Ukraine and Switzerland used overtime to conquer Hungary and Spain while the Division B groups are still up for grabs also
Ukraine scraps way to hard-fought OT win
The 5-4 OT win for Ukraine looked like it would be a blowout for Hungary, but then it seemed like it would only be a tight win, then all-of-a-sudden the Ukrainians avoided a penalty shootout and came out victorious in the extra frame. Ukraine earns two points with the overtime victory, but things are as tight as ever in the group as the other group leader only secured the two overtime points as well. This means that the next two days are of the utmost importance for all teams. The hosts will take on Switzerland, a team also looking for a full three points, on Saturday. Ukraine cannot rest on the big comeback victory, they must face a very tough and determined Spanish side on Saturday.
The packed crowed helped their home team and were more than ecstatic to oblige as they went wild when Turos scored first for the Golden Team, leaving the Ukrainians on their heels, 0-1. The hosts wee not done yet in the period, as they continued to play with a fire and edge that had not been seen today. Their energy created their second goal, this one from Simonyi, which put the score at 2-0, and that is how the period would end. Hungary continued to play very physical in the middle frame, but the Blue and Yellows still had their scorers and netted their first goal on a strike from Voitenko that put the score at 2-1 for the Hungarians. The next goal was a highlight worthy gem as Turos not only scored his second, and restored the teams’ confidence and momentum, but it also showed the kind of intensity and drive that pushes teams to win. Turos found an opening, had his shot brilliantly saved, but then he followed up his miss with an amazing scissor kick that sliced through two Ukrainians.
Ukraine has seen disadvantages before and this deficit did not faze them and they scored first in the closing frame to pull pack to within one goal at 3-2. The Hungarians found their own momentum gaining goal, once again, but Ukraine was far from finished as they rattled off two more goals to tie the game in the final minutes by a score of 4-4. The remainder of the period was just as exciting but the teams could not decide a winner in regulation and the game went into a three minute extra frame. The overtime raced by, but a last minute goal meant that Ukraine avoided penalties, while Hungary was left wanting. When the final whistle sounded, the score was 5-4 for Ukraine.
Goals: 0-1: Turos, min. 10 (1); 0-2: Simonyi, min. 2 (1); 1-2: Voitok, min. 11 (2); 1-3: Turos, min. 7 (2); 2-3: Zborovskyi, min. 11 (3); 2-4: Simonyi, min. 6 (3); 3-4: Korniichuk, min. 5 (3); 4-4: Voitok, min. 3 (3); 5-4: Pachev, min. 0 (et).
Switzerland victorious after roller coaster OT battle
The 6-5 overtime win for Switzerland over Spain was a match for the ages. Both sides did not perform as well as they would have liked at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Portugal 2015 but if both sides played like they had today, things would have been much different. It was the definition of back-and-forth, with the teams exchanging goal-for-goal until the last period, when Switzerland took their first lead. Even that flip in the script did not deter Spain as they played comeback just as well and sent the match into overtime. In the extra frame, it was the Swiss who scored in the final minute, not giving the Spanish enough time to come back. The overtime triumph gives Switzerland 2 points and they will hope to secure a full 3 points on Saturday against Hungary. Spain still will have every opportunity to advance to the Superfinal but they must start with a victory against Ukraine on Saturday.
Excitement does not begin to describe the opening seconds of this match. Both sides had scored within the first 31 seconds, making the score 1-1 before anyone had a chance to blink. Spain struck first to shock the Swiss, but it was then the Spanish who were in awe as a penalty kick goal from Stankovic leveled things again, however, now at 1 goal apiece. The proceedings continued without a goal, but it was La Furia Roja who were in control, however, going into the final minutes of the first frame, they had not been able to capitalize on their ball control. The missed chances for both sides added up and the period ended with the score 1-1. The middle frame was like a pinball machine that you are not playing but you watch the ball go up and down the machine scoring points with little or no effort. The two sides score three goals each, six total goals, leaving the score at 4-4 going into the middle frame.
The final frame was a sample of the opening periods as there were some goals like in the first, but not as many as the second, however, the drama and tension was elevated like in the middle frame. La Nati took their first lead of the match early in the third period and that only pushed the Spanish harder and they rallied, for the first time on the day, to tie matters, now at 5-5. The game headed into the final minute with the same score and both sides were scrambling at a break-neck speed in search of the deciding goal, but it could not be found in regulation and the game headed to overtime tied at 5. Overtime was controlled by Switzerland and looked like they were going to score on a number of chances but Spain could not hold on forever and Spacca scored on a late free kick, in the final minute of the extra frame, to give Switzerland the 6-5 win.
Goals: 1-0: Juanma, min. 11 (1); 1-1: Stankovic, min. 11 (1); 2-1: Antonio, min. 9 (2); 2-2: Stankovic, min. 8 (2); 3-2: Llorenç, min. 8 (2); 3-3: Ott, min. 7 (2); 4-3: R. Merida, min. 7 (2); 4-4: Ott, min. 6 (2); 4-5: Spacca, min. 7 (3); 5-5: Llorenç, min. 3 (3); 5-6: Spacca, min. 0 (et).
