The bronze medal will be decided between Morocco and Egypt
With the exciting third matchday, the group stage was completed and the pairs of the final phase of the beach soccer tournament of the 3rd Mediterranean Coastal Games “Heraklion 2023” were formed.
Portugal will face Spain at the final of the tournament, in the Iberian Peninsula derby, tomorrow, Tuesday 12 September. On the same day, Morocco and Egypt will be competing for the bronze medal in a match with an African flavour.
From the first group, Spain carried on their winning record in the competition as they beat Greece 5-1, who finished the tournament without a win, finishing in the last seventh place.
“We made 3/3 and now we are aiming to win the gold medal. Tomorrow’s final against Portugal will have a European colour and is expected to provide a great show for the fans watching,” said Spanish coach Christian Mendez Lacarcel.
On the other side, Michael Lympousis commented “we have gained experience and we want to be getting better as a team. We didn’t come to the competition completely prepared. Our goal is to stay in the top division of Europe at the Sardinia tournament (September 17-25)”.
The game that decided the second place in the group, leading to the minor final and the bronze medal claim, witnessed Morocco scoring two goals in the last 12 minutes to beat France 2-0. «Les bleus» will face Italy for the fifth place in the competition.
Moroccan footballer, Aminé El Bidouri, after the match referred to the improvement his country has made in beach soccer, saying “it was a great victory for us. The match was ” tight ” against a good European team. Now we will claim the bronze medal, which we would like to be awarded in order to dedicate it to the victims of the earthquake that hit our country”.
France goalkeeper Jermaine Salazar was disappointed saying “we tried, but we didn’t make it. The match was decided in the details. We now have the last game of the tournament ahead of us and we want to leave Crete with a victory”.
In the best match of the tournament so far, Portugal beat Italy 5-4 on penalties (3-3 in regulation and 4-4 in overtime) to qualify for the final from Group 2. The Azzurri, who had won the gold medal in Pescara (2015) and Patras (2019) after suffering two defeats, were out of the medal race, finishing third in Group B.
“We’re going for gold,” Portugal captain Bruno Torres said after the match. “The game was exciting and I’m glad we made it to the final.”
For his part, Italy’s goalkeeper, Leandro Casapieri, said in his remarks that “we are a young team and we wanted a distinction in the games. Unfortunately we could not defend the titles we won in the two previous competitions”.
Saturday 9 September
Morocco 2-7 Spain
France 8-1 Greece
Egypt 3-2 Italy
Sunday 10 September
Spain 2-1 France
Greece 3-11 Morocco
Portugal *5-3 Egypt *(After Extra Time)
Monday 11 September
Morocco 2-0 France
Greece 1-5 Spain
Portugal (5)4-4(4) Italy
Sunday 11 September
14:30h – France vs Italy
16:00h – Morocco vs Egypt
19:30h – Spain vs Portugal
Source/Photo: Mediterranean Games / heraklion23.gr