The Promotion Final and Superfinal came down to the last possible seconds and kicks with Estonia and Ukraine falling just short
Portugal scores in last millisecond for stunning Superfinal championship
The 5-4 win for Portugal over Ukraine was unpredictable and could not be settled in regulation, with both teams refusing to quit or lose. The match went back and forth with momentum going from one bench and side of the pitch to the other. With the glow of the moon in the background, it was a last possible second goal that illuminated the final match on the final day in Estonia. The Jose Maria goal gave the Portuguese the European title and they, like Russia in 2013, now hold the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, won on their home soil, and the Euro Beach Soccer League crown. The loss was devastating for Ukraine as they have never won the Euro Beach Soccer League and were ever so close, but the second place finish was the best they have finished in the EBSL.
On paper Ukraine could very well be considered the favourites coming into this match, but in the hardware cabinet, especially as of recently, Portugal would be considered the favourites but the beauty of beach soccer is that the sand plays no favourites. The beach can be a cruel mistress, yes, but it never takes a side. The Ukrainians and the Portuguese knew this but it was the Blue and Yellows who drew first blood and looked like they have fortune on their side, thanks to an early goal from Voitok. The one-goal difference stood until the very last second when Jose Maria ripped a shot past the Ukrainian keeper to tie the score at 1 going into the first break. Ukraine found another gear and another goal when they struck in the first minute of the second period but things settled and the score remained 2-1 until the final minute in the period when Borsuk I. scored his first of the game to put the Ukrainians up 3-1 going into the final break.
Having championship mettle coursing through your veins can do wonders for a team and their psyche and that was evident as Portugal did not having, having just won the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup and the goals began coming for them as they netted their second and third goals, early in the frame to tie matters at 3-3. Ukraine did not seem panicked but they were not able to find much space, due in part because the Portuguese were so amped up with their own energy, stemming from the comeback. The score did not change going into the final minutes and the two sides were in a 3-3 deadlock and both looking for what seemed like could be the winner. Jose Maria scored his second goal of the day and it could not have come at a better time as he found a little space to give his side the 4-3 lead with just over a minute left in the match. The excitement just started there as a last second penalty was given to Borsuk A. who nailed the shot to send the game into overtime, or so everyone thought. There was one hat-trick and it came at the last possible moment when Jose Maria headed in a shot for Portugal as the buzzer sounded, making the Portuguese side champions of Europe.
Goals: 1-0: Voitok, min. 7 (1); 1-1: Jose Maria, min. 0 (1); 2-1: Borsuk A., min. 11 (2); 3-1: Borsuk I., min. 0 (2); 3-2: Belchior, min. 10 (3); 3-3: Be Martins, min. 8 (3); 3-4: Jose Maria, min. 1 (3); 4-4: Borsuk A., min. 0 (3); 4-5: Jose Maria, min. 0 (3).
Romania outduels Estonia in penalties for Promotion Final title
The 6(2)-6(3) (pso) win for Romania over Estonia in the Promotion Final was a game that will be remembered for years to come. It was defensive at times with spectacular blocks and saves, offensive with direct kicks, headers, and bicycles, and that is without even mentioning the physicality, intensity, and back-and-forth ties and leads, fueling the drama. Each side held the lead, lost it, tied the game, got the lead back, and this pattern continued throughout. The game was just as dramatic at the kick-off as it was at the end when late goals sent the match into overtime and then a one-save penalty shoot-out. The victory sends Romania back to Division A where they have played before and the loss leaves Estonia as the 2nd best team out of the best 8 teams in all of Europe in Division B.
Estonia was not shocked at all by the spotlight and they relished in it, entertaining the crowd and all their supporters in the opening minutes of the all-important Promotion Final. It was Anton who scored first, on a precise header, which put the hosts ahead by a score of 1-0 early in the match. Less than a minute later, the Estonians added to their lead thanks to a goal from Truusalu, which erupted the crowd and energized his team. The Romanians have a very renowned goalscorer in Maci and it was no surprise when he netted his teams’ first and only goal of the frame, leaving the score at 2-1 for Estonia going into the first break. Romania only needed a few minutes into the middle frame to get the equalizer, and they got it from Maci, but that leveling score did not stand for long as Truusalu netted his second goal, and in the same minute, to give the Blues a 3-2 advantage. The proclivity for late goals and drama continued as Romania scored their third goal just past the midway point of the match and the game looked to be headed to the 3rd period tied at 3 but instead, Teino scored to put his side up 4-3 going into the final break.
