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World Beach Games - Europe Qualifier Salou 2019
10 May 2019

Spain, Russia, Italy and Switzerland qualify to World Beach Games

The European representation at the World Beach Games has been decided as Switzerland, Italy, Russia and Spain make the cut


On a day of shocks, last minute winners and heartbreak, the four men’s teams gaining automatic qualification to the 2019 World Beach Games San Diego were chosen.

Portugal were knocked out by Switzerland thanks to a late Glen Hodel goal, while Spain swept aside Belarus in front of a home crowd in Salou. 

The hosts sit bottom of the women’s group, and a second win for Russia sees them close the gap on the ladies of Switzerland at the top of the table.

 

MEN

 

QUARTER-FINALS

 

Spain vs Belarus

With initial wins under their belts on day one, both teams went into today’s match with the aim of clinching the fourth and final automatic place at the World Beach Games in San Diego, USA.

After scoring yesterday, Javi Torres continued his inspired form into Spain’s second game and, as La Roja put together some impressive team play that kept the home crowd on the edge of their seats, the big number 14 scored two overhead shots to give Spain a 2-0 going into the second period. 

But Dona had been called into action to save some dangerous Belarussian strikes, and with players such as Ihar Bryshtel in the ranks, it was going to be a difficult match to see out.

In the second period, despite Belarus increasing the offensive, Spain held out at the back and as the game approach the half-way point, Antonio got the crowd on their feet once more with a sublime finish.

The final period was Belarus’ only hope at a turnaround, but Spain had hold of the game and were not about to let control go. They turned the screw as Edu tucked away a close-range shot and minutes later Chiky scored a very different goal, belting a shot past Mahaletski in the Belarussian goal.

At 5-0, and with just five minutes remaining, Spain fought off the last of the attacks to see the game to the end with a clean sheet for Dona.

At the sound of the final whistle, the players celebrated raucously, and then remembered to turn and thank their fans for the support.

They join Switzerland, Italy and Russia in the World Beach Games San Diego, as well as a fifth team, which will have to fight their way through the play-offs in Salou and then beat the third best side in CONMEBOL.

Goals: 1-0: Torres, min. 8 (1); 2-0: Torres, min. 2 (1); 3-0: Antonio, min. 8 (2); 4-0: Edu, min. 8 (3); 5-0: Chiky, min. 6 (3);

 

Portugal vs Switzerland 

The first quarter-final of the day saw a star-studded match between the former world champions and Switzerland. The prize up for grabs today? Being the first team of the European qualifier to gain a place at the World Beach Games in San Diego.

It didn’t take long for the scoring to be opened, as Torres calmly converted a penalty. But Borer returned the favour just a minute later and the sides were drawing until an Andre overhead nosed Portugal ahead.

Another overhead saw Von stretch the advantage to 3-1 and the Portuguese bench erupted. They hardly had time to sit down before they were on their feet again as Madjer sent a rocket past Nico Stalder in the Swiss goal. 

Portugal seemed to be tightening their grip on the game but then Borer reduced the deficit to just two and the first whistle went with the score at 4-2.

Part way through the second period, after some fine stops at both ends kept the score untouched, Noel Ott fired a seemingly impossible freekick right into the corner of Andrade’s goal – 4-3! The comeback was on when the Swiss number ten scored yet again, coaxing Andrade off his line to fire a bicycle kick past the stranded goalkeeper.

The second whistle blew with the scores level and when the match restarted, Angelo Schirinzi’s men looked to have gained the majority of the attacking chances. When Glen Hodel was taken down in the area he was award a penalty which even Andrade, the best keeper in the world, couldn’t keep out.

The advantaged was slim but there were still seven minutes left to play and Switzerland fought hard to hang on to the lead.

Even a barrage of attacks from some of the world’s finest attackers couldn’t break the will of this Swiss team and they celebrated wildly, their place in San Diego safely secured, while a dejected and heartbroken Portugal left the stadium. 

Goals: 1-0: Torres, min. 9 (1); 1-1: Borer, min. 9 (1); 2-1: Andre, min. 7 (1); 3-1: Von, min. 7 (1); 4-1: Madjer, min. 5 (1); 4-2: Borer, min. 4 (1); 4-3: Ott, min. 5 (2); 4-4: Ott, min. 4 (2); 4-5: Hodel, min. 7 (3);

 

Italy vs France

France had had an easier route to the quarter-finals than most after England had been unable to participate in the Round of 16, but there would be nothing easy about their match against Italy today.