Azerbaijan wins big with 3rd period push
The 6-2 win for Azerbaijan had plenty of sides and stories to tell but the most importance was that it was a win for Azerbaijan. There was offense, defense, a comeback, and strong finish. Romania fought the entire match but their hot start, going up 1-0 while shutting down the Azerbaijani gave way to huge finish from Azerbaijan, as they clamped down and turned a middle frame tie into a big late lead. The win leaves Azerbaijan in a tie for first place in the group with England, in Division B, going into their second match on Saturday, against Moldova. Romania is not out of the running for the Promotion Final, but they will need a win against England on Saturday.
Romania was the early aggressor and the early attacks paid off with an early goal from Maci, but it was in the opening minute of the opening frame, and it was far too early to write-off the Azerbaijani. The Azerbaijan squad has gained so much top-flight experience recently, in particular, with the European Games Baku 2015, so a simple 1-0 deficit was not too much of problem to overcome. A goal each from Sabir and Ramil proved to be the opening frames’ difference as the Land of Fire took a 2-1 lead into the middle frame. The second began the opposite of the opening period, where the teams took early chances and scored two quick goals. These 12 minutes began with defense and ended with a goal from the Romanians that knotted the score at 2-2 going into the final period.
Azerbaijan really turned up the heat in the last frame as they would not be deterred by the scrappy Romanian side. The Land of Fire scored twice before they even reached the midway point in the period. Romania did not have a chance to get their feet beneath them before Azerbaijan scored another two times, pushing the lead to its highest point, four goals, at 6-2. Romania had chances to attack and wanted desperately to get back into the match but they were not able to crack the Azerbaijani defense again and the match finished with a score of 6-2 for Azerbaijan.
Goals: 1-0: Maci, min. 11 (2); 1-1: Sabir, min. 7 (1); 1-2: Ramil, min. 3 (1); 2-2: Dobre, min. 1 (2); 3-2: Sabir, min. 7 (3); 4-2: Sabir, min. 7 (3); 5-2: Amid, min. 5 (3); 6-2: Ramil, min. 4 (3).
Turkey looks dominant after slow start
The 5-0 victory for Turkey over Andorra did not seem like it would turn out so many goals but the signature Turkish defense showed up to make things difficult for the Andorrans. The task was hard for Andorra coming into the match, as Turkey has a very efficient offense, but showing their defensive skill set, Turkey will be a formidable opponent for anyone. Neither team struck in the first period but the second period had Turkey explode for a handful of goals that could not be answered by the Andorrans. The win gives Turkey three points and keeps them in the Division B Group 2 lead with Norway going into their showdown with each other on Saturday. Andorra will need that early defensive magic to defeat their next opponent, the Czech Republic, on Saturday.
Much more was asked of the Andorran goalkeeper in the early going, while the Turkish keeper able to survey the field and make sure he was ready when they called his number. Neither goalie was forced to pick the ball out of the back of the net in the opening frame, in part because they were more than doing their job, but also because the teams’ defenses were playing at a very high level and limiting chances for their opposite numbers. The opening frame ended 0-0, making for an even tenser middle frame. A scoreless frame meant that goals would be flowing in the final periods and sure enough, the goals came, with Turkey netting the only three, giving them a 3-0 lead going into the last period.
Turkey wasted no time in putting the match, that much further out of reach for Andorra, when they scored an opening minute goal to take the 4-0 lead. Turkey was able to safely limit Andorra’s attacks, push the tempo themselves, all the while keeping Andorra off the scoreboard. Turkey was relentless on offense and defense and did not let up, so despite seeing a few chances, Turkey did not let Andorra really sniff the goal. When the final whistle sounded, Turkey had built the 5-0 lead and held on for their opening match win.
Goals: 0-1: Cem, min. 8 (2); 0-2: Volkan, min. 5 (2); 0-3: Baris, min. 3 (2); 0-4: Ardil, min. 11 (3); 0-5: Emrah, min. 8 (3).
England completes comeback for emotional victory
The 5-3 win for England did not start well for the English, but they made sure they finished on a high-note, on the highest note, with the three points. Moldova withstood an early possession monopoly by Three Lions but then the Moldovans pounced and scored the first two goals before England got on the board. Even after that Enlgish goal, Moldova tacked on another, but that would be the final goal for them, with England shutting them out for the rest of the way. The win gives England three points and the lead in Division B Group 1. The English will try for their second win against Romania on Saturday. Moldova still has a chance to qualify but they will need to close out Azerbaijan in their second match.
