winner, whilst the English and Spanish women’s teams defied all the odds to secure World Beach Games qualification.
The sun is setting on the Sports Complex Futbol Salou and after four days of world class beach soccer, the stadium has finally fallen silent.
The last day didn’t disappoint as champions were crowned and incredible campaign comebacks saw dreams come true for two very special women’s national teams.
Before we get to that, here is how the final of the World Beach Games - Europe Qualifier Salou 2019 was lost and won…
Russia vs Spain
Qualification for the World Beach Games was in the bag for both teams but the chance at a trophy couldn’t be missed and tensions were high from the kick off.
The full stadium was cheering their players before the game even began and they played their part brilliantly, selecting their favourite Spanish heroes and Russian villains to cheer and boo.
They were booing first, as the Russian captain Shkarin pounded in the opener. The noise changed though, when Javi Torres hit an even more impressive goal, running in from the right wing to volley an overhead into the net.
The first period ended with the teams level pegging, but after only a few minutes the big number 14 was on the scoresheet again, with a similar twisting volley.
Edu set Llorenç up for an equalizer just before the second break and at 4-4 this game was anyone’s to take in the final third. The Spaniards in the crowd seemed convinced that their team could do it but a hush fell, expect that from the Russian bench, as Makarov buried a penalty to edge the advantage.
It was clear that Russia hadn’t just come for World Beach Games qualification, they wanted a trophy. At 5-4, and with four minutes to play, Spain threw everything they had at Mikhail Likhachev’s men, but the hardy Russian gripped their lead tightly and the Spaniards had to settle for a hard-fought second place as time ultimately ran out.
After the match, the award ceremony took place on the sand and the tournament champion’s goalkeeper, Maksim Chuzkov, claimed the prize for Best Goalkeeper, while Llorenç received the MVP award and Italy’s Gabriele Gori the trophy for Top Scorer with 12.
Goals: 1-0: Shkarin, min. 4 (1); 1-1: Javi Torres, min. 3 (1); 1-2: Javi Torres, min. 9 (2); 1-3: Llorenç, min. 9 (2); 2-3: Shishin, min. 8 (2); 3-3: Makarov, min. 5 (2); 4-3: Paporotnyi, min. 5 (2); 4-4: Llorenç, min. 1 (2); 5-4: Makarov, min. 4 (3);
Switzerland vs Italy (3rd-place play-off)
With a ticket to San Diego secure for both sides after they reached the semi-finals, the game between Switzerland and the European champions offered a third-place finish here in Salou.
The tie got underway directly from kick off when Stankovic blasted Switzerland ahead with his first touch of the game.
However, after the initial wobble, Italy assumed control of the first period of play. Gori got their first goal, equalizing with a fine effort. Zurlo then hit two in close succession, as he beat the keeper to a cross for the first, and then headed in a second cross to send the net rippling.
Italy were comfortably ahead at the first break, and the lead was extended when Gori got his second of the match with an acrobatic overhead.
Ott netted a freekick to restore hope of a comeback for the Swiss and with the score at 2-4, it looked as though Angelo Schirinzi’s men might have a chance. Then Marinai stepped forward to strike low and make it five, and yet another from Gori in the third and final period extended the Azzurri’s lead to four!
Stankovic claimed a brace with a jumping volley but with only minutes to play time was against them. Then Borer flew in to head a Noel Ott corner and suddenly a minute seemed like a long time to the Italians, who know all too well that anything can happen in a minute of beach soccer.
They held their nerve to maintain the two-goal cushion as the final whistle sounded and confirmed Del Duca’s men as the World Beach Games - Europe Qualifier Salou 2019 third place finishers.
Switzerland finished in fourth and now had the opportunity to see if their women’s team would be joining them in San Diego as they took on the hosts Spain in the next match.
Goals: 1-0: Stankovic, min. 11 (1); 1-1: Gori, min. 9 (1); 1-2: Zurlo, min. 5 (1); 1-3: Zurlo, min. 3 (1); 2-3: Ott, min. 7 (2); 2-4: Gori, min. 4 (2); 2-5: Marinai, min. 2 (2); 2-6: Gori, min. 6 (3); 3-6: Stankovic, min. 3 (3); 4-6: Borer, min. 1 (3);
Ukraine vs Belarus (5th-place play-off)
The was more at stake in today’s play-off between Ukraine and Belarus than just fifth place, as one more spot at the World Beach Games remained up for grabs. The team that finished fifth in the European Qualifier, would face South America’s third best team to fight for that final qualification.
