The teams heading to the 2023 European Games were also decided on Saturday
– Switzerland and Portugal to contend EBSL 2022 title
– Ukraine, Azerbaijan and France reach European Games
– Leo Martins leads scoring with 12 goals
Switzerland will take on Portugal in the final of the 2022 Euro beach Soccer League Superfinal in Cagliari, as Mario Narciso’s men reach a fourth consecutive European championship final.
The Nati beat Spain thanks to hat-tricks from Hodel and keeper Eliott, while Portugal put eight past their Italian hosts.
Meanwhile, the eight teams competing in the 2023 European Games in Krakow have been decided: Poland (hosts), Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Italy, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova (winners of Division B).
In the fight for tenth, Estonia defeated Germany by three goals to one.
Portugal cruise past hosts to reach their 18th EBSL final
Portugal and Italy faced each other in a duel between the two most recent winners of the European title. The Portuguese aimed for a never-before seen fourth consecutive title, while the hosts wanted to relive the success of 2018 in front of their own fans.
Léo Martins gave the lead to the defending champions but keeper Leandro Casapieri equalised two minutes later, leaving both teams level until the end of the first period.
The deadlock wouldn’t be broken until halfway through the second period when Narciso’s men took the lead again through a set-piece by Miguel Pintado. Three minutes later Bê Martins managed to find the back of the net from the tightest of angles, making it 3-1 as the final 12 minutes began.
The two goals boosted Portugal’s confidence and a brace from Léo Martins and one from Coimbra in the first four minutes of the last period left the match practically settled at 5-1.
Remedi scored to make it 6-2 but Portugal’s superiority was confirmed by Pintado who restored the five-goal difference with five minutes to go.
Gori finally got his name on the scoresheet, but a cheeky goal from a direct corner gave Bê Martins a brace, and secured the 18th appearance in an EBSL final for Portugal at a canter.
The hosts will take on Spain for third in a replay of the 2018 final, while Portugal face Switzerland for the 2022 European crown.
Switzerland down Spain to reach EBSL final
The first semi-final of the day saw Spain and Switzerland take to the sands of Cagliari, both teams aiming to return to a final, which in case of La Roja last happened in 2018, while the Nati looked to repeat reaching the final in 2020.
A wonderful bicycle kick from Glenn Hodel gave the Swiss an early lead. Spain wanted the equaliser but it all became more difficult due to the heroics of Swiss shot stopper, Eliott.
Not only was the world’s Best Goalkeeper stopping every Spanish attempt, but he also surprised Dona with two long-range efforts, sending Switzerland into the second period leading 3-0.
Kuman cut the distance between the teams to two goals before Hodel scored another wonderful bicycle kick, and even though David netted Spain’s second, it was an afternoon of inspirations for Hodel who managed to net a hat-trick of bicycle kick goals.
Stankovic buried number six, as Kuman completed a hat-trick of his own and David Ardil put away his second, but a final screamer from keeper Eliott – sealing yet another hat-trick in this match – as well as a close-range Steinemann goal, clinched the precious place in the final for Switzerland.
Spain will play for third tomorrow.
Ukraine put 10 past France to reach European Games
Out of the running for a European title, Ukraine and France still had a chance to reach the European Games.
Ukraine took an early lead with two fierce strikes from Medvid and then keeper Nerush just before the break. Bru pulled one back for France. However, the Ukrainians found their form midway through the match and Voitenko netted twice – one a ridiculous goal from his own half – and soon after, Pashko and Glutskyi also got their names on the scoresheet.
France kept scoring too, taking the score to 6-3 going into the final period, but a third from Voitenko, a second from Medvid and first for Shcherytsia seals the points, and that all-important place at the European games for Ukraine.
France will now face Poland for seventh place on Sunday, while Ukraine will take on Azerbaijan for fifth.
Azerbaijan outclass Poland to reach European Games
Poland already had a place guaranteed at the European Games as the hosts, but Azerbaijan had to fight for that right, and they went ahead first on Saturday when Mammadov curled in a shot on the turn to opening the scoring.
In the second period it was more of the same, and Akhundov and Sabir made it three and it looked as if Poland were beaten going into the second period until Meloyan pulled one back.
The three and the four-goal lead was taken by Ramil from a set piece and a strike minutes later, and when Nazarov got on the scoresheet too, even Jesionowski’s goal couldn’t give Poland hope of recovering the match, as Azerbaijan celebrated their qualification wildly.
RESULTS – 10/09
Estonia 3-1 Germany
Ukraine 10-5 France
Poland 2-6 Azerbaijan
Spain 5-8 Switzerland
Portugal 8-3 Italy
For full details on the 2022 Euro Beach Soccer League Superfinal in Cagliari, head to beachsoccer.com.