The Three Lions started proceedings with a sound tactic of controlling possession to try and wear down the Moldovan defense. The rhythm, tempo, and direction of the game were being controlled by the English but their game plan did not lead to any early goals and in fact, the Moldova squad were able to counter quite a bit but the score reflected no change, 0-0, going into the final minutes of the period. It was at that point when the Selecionata scored the first goal of the match, which gave them a 1-0 lead over England, which would double before the English scored on the restart, from Evans. Moldova added a late direct kick goal, to take a 3-1 advantage into the middle frame. Both sides exchanged shots and control of the ball but it was the Three Lions who scored first in the second period, on a strike and own rebound from Day. The goal drew the score to 3-2 for Moldova, which is how it would remain going into the final 12 minutes.
The second goal for England seemed to energize the side and they carried that over into the final frame when they scored first and early, this time from Temple, leaving the score tied at 3. The English saw their chances increase also, as their defense had clamped down since the opening period, holding Moldova without a goal for the second period, while still pitching a shutout in the final frame going into the last minutes. The momentum continued for England as they took their first lead on a splendid free kick from Lawson that rattled the frame before settling in the back of the net. Moldova was well aware of the situation and pushed their offense to find the equalizer but when all was said and done, England finished on top with a score of 5-3.
Goals: 0-1: Cotruta, min. 4 (1); 0-2: Negara, min. 2 (1); 1-2: Evans, min. 2 (1); 1-3: Podlesnov, min. 0 (1); 2-3: Day, min. 4 (2); 3-3: Temple, min. 9 (3); 4-3: Lawson, min. 3 (3); 5-3: Clarke, min. 1 (3).
Norway showcases high-powered offense in win
The 9-6 victory for Norway over the Czech Republic was a wonderful display of beach soccer, with scrappy goals, pretty bicycle kicks, and some defense stops and saves that would rival anything from the worlds’ best. Norway jumped out early and it looked as though the Czech Republic simply could not recover from the onslaught. The Czechs continued to fight and clawed their way back to within striking distance but it was too much to overcome and the Norwegians finished too strong. The win puts Norway in a great position to play in the Promotion Final in Estonia at the end of August. Norway will have to play just as well on Saturday to try and take down Turkey, in their second match. The Czech Republic may be disappointed in the final result but they scored six goals and played extremely well at times. The Czechs will next face Andorra on Saturday.
Ball control was unimportant to both squads as the match began, their focus was on getting shots on goal, which they both did plenty of, although the score remained level at 0 early on. Things then opened up, particularly for Norway as they netted two quick goal to give themselves a 2-0 lead going into the first break, although we it not for the goal posts and some spectacular saves, the score could have been much worse for the Czech Republic. The Norwegians continued to be the aggressor and were in the mood to score more goals, and the first of the period did come from Senja late in the frame, but despite the seconds winding down, a mountain of goals were scored and the third goal of the day for Salveson gave the Norweigans a 5-1 lead. The four goal lead was short-lived as the Czechs replied with their second goal, which left the score at 5-2 going into the final frame.
Norway did not want the match to end as they attacked and attacked and scored their sixth goal of the day early in the final period, pushing their lead back to four goals at 6-2. The Czech Republic could not be quieted that easily and they scored their third goal on a spectacular finish from their captain, Chalupa, putting the score at 6-3, heading into the heart of the frame. Both teams tried to highlight and show-off their offenses, which they more than did with the scoring of multiple goals and when the final whistle was blown, Norway held the 9-6 lead.
Goals: 0-1: Jacobsen, min. 6 (1); 0-2: Salveson, min. 4 (1); 0-3: Senja, min. 4 (2); 1-3: Radosta, min. 4 (2); 1-4: Salveson, min. 3 (2); 1-5: Salveson, min. 3 (2); 2-5: Mizar, min. 2 (2); 2-6: Salveson, min. 8 (3); 3-6: Chalupa, min. 6 (3); 3-7: Jacobsen, min. 5 (3); 3-8: Alex, min. 4 (3); 4-8: Vynhal, min. 3 (3); 5-8: Chalupa, min. 2 (3); 5-9: Senja, min. 2 (3); 6-9: Radosta, min. 0 (3).
EURO BEACH SOCCER LEAGUE 2015 SIÓFOK
12:15 – Czech Republic 6-9 Norway (Division B Group 2)
13:30 – England 5-3 Moldova (Division B Group 1)
14:45 – Andorra 0-5 Turkey (Division B Group 2)
16:00 – Romania 2-6 Azerbaijan (Division B Group 1)
17:15 – Spain 5-6 (aet) Switzerland (Division A)
18:30 – Ukraine 5-4 (aet) Hungary (Division A)
12:15 – Czech Republic vs Andorra (Division B Group 2)
13:30 – England vs Romania (Division B Group 1)
14:45 – Turkey vs Norway (Division B Group 2)
16:00 – Azerbaijan vs Moldova (Division B Group 1)
17:15 – Spain vs Ukraine (Division A)
18:30 – Switzerland vs Hungary (Division A)