This was made all too clear when Gabriele Gori netted a penalty within a minute of the whistle. Things were made worse for the men in dark blue when two more set pieces resulted in two more goals and by the midway point of the period, Italy were enjoying a 3-0 lead.

The gap widened as the match progressed and if it weren’t for the heroics of the French keeper, Anthony Cianni, Italy would have been out of sight. In the second period Gori scored his third, fourth and fifth goal of the game, while Marinai and Palazzolo also join the names of the scoresheet as Italy ran riot, overwhelming the French defense.

However, Anthony Barbotti drove a fine bicycle kick past Simone del Mestre to grab, what could surely be, only a consolation goal for the French.

The final period began at 8-1, and any chance of overcoming the European champions with such a deficit slipped further and further out of coach Stephane Francois’ hands. Gentilin Josep made it nine with yet another set piece, but after that the Italians seemed to take their foot off the throttle.

Josep Jr volleyed a beautiful overhead just under the French crossbar to make it ten, and then, in the dying seconds of the game, Basquaise, won and converted a freekick to take the final score to 10-2.

Italy stroll into the semi-finals and join Switzerland across the finish line in the race to the World Beach Games qualification.

Goals: 1-0: Gori, min. 11 (1); 2-0: Zurlo, min. 8 (1); 3-0: Gori, min. 6 (1); 4-0: Gori, min. 10 (2); 5-0: Marinai, min. 5 (2); 6-0: Palazzolo, min. 6 (2); 7-0: Gori, min. 5 (2); 7-1: Barbotti, min. 4 (2); 8-1: Gori, min. 4 (2); 9-1: Josep Jr, min. 11 (3); 10-1: Josep Jr, min. 2 (3); 10-2: Basquaise, min. 0 (3);

 

Russia vs Ukraine

After having watched Switzerland squeeze past Portugal, and then Italy blow the French away, Russia and Ukraine were itching to join them.

It was Russia who started the strong of these two old rivals, as Shishin netted early in the first period to take the lead. He then doubled it when he found space to drive a low shot, which took a fortunate bobble off the sand to wrong-foot the keeper, Nerush.

However, Ukraine had chances of their own, and Shcherytsia missed two dangerously situated freekicks. The Russians, on the other hand, were clinical in their attacking, and put away goal after goal in the second period. 

Shishin took his personal tally for the day to four, one of which was a contender for goal of the day! Meanwhile, Romanov and Krash had also scored and Ukraine were looking as if the players’ heads had dropped. But the men in yellow had a reply - or two - just before the second whistle, when keeper Nerush and Voitok dragged the score back to 6-2.

But the difference between the two teams was too much for Yevhen Varenytsia’s men, and Paporotnyi dealt the Ukrainians one last blow in the third period to take the score to 7-2. This was the last goal of the match as Russia held the attacks off to see the game out and join the Azzurri and Switzerland in securing their place at the World Beach Games in California, which will take place later this year.

Goals: 1-0: Shishin, min. 10 (1); 2-0: Shishin, min. 6 (1); 3-0: Romanov, min. 10 (2); 4-0: Krash, min. 7 (2); 5-0: Shishin, min. 7 (2); 6-0: Shishin, min. 3 (2); 6-1: Nerush, min. 2 (2); 6-2: Voitok, min. 0 (2); 7-2: Paporotnyi, min. 8 (3);

 

PLAY-OFFS

 

Turkey vs Czech Republic 

Defeated in an exciting match-up against hosts Spain yesterday, Turkey’s hopes for qualifying to the World Beach Games had been dashed, and the best they could play for now was ninth place here in Salou.

But Czech Republic were also seeking as high a finish as possible, but Baris, after netting the previous day against Spain, put Turkey ahead after just a minute of play.

Martin Dlouhy’s Czechs kept the attacks at bay though and forced some saves at the other end, but couldn’t level the match up, and as the second period began, Turkey’s slim lead was intact. Cem Keskin smashed an overhead shot against the bar, but Emarh Aykurt’s side struggled to extend their advantage, despite maintaining the pressure on the Czech defense.