Romania faced a deficit going into the final period but it was a small one and they did not panic, which is hard to do when you have Maci on your side and his focus helped him score his third of the day and his teams’ fourth with which the Tricolorii tied the score at 4-4 early in the frame. The sides refused to quit or let anything get them down and another exchange of goals left the score at 5-5 going into the heart of the period. Physical play took a front seat as the sides began to see the finish line and what or rather who was in their way. That did not stop the finesse goals from coming and Maeorg gave his side the lead yet again, and this time the Estonians hoped to keep it. The hosts could not hang onto this lead either and the Romanians scored on a free kick, the fourth goal of the match for Maci, to settle the score at 6-6, which is how the first three periods would end. The match then headed to overtime with everything on the line in the 3 minute extra period. Romania controlled the overtime but a goal was not to be found and the spot in Division A came down to penalties. From the 9 meters distance, the Carpathians stayed perfect and clinched the Division A license back.
Goals: 1-0: Anton, min. 7 (1); 2-0: Truusalu, min. 7 (1); 2-1: Maci, min. 1 (1); 2-2: Maci, min. 8 (2); 3-2: Truusalu, min. 8 (2); 3-3: Raj, min. 4 (2); 4-3: Teino, min. 1 (2); 4-4: Maci, min. 10 (3); 5-4: Saharov, min. 7 (3); 5-5: I. Poste, min. 6 (3); 6-5: Maeorg, min. 5 (3); 6-6: Maci, min. 1 (3).
Penalties: Raku: Saved; Maci: Goal; Truusalu: Goal; Dobre: Goal; Saharov: Goal; I. Poste: Goal.
Russia continues to have Spain’s number and earns 3rd
The 6-3 win for Russia over Spain was another great match in a long line of classics that the two rivals have taken part in over the past few years. Russia has seemed to be one step ahead of Spain in most of the encounters and the Spaniards fought hard and hung with Russia but they could not get behind the defense enough to score more goals. Spain looked to have solved the Russian puzzle when they scored the first goal but it did not last as the Russians slowly began to pull away. The win gives Russia another win over Spain, to go along with a FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Finals victory and a Euro Beach Soccer League Superfinal. Russia also finished 3rd in this years’ Euro season after winning the Superfinal in the previous two years. Spain may be disappointed with this match result but they finished the season as the 4th best team in Europe.
Russia and Spain are no strangers and definitely not in finals, and while this match was not a Final, it was important and would determine the 3rd best team in Europe, and the opening minutes were of championship calibre. The sides used to opening minutes to get a feel for the pace and strategy of each other, but the goals did come, only late in the period. With the period winding down, R. Merida made sure to give the La Roja their first lead on the day but the two-time FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Champions replied with a goal of their own, from Paporotnyi to tie the score at 1-1. Krash gave his Russian side their first lead in the final minute of the frame, and put the score at 2-1 going into the first break. Spain was not going to relax and a goal by Pajon in the first minute of the middle frame proved just that, leaving the score at 2-2. The Big Red Beach Machine then turned up the energy and scored the next two goals, putting the score at 4-2 but Spain notched the final tally of the period, leaving the Russians only ahead by one goal, 4-3, going into the last frame.
Russia continued their push towards 3rd and they did not let up, but lucky for Spain, their goalies were playing exceptionally well and kept the score close, but every shot could not be stopped and Romanov scored his second of the day to give the Russians a 5-3 lead late in the period. Russia added another goal, on a strike from Shaikov that put the score at 6-3. Spain scrambled for another score to inch closer to a comeback but the Russian backline, as is almost always the case, was too stout and did not make it easy. When the buzzer went off, it was the Russians who were up by a score of 6-3.
Goals: 0-1: R. Merida, min. 4 (1); 1-1: Paporotnyi, min. 4 (1); 2-1: Krash, min. 0 (1); 2-2: Pajon, min. 11 (2); 3-2: Makarov, min. 8 (2); 4-2: Romanov, min. 5 (2); 4-3: Antonio, min. 3 (2); 5-3: Romanov, min. 5 (3); 6-3: Shaikov, min. 3 (3).