But first, they needed to win here in Salou…
After defeating the Portuguese yesterday, Ukraine were deservedly full of confidence, and Shcherytsia gave them the lead with a long-range freekick. A few minutes later, Voitenko chested the ball to set himself up for a low volley, taking the advantage to 2-0.
The Ukrainian defense did a good job of keeping the Belarussian star, Bryshtel, away from goal, matching him in physical strength which not many teams manage to do.
Belarus failed to close the gap in the second period and their play became more frantic and Voitok took advantage of their high press to find himself unmarked with just the keeper to beat, which he did with a brilliant overhead.
But Byrshtel couldn’t be kept out for ever, and he leapt upon a loose ball in the Ukraine box to take the score to 3-2. A minute later he grabbed another with a looping header and Ukraine needed to stop the momentum of the men in red.
Voitok did just that with an incredible goal and then inadvertently with an injury that saw him limp off. The Belarussian offensive had subsided with the break in play and when Zborovskyi scored his first of the match in the final minute there was no way back for Nicolas Alejandro’s men.
Ukraine are just one match away from joining Spain, Russia, Switzerland and Italy at the World Beach Games, but Belarus will have to make do with a sixth-place finish.
Goals: 1-0: Shcherytsia, min. 8 (1); 2-0: Voitenko, min. 8 (1); 3-0: Voitok, min. 3 (2); 3-1: Bryshtel, min. 10 (3); 3-2: Bryshtel, min. 9 (3); 4-2: Voitok, min. 9 (3); 5-2: Zborovskyi, min. 0 (3);
Portugal vs France (7th-place play-off)
The final chance at a competing in the World Beach Game San Diego had slipped from Portuguese hands against Ukraine yesterday, but with that behind them, Mario Narciso’s men were clearly desperate to end the European Qualifier with a win.
The gave it everything they had from the get-go, taking the lead after a matter of minutes through a Be Martins set piece, and then before the period finished the other Martins twin, Leo, tucked away a slick finish to double the advantage going into the second period.
France however, were causing the Portuguese defenders trouble as they mounted attacks and force several fouls in dangerous positions. Had they been a little more clinical then they could have been level with the former world champions.
But they gave away fouls of their own, and the Portuguese were less wasteful with these opportunities. Jordan smashed in a third for Portugal from a freekick, closely followed by a fourth from Von.
With half of the match gone, France got themselves back in it when Le Blanc kept his cool from the penalty spot to make it 4-1 and just a minute from the second whistle, Anthony Barbotti cut the deficit to two.
Jordan was taken down in the area by the French keeper, Hauata, and made no mistake with his penalty, scoring his second of the game to reopen the three-goal gap. Von also completed his brace to make it six, but in the dying minutes Barbotti became the third player in the match to score two when he struck from close-range to make it 6-3.
Portugal looked vulnerable but kept calm to control the last-ditch French attacks, eagerly waiting for the final whistle. When it finally came the men in red breathed a sigh of relief.
France claim eighth, while a win on the final day means a seventh-place finish for Narciso’s men.
Goals: 1-0: Be Martins, min. 10 (1); 2-0: Leo Martins, min. 9 (1); 3-0: Jordan, min. 8 (2); 4-0: Von, min. 7 (2); 4-1: Le Blanc, min. 4 (2); 4-2: Barbotti, min. 1 (2); 5-2: Jordan, min. 11 (3); 6-2: Von, min. 7 (3); 6-3: Barbotti, min. 1 (3);
Azerbaijan vs Greece (9th-place play-off)
The ninth position was up for grabs between these two sides on the final day in Salou and it looked as if the Greeks held an early advantage when they piled on pressure and Pipinis scored a screamer from put them ahead.
Perhaps it took this goal to wake Azerbaijan up, because suddenly they totally turned the match around and controlled the ball, proving much more clinical in front of goal than their opponents.
Ramil equalised and then Orkhan took his chance to turn in number two for Zeynal Zeynalov’s men. Asif struck from close range to make it 3-1 and just two minutes from time Amid rose high in the air to power in a peach of an overhead.