The Turkish number ten suddenly hit the frame of the goal again, but this this his spinning shot bounced off the inside of the post and rippled the net to make it two. The third period got underway with a comeback not beyond Czech Republic.

But the Turkish strikers came in wave after wave, and if it wasn’t for the heroics of Patrik Malina between the Czech sticks, the game would have been dead and buried long before. Andy pulled a goal back for Czech Republic midway through the last period, but Baris was on hand to pound home a bicycle kick to restore the two-goal cushion.

Goals from Cem Keskin and Akbal pushed the score to 5-1 and hope of a comeback began to fade from the Czech Republic players. Having dominated long stretches of play, Turkey saw the match out to take a comfortable three points.

Goals: 1-0: Baris, min. 10 (1); 2-0: Cem Keskin, min. 6 (2); 2-1: Andy, min. 7 (3); 3-1: Baris, min. 7 (3); 4-1: Cem Keskin, min. 5 (3); 5-1: Akbal, min. 1 (3);

 

Kazakhstan vs Germany 

The German National Beach Soccer Team needed an extra gear to see off a spirited Kazakhstan side and keep fighting for a 9th place finish at the World Beach Games - Europe Qualifier Salou 2019. 

Despite the ticket to the World Beach Games already being out of reach, both teams brought a truly competitive and aggressive performance, which made for an exciting beach soccer fight for the neutral to watch.  

Germany knew that they were facing a tough team, as Kazakhstan already proved how hard a team they are to break down in the last Promotion Final 2018. Both sides sat back during the first period, not willing to make themselves vulnerable, and that resulted in a goalless period. 

But things changed in the second stage, in which, despite Franz's opener for the Germans, Kazakhstan would grasp the lead thanks to Muralinov and Azhikenov.

Germany needed to react, and so they did in the third period, when a three-goal run turned the score around. Sven Korner balanced things up with a free kick right at the beginning of the period, and, five minutes later, swept the Mannschaft ahead. 

Kazakhstan fought for a new equalizer, only to find, another blow from the German number 20, Metzler, who took the final score to 4-2 for Germany.

Goals: 0-1: Franz, min. 5 (2); 1-1: Muralinov, min. 2 (2); 2-1: Azhikenov, min. 1 (2); 2-2: Korner, min. 11 (3); 2-3: Korner, min. 6 (3); 2-4: Metzler, min. 2 (3)

 

Norway vs Azerbaijan 

Hopes of playing at the World Beach Games in San Diego had been shattered the previous day for both of these teams, but you wouldn’t have thought that this was simply a play-off game as the match maintained a high tempo throughout.

Having said that, it was surprisingly low-scoring. Azerbaijan spent much of the opening 12 minutes bombarding the Norwegian defense but failed to break it down until the very last minute, and the goal came from a less likely source, as the keeper Elchin blasted the Azerbaijanis ahead from his own penalty area.

The men in blue looked the more likely of the two sides to score again, but half way through the second period Henrick Salveson levelled things up for the Scandinavians.

Just a minute later Norway snatched the lead, when the other Salveson, Johan, powered in a second. 

The game was tight, and made even tighter when Elchin struck again to make it 2-2; two goals isn’t a bad tally for a goalkeeper! With time running out, the game was there to be nicked by either team.

And was nicked in dramatic fashion it was, by Azerbaijan, with just 18 seconds on the clock, when Jomard saw an opportunity to poke home to deny the Norwegians extra time. 

Goals: 0-1: Elchin, min. 0 (1); 1-1: H. Salveson, min. 6 (2); 2-1: Salveson, min. 5 (2); 2-2: Elchin, min. 9 (3); 2-3: Jomard, min. 0 (3);

 

WOMEN

 

Switzerland vs Czech Republic 

Switzerland had taken an impressive 2-0 win over the European champions, Russia, yesterday and had three points going into this match. However, Czech Republic had beaten England by eight goals to four and were also on three points.

The winner of this match would go top of the group, and it was the Swiss who showed the initial desire, as Meyer struck a long-range shot to open the scoring. She then hit a beautifully curled volley with the outside of the foot to double the advantage.

But with five minutes of the period to go, Sladka, between the Czech posts, blasted a rocket from her own area to reduce the difference to just one. Then Folprechtove beat Meyer in a foot race to slide a low finish home and level the game up before the whistle.