The Czech Republic finishes in 3rd after penalties thriller
The 2(2)-2(3) penalties win for the Czech Republic over England embodied the rivalry that has been fueled each and every year. England started the scoring first but an equalizer was found by the Czechs, who turned the one goal disadvantage into one goal advantage before England tied things up and were it not for two shots striking the goal posts in the final minute, the game would have finished in regulation. The win gives the Czech Republic 3rd Place in the Division B Promotion Final while England had the shot the win every match, they finish as the fourth best team in Division B, which will be a great building block for them going forward.
England and the Czech Republic both came very close to playing in the Promotion Final but the 3rd Place Match began like a championship would, with some sound defense and the kind of energy that is expected in beach soccer now. In addition to the fast-pace, the two teams knew each other very very well after a number of Division B and classic European clashes over the past few years. The familiarity helped to contribute to the defensive battle, as they knew each others’ moves and tactics. The English scored first and Temple’s goal looked to be enough for the Three Lions to take a 1-0 lead into the break, but Salak scored on flick header with under 10 seconds left in the period, to knot things at 1 going into the second period. The next 12 minutes were a game of cat and mouse, with both sides trying to control the ball and possession while searching for the perfect spot and time to attack. The strategy was working a little better for the English until the final minutes of the frame, when Salak connected on a penalty kick for his second goal, to put the score at 2
-1 for the Czechs. The lead lasted most of the period but Temple scored his second goal, and in the last minute to put the score at 2-2 with one period left.
There was nothing to separate the teams going into the final period and both squads were not willing to budge. England was not controlling the ball like they were earlier, but the Czechs were not able to find very much open space either and the score stayed at 2-2 going into the final minutes of the game. England and the Czechs had played in plenty of overtime matches and they did not care how they got the win, but the English were very aggressive in the final moments of the match but it did not provide a goal and the game headed into the extra frame tied at 2. The overtime went by quickly and neither side hit the back of the onion bag and the game went into the all-deciding penalty kicks.
Goals: 1-0: Temple, min. 10 (1); 1-1: Salak, min. 0 (1); 1-2: Salak, min, 3 (2); 2-2: Temple, min. 0 (2).
Penalties: Chalupa: Goal; Evans: Goal; Hurab: Goal; Lawson: Goal; Salak: Goal; Morris: Miss.
The highest-scoring EBSL game ever gives Italy 5th
In what became the highest-scoring EBSL game ever, The 15-10 win for Italy over Switzerland had more goals than either side knew what to do with, but all of the hat-tricks and splendid goals made for a happy crowd and fans everywhere. Stankovic scored four for the Swiss, Ott had a hat-trick, and Gori had four more goals for the Italians with his teammates Corosiniti and Platania adding three more of their own, all helping to comprise the 25 total goals. The win gives Italy their third win in four games and leaves them as the 5th best team in Europe. The loss had its good and bad things for the Swiss, but despite the loss, Switzerland found their offensive form with the 10 goals and they finished as the 6th best team in the Superfinal.
Italy and Switzerland both came into the match with some injuries and were coming off losses in their final group stage but they came into this match with as much desire to win as any team. The Italians used the first period to build their lead and show the Swiss side what they were going to do on offense and defense, and it worked to perfection as they built a 3-1 lead going into the first break. Things stayed the same for the Italians in the middle period as they scored first in the period to push the lead to three goals at 4-1. That is when things changed for the Swiss as they began playing with the offensive strength that they are known for and it was the Swiss Bomber who scored his second and third goals of the day to pull his side to within one goal, at 6-5, after Gori scored, leaving Italy at six goal. As if the Azzurri could sense the game getting away from them, they relied on Gori to score his third goal and push the score to 7-5. The 12 goals would not be all in the second period as Ott scored his second on the day to settle the score at 7-6 for Italy going into the last break.
Excitement and goals dominated the second period and the third began with even more goals, including four before the first two minutes had passed, including three by Italy, very effectively pushing their lead to three goals again, now at 10-7. The Swiss are almost always good for seven goals but even by their standards, this match was becoming a barn-burner and La Nati were able to stay close, always within four goals and the mentality was that no deficit was insurmountable. However, it was the Italians who came through with just enough stops to hang on for the 15-10 win.