The second period began with the score at 4-1, and Greece had work to do. They did well to keep out ferocious Azerbaijani attacks in the second period but couldn’t break through themselves.
Another goal did come, and what a goal it was, as Papastathopoulos picked up the ball in the middle of the pitch and finessed his shot into the top corner, bringing the score to 4-2.
Azerbaijan scored a beautiful team goal, taking their tally to five, when Amid picked the attacker’s pocket, played a swift one-two and headed over the oncoming Nikolaou. The goalkeeper took his revenge though, blasting a rocket past his opposite number.
The Greek keeper may have had the last word, but Azerbaijan maintained the two-goal lead until the final whistle, claiming ninth place as Greece finish in tenth.
Goals: 0-1: Pipinis, min. 8 (1); 1-1: Ramil, min. 6 (1); 2-1: Orkhan, min. 4 (1); 3-1: Asif, min. 4 (1); 4-1: Amid, min. 2 (1); 4-2: Papastathopoulos, min. 11 (3); 5-2: Amid, min. 5 (3); 5-3: Nikolaou, min. 4 (3);
Germany vs Turkey (11th-place play-off)
An 11th-place finish was the prize for victory in today’s play-off match between Germany and Turkey, as well as ending their time in Spain on a high note.
Turkey were gifted an early lead when a mix up between Schmitt and his goalkeeper saw the number 15 send the ball into the back of his own net. But Germany maintained their motivation and Franz drove a freekick home to level up.
Die Mannschaft defense gave the Turkish number ten too much time in front of goal as Cem Keskin calmly slid the ball under Mulling, snatching the lead just before the break.
The striker completed his brace part way through the second period, but Germany were only two goals behind and, after hitting the post on several occasions, still looked dangerous. Baris extended the lead to 1-4 going into the third period, however, Turkey began conceding more freekicks in risky areas and having been saved by the frame of the goal, let the Germans back in as Basiel converted a set-piece.
Before Germany could gather any momentum, Cem Keskin netted his eight of the competition, and then Baris put the game to bed with a coolly converted penalty in the last minute. Christian Biermann got his name on the scoresheet with a long-distance strike, but it was just a consolation goal as the final whistle blew with the score at 3-6.
Turkey claim 11th and Germany finish the tournament in 12th.
Goals: 0-1: Schmitt (OG), min. 9 (1); 1-1: Franz, min. 4 (1); 1-2: Cem Keskin, min. 1 (1); 1-3: Cem Keskin, min. 5 (2); 1-4: Baris, min. 0 (2); 2-4: Basiel, min. 7 (3); 2-5: Cem Keskin, min. 3 (3); 2-6: Baris, min. 0 (3); 3-6: Biermann, min. 0 (3);
Kazakhstan vs Czech Republic (13th-place play-off)
In the battle for 13th place, Czech Republic started the stronger of the two teams, shutting down early Kazakh attacks and converting after just three minutes when Radosta hit a low shot in from the right wing.
A matter of seconds later, Azhikenov dispossessed the defender to spin and shoot, levelling the game up. Czech Republic nosed themselves in front a few minutes from the break to start the second period leading.
The lapse in defensive concentration for the Azhikenov goal seemed to switch the Czech players on and they held possession well to force the Kazakh players forward.
They extended their lead when goalkeeper Malina scored to make it 1-3 and then Hurab netted his second, which was arguably the goal of the game. Czech Republic were enjoying the game with a comfortable lead and put together some very nice team play.
The match held just one more goal and it was little more than a consolation as Demeshko found the net with just a minute to go. A final push from Kazakhstan threatened to cut the deficit to just one but the Czech Republic held on to end their time in Salou with a comfortable victory.
Kazakhstan end the competition in 14th ahead of Norway and England, while Czech Republic earned themselves a 13th place finish.
Goals: 0-1: Radosta, min. 8 (1); 1-1: Azhikenov, min. 8 (1); 1-2: Hurab, min. 3 (1); 1-3: Malina, min. 9 (2); 1-4: Hurab, min. 4 (2); 2-4: Demeshko, min. 1 (3);
England vs Russia
The reward for a normal time victory in this match was simple – qualification to the World Beach Games in San Diego. With such an incentive ahead of them, it is hardly surprising that the players from England and Russia started the game in top gear.