The action showed no signs of slowing down in the second period, as Culova nosed the Czechs ahead but Switzerland had an answer almost immediately through Morger and then Pluss pulled off a nice bicycle kick to put the ladies in white back in control, and still they pressed for another.

A fifth came as Morger grabbed her brace by poking the ball past the oncoming Sladka – 5-3 to Switzerland! Not long after, Meyer hit a freekick from distance which struck the bar then, in a stroke of good luck, hit the back of Sladka in the Czech goal and bounced over the line. But there was still time before the final period for Morger to deflect a cross over the line to make it seven.

The goals kept coming as the match moved into the last stage of play, including a spinning volley by Kuffer from inside her own half. Switzerland’s advantage grew to 9-4 and time ticked cruelly away from Czech Republic until the final whistle blew and the ladies from Switzerland, now in a very strong position in terms of qualification to the World Beach Games in San Diego, celebrated their hard-fought three points.

Goals: 1-0: Meyer, min. 10 (1); 2-0: Meyer, min. 9 (1); 2-1: Sladka, min. 5 (1); 2-2: Folprechtove, min. 2 (1); 2-3: Culova, min. 10 (2); 3-3: Morger, min. 9 (2); 4-3: Pluss, min. 5 (2); 5-3: Morger, min. 3 (2); 6-3: Meyer, min. 1 (2); 7-3: Morger, min. 0 (2); 7-4: Pilouskova, min. 11 (3); 8-4: Gruter, min. 9 (3); 9-4: Kuffer, min. 7 (3);

 

Spain vs Russia 

Spain had missed out on their first opportunity to pick up points in their home event here in Salou, when they failed to convert a penalty in a shootout against England on Thursday.

La Roja were in need of points against the European champions today, but it was Russia to drew first blood when Ivashinka found the back of the net after 5 minutes. Spain did their best to get back on level terms but let several prime chances slip through their fingers.

The first whistle sounded with Russia’s very slim lead still intact, but as the match approached the midway point, Spain increased the pressure and eventually the breakthrough came when Lorena found herself in a one-on-one situation against Akylbaeva, and she lifted the ball past the Russian keeper to level up.

Just when it looked as if the sides would go into the second break on level terms, Zaitseva found a gap in the defense to nudge Russia ahead once more.

The match was tight and it became even tighter when Miron squeeze in an equalizer with just one minute on the clock to force extra time. Not winning in normal time and taking all three points wasn’t an ideal situation for either side, as every point is precious in such a competitive group.

The only option was to go for an added time winner and take two points. Tt was Russia who did just that, and clinched the victory with Ivashinka’s second goal of the game. The heartbroken hosts are now bottom of the group, and only a miracle will see them make it to the World Beach Games in San Diego, while Russia are right behind Switzerland in pole position.

Goals: 0-1: Ivashinka, min. 7 (1); 1-1: Lorena, min. 7 (2); 1-2: Zaitseva, min. 1 (2); 2-2: Miron, min. 1 (3); 2-3: Ivashinka, min. 1 (ET);

 

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.

 

 

RESULTS & SCHEDULE
August 16, 2019 - August 18, 2019
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Division A
Team P W W+ L GF GA GD PTS
Italy ITA 3 2 1 0 13 9 4 7
Belarus BLR 3 2 0 1 9 5 4 6
Germany GER 3 0 1 2 13 15 -2 1
France FRA 3 0 0 3 11 17 -6 0
Division B
Team P W W+ L GF GA GD PTS
Hungary HUN 3 2 1 0 14 8 6 8
Estonia EST 3 2 0 1 17 14 3 6
Lithuania LTU 3 1 0 2 13 12 1 3
Moldova MOL 3 0 0 3 6 16 -10 0
Division B - Group 1
Team P W W+ L GF GA GD PTS
Greece GRE 3 3 0 0 11 5 6 9
Romania ROM 3 2 0 1 12 7 5 6
Finland FIN 3 1 0 2 10 12 -2 3
Serbia SRB 3 0 0 3 0 9 -9 0
Division B - Group 2
Team P W W+ L GF GA GD PTS
Czechrep CZE 3 2 1 0 11 8 3 7
Kazakhstan KAZ 3 2 0 1 14 10 4 6
England ENG 3 1 0 2 8 12 -4 3
Netherlands NED 3 0 0 3 13 16 -3 0
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