Goals: 1-0: Corosiniti, min. 8 (1); 1-1: Stankovic, min. 4 (1); 2-1: Palazzolo, min. 3 (1); 3-1: Platania, min. 1 (1); 4-1: Marrucci, min. 11 (2); 4-2: Stankovic, min. 10 (2); 5-2: Gori, min. 9 (2); 6-2: Gori, min. 8 (2); 6-3: Ott, min. 8 (2); 6-4: Mo, min. 6 (2); 6-5: Stankovic, min. 1 (2); 7-5: Gori, min. 1 (2); 7-6: Ott, min. 0 (2); 8-6: Palazzolo, min. 10 (3); 9-6: Ramacciotti, min. 10 (3); 9-7: Denz, min. 10 (3); 10-7: Platania, min. 10 (3); 11-7: Corosiniti, min. 8 (3); 11-8: Ott, min. 7 (3); 11-9: Stankovic, min. 7 (3; 12-9: Zurlo, min. 5 (3); 13-9: Gori, min. 3 (3); 13-10: Schirinizi, min. 2 (3); 14-10: Corosiniti, min. 1 (3); 15-10: Platania, min. 0 (3).
France rights ship and earns 7th Place in Superfinal
The 3-2 win for France over Belarus was a great conclusion to the event for the French and it was a tale of what could have been as they showed an opportunistic offense to go along with a sturdy defense. The defensive feat was no small accomplishment as Belarus is always full of scorers but the French Selection was able to quiet them and pull away late, keeping a safe goal cushion until the last whistle was blown. The win gives France their first win on the weekend and puts them as the 7th best team in Europe. Belarus was hard-done in every match but they can hang their heads high after finishing in 8th Place in the Superfinal, Europe’s premier beach soccer event.
Division A is a collection of the best teams in Europe and even qualifying for the Superfinal is nothing to scoff at, plus the Old Continent can be considered one of the best continents in beach soccer, so this 7th Place Superfinal match had a great feel and excitement surrounding it. France was the first team to strike as a blast from Marques got past everyone and gave Les Bleus the early 1-0 lead. Belarus had many chances and as the period went on, they grew stronger, putting the French on the defensive for much of the frame but they could not find the equalizer and the game went into the second period with France up 1-0. The middle frame was played at a more start-and-stop pace, but that suited the leaders just fine and in fact, it was Barbotti of France that added to his teams’ lead, putting the French up 2-0 going into the last period.
Belarus has some of the most respected scorers in the game today, not to mention a tough back-line and goalie core so they are almost never out of a match. Bryshtsel, an amazing striker, needed only a few inches to separate himself from a French defender score a spectacular bicycle kick goal to get the Belarusians to within one goal at 2-1. France showed their nerves and countered with their third goal, to push the lead back to two goals and set the score at 3-1 going into the last minutes of the match. Les Bleus were able to hang on until the final buzzer sounded, earning the 3-2 win.
Goals: 0-1: Marques, min. 5 (1); 0-2: Barbotti, min. 8 (2); 1-2: Bryshtsel, min. 8 (3); 1-3: Tillet, min. 6 (3); 2-3: Bryshtsel, min. 0 (3).
Hungary bounces back for 5th Place Promotion Final finish
The 4-2 win for Hungary over Azerbaijan was a match with penalty goals, great teamwork and plenty of dramatics. The game started with the ones from the Land of Fire striking first and the Hungarians firing back, in the second period, but in the same manner, creating an aura that both sides were level and playing the same type of game. Hungary broke the tie when they jumped ahead by two goals, but they were forced to watch the disadvantage being cut in half. The Hungarians were unflappable and regained their lead and were able to eventually claim the victory. The win gives Hungary 5th place in the Promotion Final after they nearly qualified and maintained their Division A status but they will build on this event for the 2016 season.
The two teams who had been consistently playing against and occasionally defeating Division A teams over the course of the last two seasons found themselves in a tight battle for 5th Place in the Promotion Final and their intensity was almost palpable. The quality of play was a reflection of their pride in how they play and while the goals did not flow early, their movements, from both teams, were decisive and fluid. The first goal came on a penalty kick given to Asif and the Azerbaijani midfielder did not miss, giving his side the 1-0 lead. The lone goal was enough to secure the 1-0 advantage for Azerbaijan going into the first break. Both National Selections were not budging an inch and the first goal for the Hungarians came in the same fashion that Azerbaijan’s did, a penalty kick following a hand-ball in the penalty area, and that put the score at 1-1 going into the heart of the match. The Golden Team built on that first goal and near the middle of the match they added their second goal, and then a goal in the last second of the period gave them a 3-1 lead going into the final period.