A superb strike from the Russia Gorshkova opened the scoring, as the number 22 picked the ball up in her own half and powered it home. England created their own chances but it wasn’t until the final seconds of the period when Hillier turned a throw-in into the roof of the Russian net.
The next 12 minutes started with the teams tied but before long Gorshkova found her name on the scoresheet again, this time for the wrong team as she headed the ball over her own keeper. England had the lead and the Lionesses pushed the advantage to 3-1 when Sarah Kempson buried a freekick from distance.
But the Russians weren’t finished yet, and just before the second break Bazhanova brought the score back to 3-2 and when Zaitseva levelled, extra time was looking more and more likely.
However, a winner came, and it was from one of the three nominees for the Player of the Year, Molly Clarke as she reached a loose ball before the Russian defenders to smash a low shot in off the upright.
With minutes on the clock, it was a case of keeping the ball for Perry Northeast’s players, until the final whistle went and the England team couldn’t contain their joy, as the heartbroken Russians sank to their knees.
See you in San Diego, ladies!
Goals: 0-1: Gorshkova, min. 6 (1); 1-1: Hillier, min. 0 (1); 2-1: Sheva, min. 3 (2); 3-1: Kempson, min. 2 (2); 3-2: Bazhanova, min. 0 (2); 3-3: Zaitseva, min. 7 (3); 4-3: Clarke, min. 5 (3);
Spain vs Switzerland
The last women’s match of the World Beach Games - Europe Qualifier in Salou saw hosts Spain take on group leaders Switzerland.
Going into the match, anything except a normal time victory would see La Roja knocked out of the competition. Switzerland were in the stronger position but it was the Spanish number three, Andrea Miron, that opened the scoring in style with a looping shot from distance that sent the home crowd wild!
Some incredible stops from both keepers kept the score at just 1-0 to Spain all the way until the first break, but after the restart Switzerland had a reply as Alina Gruter hit a rocket of a shot bouncing off the bottom of the crossbar and across the line.
As the match approached the half way point it looked as if either team might score at any minute. The next goal came when Lorena converted a freekick - yet another golazo! - and the crowd were on their feet again.
They had hardly sat down again before Carla found space to control the ball in the area and chip a volley over the approaching Alma Marti to make it 3-1. They went into the final period with a comfortable lead, but it became much less comfortable when Kuffer pulled one back for the Swiss.
Nine minutes is a long time in beach soccer, but Christian Mendez’ players held firm at the back and used the possession effectively to run the clock down.
The final whistle went and a dream that had seemed impossible just two days ago came true for the Spanish ladies as they will join England in representing Europe at the World Beach Games in San Diego!
Goals: 1-0: Miron, min. 5 (1); 1-1: Gruter, min. 10 (2); 2-1: Lorena, min. 5 (2); 3-1: Carla, min. 5 (2); 3-2: Kuffer, min. 9 (3);
Stay up-to-date with all of the fixtures, results and standings of the World Beach Games - Europe Qualifier Salou 2019 on the Beach Soccer Worldwide website.
CHAMPION: Russia (Qualifies to WBG)
2nd place: Spain (Qualifies to WBG)
3rd place: Italy (Qualifies to WBG)
4th place: Switzerland (Qualifies to WBG)
5th place: Ukraine (May qualify for WBG)*
6th place: Belarus
7th place: Portugal
8th place: France
9th place: Azerbaijan
10th place: Greece
11th place: Turkey
12th place: Germany
13th place: Kazakhstan
14th place: Czech Republic
15th place: Norway
16th place: England
*Ukraine will play the third-best CONMEBOL team
MVP: Llorenç Gomez (ESP)
Top Scorer: Gabriele Gori (ITA)
Best Goalkeeper: Maksim Chuzkov (RUS)
CHAMPION: England (Qualifies to WBG)
2nd place: Spain (Qualifies to WBG)
3rd place: Switzerland
4th place: Russia
5th place: Czech Republic
MVP: Carla Morera (ESP)
Top Scorers: Veronica Pilovskova (CZE), Sara Kempson (ENG) and Andrea Miron (ESP)
Best Goalkeeper: Hannah Haughton (ENG)