Portugal and Ukraine win and will face off in Superfinal while Romania and Estonia earn right to play for Division A in Promotion Final
Estonia shocks Hungary with last second goal and head to Promotion Final
The 7-6 win for Estonia over Hungary has everyone still catching their breath, and things will be like that for the foreseeable future as there was not a steady heartbeat in the crowd. The game was fast, then slow, then offensive, then defensive, the dramatic, then just plain spectacular. The teams exchanged early leads before the Hungarians looked ready to run away with the game but the home team hung around and took the lead again late. Then, a late equalizer for Hungary looked to spoil Estonia’s hopes for the Promotion Final, but the Blues found a way to will themselves to a last second goal and victory. The win puts Estonia in the Promotion Final against Romania on Sunday, and the winner of that will be playing in Division A in 2016. The loss for Hungary will be a tough pill to swallow as they could have won but instead they finished 3rd in the group and will face Azerbaijan in the Promotion Final 5th Place Match on Sunday.
Not only were both teams fighting for a spot in the Promotion Final, they were both very excited to play in this high energy match but the crowds were also more than aware of the situation, making for an intensely fierce atmosphere. The goals came early, with Simonyi scoring for Hungary while Lukk, the Estonian keeper scored, scored to level things at 1 early in the match. Lukk would have another goal in him as he blasted a low shot from one end of the pitch to another, giving his team their first lead, at 2-1, late in the period. Neither side would score again and the frame ended with the hosts still up 2-1. The middle frame had more of the same excitement, but it was even better because the final and possible Promotion Final appearance inched closer, making matters much more important. Hungary found the equalizer, but that just started a great scoring spree, started by the Blues, but charging back was the Golden Team and they used a third goal from Simonyi to take back the lead, late in the second period, at 4-3, and that score would hold going into the final break.
The Golden Team held the slim lead but they knew more of an effort would be needed to finish the fierce home side off. So it was no surprise when Simonyi scored his fourth goal to give Hungary the 5-3 lead. The Estonians needed a hero and they found one, which normally would not be a surprise, if you were talking about a defensive but what was shocking was the goalie was the one who came up big on the offensive side of the ball, Lukk, who scored his third goal of the match to tie things at 5-all. Minlibajev fired up the crowd to unheard of heights when he put the team ahead for what looked like good. That good sensation quickly turned to despair when Besenyei scored his second goal, which would have sent the game to overtime but that was not to be. Saharov had everyone in the stadium jump out of their seats when he fought for what seemed like 10 minutes in front of the net, with just him and a defender before slipping the ball through to secure the game winner with just over five seconds left. The final score was 7-6 for Estonia.
Goals: 0-1: Simonyi, min. 11 (1); 1-1: Lukk, min. 9 (1); 2-1: Lukk, min. 3 (1); 2-2: Simonyi, min. 8 (2); 3-2: Raku, min. 7 (2); 3-3: Besenyei, min. 7 (2); 3-4: Simonyi, min. 4 (2); 3-5: Simonyi, min. 10 (3); 4-5: Rump, min. 8 (3); 5-5: Lukk, min. 7 (3); 6-5: Minlibajev, min. 4 (3); 6-6: Besenyei, min. 1 (3); 7-6: Saharov, min. 0 (3).
Russia on way to 3rd place showdown after win
The 3-0 win for Russia over France was very methodical and showed how the Russians can play with any team. There is no style that the Russians cannot very closely adapt to and the French maintained a tight defense while only attacking at the perfect moment. The Big Red Beach Machine did just that, only a little better than Les Bleus. Russia slowly began to impose their will on the French Selection, but were not as successful on the offensive end as they have been in previous encounters, but their defense was so good that it did not matter much. The win gives Russia second place in the group and they will face Spain on Sunday in the Superfinal 3rd Place Match. France finished fourth in the group and they will face Belarus in the Superfinal 7th Place Match on Sunday.
Russia knew due to the Portugal result that they would not be able to defend their European title in the Superfinal but that did not visually change their style of play and the first few minutes of the match were played in typical Russian fashion; the Russians controlling the ball and tempo, taking timely shots, and playing shut-down defense. The game plan worked to perfection as the Russians wore down the French until they found a perfect opening for a Peremitin goal, which set the score at 1-0. France was still searching for space behind the Russian defense when Shaikov scored his teams’ second goal on a difficult bicycle kick that put the score at 2-0 for the Russians, which is how the opening frame would come to a conclusion. Defense reigned supreme in the middle period and the score remained the same, with Russia finishing the first two frames up by a score of 2-0.
France was still hanging around when the final period began and being down only two goals to a team such as Russia is no easy feat and the French were trying to find their spots and better shots on goal, but such a task is easier said than done. The two goal lead was not enough for the Russians and Paporotnyi scored this first goal, just before the halfway point in the period, and it happened to be the third goal from three different scorers for Russia, highlighting how deep and well-rounded a team they have. When the final seconds had ticked away, it was Russia who was up by a score of 3-0.
Goals: 1-0: Peremitin, min. 7 (1); 2-0: Shaikov, min. 5 (1); 3-0: Paporotnyi, min. 7 (3).
Extra time win not enough for Spain
The Spanish National team fell one point short in their objective of securing a berth in the Superfinal for the second consecutive year. Despite having everything on their hands, thanks to Ukraine’s victory over Italy, the two points clinched by the Spaniards at their extra-time win over Belarus are not enough to get in the fight for the continental throne.