Azerbaijan has plenty of experience in moments like this, and facing a two goal deficit was not a new sensation and they knew that a comeback was possible, especially with their talented goal scorers. The Azerbaijani built their confidence with another goal, this one from Namik, which put the score at 3-2 early in the final frame. Hungary was not about to be outdone but their opponents and Simonyi scored his second of the day, putting the score at 4-2 still early in the period. The frenzy for more goals was evident but neither side was able to secure more goals and the match ended with Hungary up by a score of 4-2.
Goals: 0-1: Asif, min. 7 (1); 1-1: Simonyi, min. 11 (2); 2-1: Abel, min. 5 (2); 3-1: Gulyas, min. 0 (2); 3-2: Namik, min. 10 (3); 4-2: Simonyi, min. 8 (3).
Turkey unstoppable in 7th Place Promotion Final Match
The 9-4 win for Turkey over Norway was a slow-starter, as the eventual winners only found two first period goals, but at the same time, they did not allow any first period goals. Then in the second period, the offenses exploded, Norway scored twice and Turkey scored five more times. The big period opened things up for Turkey but the scoring could not continue at that pace and slowed in the final period, though there were the exciting goals and saves that are customary in Turkish and Norwegian matches. The win gives Turkey their second win of the event and gives them 7th Place in the Division B Promotion Final. Norway was unable to secure a win over the weekend but they are proud to have qualified as one of the best eight Division B teams and to have fought tough in every match.
The two sides had higher hopes than 7th place but if there was any disappointment on this championship Sunday, it did not show. Both squads were striking with as much purpose and force as ever, but it was the Turkish side that got the first bites of the apple, as Seyit scored the only two goals in the frame and the Crescent Stars took the 2-0 lead into the first break. The second period began with even more goals and it was Norway who first struck, cutting the Turkish lead in half, leaving the score at 2-1, but Turkey would quickly answer. First it was Adil and then Recep that scored to push the lead to 4-1, with a little over half of the match still to go. In the final minutes of the frame it was Baris who joined in on the Turkish goal scoring spree, putting the score at 5-1 to the good. When the period came to an end, it was Turkey up by a score of 7-2.
Goals, goals, and more goals was the theme of this match, with Turkey adding to their lead but a couple more goals from Norway made things interesting. The Norwegians may have been down by seven goals, but crazier things have happened in beach soccer than a comeback like that. The score sat at 9-4 going into the final minutes of the match and while the comeback was falling short, the two teams were growing more and more powerful and confident. The quality of play really leveled out and if it were not for the porous defense played by Norway in the middle frame, the outcome could have been very different but when the final whistle sounded, the score was 9-4 for Turkey.
Goals: 0-1: Seyit, min. 6 (1); 0-2: Seyit, min. 1 (1); 1-2: Senja, min. 11 (2); 1-3: Adil, min. 11 (2); 1-4: Recep, min. 8 (2); 1-5: Baris, min. 4 (2); 2-5: Jacobsen, min. 4 (2); 2-6: Yucel, min. 2 (2); 2-7: Akbal, min. 0 (2); 2-8: Yucel, min. 9 (3); 2-9: Recep, min. 6 (3); 3-9: Jacobsen, min. 5 (3); 4-9: Senja, min. 4 (3).
EURO BEACH SOCCER LEAGUE 2015 SUPERFINAL AND PROMOTION FINAL PÄRNU
10.15 – Norway 4-9 Turkey (Promotion Final 7th Place)
11.30 – Hungary 4-2 Azerbaijan (Promotion Final 5th Place)
12.45 – Belarus 2-3 France Group 2 (Superfinal 7th Place)
14.00 – Italy 15-10 Switzerland (Superfinal 5th Place)
15.15 – England 2(2)-2(3) (pso) Czech Republic (Promotion Final 3rd Place)
16.30 – Spain 3-6 Russia (Superfinal 3rd Place)
17.45 – Estonia 6(2)-6(3) Romania (Promotion Final)
19.00 – Ukraine 4-5 Portugal (Superfinal)
Individual Award Winners:
Best Goalkeeper – Andrade (POR)
Top-Scorer – Stankovic (SUI)
MVP – Borsuk I. (UKR
Winner – Portugal
Runner-up – Ukraine
3rd – Russia
4th – Spain
Winner – Romania
Runner-up – Estonia
3rd – Czech Republic
4th – England