Portugal and Switzerland win again at the European Games 2023

Spain and Italy also found their first victories in the competition

The second day of beach soccer action at the 3rd European Games Kraków Malopolska commenced on 28th June, as all men’s teams from Group’s A and B continued their journey with the goal to win to win gold for their nations…

Watch all the beach soccer action from the European Games 2023 live here!

Group A
Portugal continue their winning ways
Portugal beat Azerbaijan 5-2 in Group A.
After winning the Iberian derby against Spain on the opening day of the tournament, Portugal looked to build upon their group stage victory to secure six points in Group A. They faced an Azerbaijan side who were beaten by hosts, Poland and wanted to demonstrate resilience against a strong Portuguese side.
Pintado hit the post early in the first period for Portugal with an overhead kick, but it was Azerbaijan who struck first as Mammadov flicked the ball into the Portugal net with a right footed volley with just under five and a half minutes remaining in the opening period, being the only goal scored in the period.

Brilhante found the equaliser for Portugal in the second period with almost half the period played and it was Bê Martins to take the lead for his nation for the first time in the match, taking a 2-1 advantage into the final 12 minutes.
Prior to the third period, all of the Portugal goal scorers in the match had been SC Braga players, and that theme continued until the end, as Léo Martins netted a brace, taking the ball around the goalkeeper and slotting the ball in for his second, and Pintado smashed in a free-kick in between. Mammadov also scored his second in the final period, but Azerbaijan couldn’t find the net again before the final whistle blew.
Another fierce performance from Portugal as they secure back-to-back victories in the group stages.

Spain beat Poland to leave Group A wide open
Spain win 6-1 against Poland.

The second match in Group A saw a talented Spain team, who lost to Portugal on the opening day, take on the host nation, Poland after they beat Azerbaijan 7-2 in the first round of fixtures in Tarnów.
Oliver opened the scoring for Spain inside two minutes and Antonio followed suit less than a minute later, slamming a left-footed volley into the bottom corner to double the lead. Poland failed to pull one back before the break, as Spain were in the driving set with the goal to pick up a much-needed first victory.

Midway through the second period, the hosts finally made the breakthrough as Baran was awarded a free-kick from distance and he accurately pulled the trigger to blast the ball into the centre of the goal, bringing Poland back into the tie. However, Spain restored their two goal advantage as Kuman scored his second goal of the tournament, scoring a rebound directly from kick-off which the Poland goalkeeper couldn’t quite reach. David fired in Spain’s fourth to increase their lead to three with one period remaining.
Spain confirmed their triumph in the final period, as Arias scored the fifth only two seconds in, and Oliver sealed the deal as he scored his brace.
A great first victory for Spain, defeating the hosts on home soil.

Group B
Zurlo the hat-trick hero, as Italy achieve their first win
Italy triumph 6-4 over Moldova.

To kick-off action in Group B on the second day, Italy took on Moldova, with both nations looking to bounce back from defeats on the first day.
Italy had the majority of key chances early on as Zurlo had his acrobatic shot saved by Istrati and Genovali’s similar attempt was dragged wide. However, they managed to find the breakthrough as some spectacular footwork from Sciacca found himself at the by-line and he expertly cut the ball back for Fazzini to slot in. Their second goal arrived just over 10 seconds later, as Sciacca picked out Remedi with a dinked pass to flick past the goalkeeper, and with three and a half minutes left in the period, Giordani’s overhead kick found Zurlo to slide in for Italy’s third.

Moldova had a point to prove in the second period after a disappointing first, and after having a shot turned onto the post, they pulled one back courtesy of Cojocari early on, as he smashed the ball in at the near post. Italy found their fourth of the day with Zurlo scoring his brace, as he dribbled past the goalkeeper and slotted into an empty net. However, Cojocari also scored his brace with 90 seconds left on the clock, with his free-kick from range catching out Italy goalkeeper, Paterniti, as the Italians took a 4-2 lead into the last period.
The start of the final period saw goals scored at both ends of the pitch, as the Moldovan goalkeeper, Garanovschi blasted his shot firmly into the right corner and moments later, Borovschi was shown his second yellow card of the match for a handball in the Italy attacking area, simultaneously giving away a penalty in the process and was scored by Sciacca. With little time remaining, Italy captain, Zurlo completed a well-deserved hat-trick, taking his European Games 2023 goal tally to four, and Turta scored for Moldova.
A first victory of the European Games 2023 for Italy and great effort from Moldova nonetheless.

Two wins on the bounce for Switzerland
Switzerland win 4-2 against Ukraine.

In Group B, Switzerland took on Ukraine. With both sides winning on the first day of the tournament, it was very important match-up as both nations looked to break away at the top of their group.
In the first period, Ukraine went in front first as Korniichuk’s lofted pass to the right-hand side was met by a ferocious volley from Glutskyi who found the bottom left corner.

Switzerland drastically picked up their pace in the second period as top scorer, Stankovic, found the back of the net once again for the equaliser, scoring a fantastic overhead kick which struck the far post on the way through. Under half a minute later goalkeeper, Kessler put the Swiss team ahead as he cleverly brought the ball forward and released a powerful effort into the left side of the goal, and it got even better for Switzerland when Rütimann pounced on the end of Ott’s acrobatic flick to make the score 3-1 after 24 minutes had been played.
Borsuk closed the gap to just one between the two sides early in the third and final period, but Stankovic capped off another outstanding performance and win for his team as he scored his ninth tournament goal, directly from kick-off, curling in a left-footed shot to complete a significant victory.

Click here for complete scorers, stats and standings from the men’s competition!

Group A
Portugal 5-2 Azerbaijan
Poland 1-6 Spain

Group B
Italy 6-4 Moldova
Switzerland 4-2 Ukraine

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