Belarus, who were looking for their first win in the tournament, did not care about their opponent’s expectations, and began the game trying to counteract the Spaniard’s expertise and intensity. Bryshtsel swept the Belarusians ahead, with a super header, only to see how Raúl Merida equalized within one minute.
In exactly the same minute, but one period later, Belarus stroke back, and managed to widen the advantage to earn a 3-1 lead. Things were getting difficult for Spain, who needed to react the sooner the better if they wanted to make the most of their chances to get in this EBSL Superfinal’s decider. The hits by Pajón, in the dying seconds of the second period, and Llorenç, early in the third, had Spain standing back again, ready for the final assault.
Goal chances menaced both ends, but none of them found the back of the net, and the final whistle sent the game onto extra time, at the same time it sent Ukraine to the Superfinal. Pablo’s goal in the supplementary three minutes had Spain as second of the group, and they will be fighting for the bronze tomorrow.
Goals: 1-0: Bryshtsel, min. 5(1); 1-1: Merida, min. 4 (1); 2-1: Miranovich, min. 5 (2); 3-1: Bryshtsel, min. 3 (2); 3-2: Pajón, min. 0 (2); 3-3: Llorenç, min. 8 (3); 3-4: Pablo, min. 1 (et)
Ukraine spoils Italian Superfinal hopes in paramount battle
The Ukrainian 7-6 victory over Italy had ups and downs that made every goal and turnover and direct kick that much more exciting. The Azzurri got hot first but the early lead turned into a two goal disadvantage before they knew it. However, in a monumental shift of momentum, Italy took a big lead that turned into a tight clash in the final period, which was won by Ukraine. The win gives Ukraine six points and secures their second win of the event, having only lost to Spain on Friday. The loss eliminates Italy from the Superfinal contention due to one of their two victories coming in penalties, leaving them with four points out of a possible six in the two wins.
Italy and Ukraine were no strangers to each other as European foes but as is the case in beach soccer, each and every match, even between known rivals, is different. This match began with exciting plays on both ends of the pitch, including an own-goal. Italy scored first thanks to Ramacciotti, but then the Ukrainians rattled off three straight scores, taking a 3-1 lead into the first break. The Italians needed only 10 seconds into the second period to get back into the match as Palmacci scored on a great tough off of a corner, which brought the score to 3-2 for Ukraine. In a run of threes that seemed to be a trend, Italy scored their second and third straight, on hits from Marinai and Di Palma, to go from 3-1 down to 4-3 up, with just over half of the match to go. The goals were just beginning as Italy built their lead up to 6-3 before Korniichuk scored his first and his teams’ fourth goal, cutting the Blue and Yellows deficit to 6-4 with one period left.
Ukraine has played in some spectacular matches over the years and this game was already shaping up to be legendary as well. The Ukrainians turned things around with another string of three goals, flipping the 6-3 score into a 6-6 tie, going into the heart of the final period. Italy was not distraught with the happenings as they kept the cool and were it not for the crossbar, Gori would have had two more goals in the span of 10 seconds, but the framework and goalies were doing their job to keep the score at 6-6. The drama continued as Italy had a seemingly wide-open net but Borsuk I. came out of nowhere to save the ball off the line and then the counter attack was on. The Ukrainians drove down the sand and were awarded a direct kick in the attacking half, which they connected on to take the 7-6 lead late in the game. Direct kicks and drama ruled the final seconds, but it was Ukraine who triumphed by a score of 7-6.
Goals: 1-0: Ramacciotti, min. 10 (1); 1-1: Del Mestre (o.g.), min. 7 (1); 1-2: Hladchenko, min. 7 (1); 1-3: Borsuk A., min. 1 (1); 2-3: Palmacci, min. 11 (2); 3-3: Marinai, min. 9 (2); 4-3: Di Palma, min. 7 (2); 5-3: Borsuk I., min. 4 (2); 6-3: Gori, min. 4 (2); 6-4: Korniichuk, min. 3 (2); 6-5: Borsuk A., min. 10 (3); 6-6: Borsuk I., min. 8 (3); 6-7: Korniichuk, min. 2 (3).
England earns second win in OT clash
The 4-3 (aet) win for England over Norway started as poorly for the English as they could have imagined, but they showed their mettle by overcoming and taking the lead before needing late game dramatics to hold off Norway. An own goal marred the first few minutes for the Three Lions but they had replies of their own and eventually took a seemingly safe two goal lead, before needing to overcome Norway in the extra frame on a last second penalty. The win gives England five points after their first victory, against Hungary, was in regular time. Norway finishes as fourth in the group and they will take on Turkey in the Promotion Final 7th Place match on Sunday.
Winning was the only option for England if they wanted to advance to the Promotion Final but it was an early mistake on their part that put them in a 1-0 hole to Norway. The English did not dwell on the goal and they took matters into their own hands, as Clarke found the Norwegian keeper out of place and an open net in front of him, but a handball saved the immediate goal, only to have it secured on the following penalty kick. The Three Lions continued their push to the final as Temple scored his first of the day, putting England up 2-1 going into the first break. 2-1 in beach soccer is basically a tie as goals come and go so the English were more than happy when they got a little more breathing room, thanks to the second goal of the day from Clarke, and they kept the 3-1 lead going into the final minutes of the second period. The minutes ticked away without another score and the English took the two-goal advantage into the final frame, 3-1.
Norway did not stop playing their brand of beach soccer, waiting for the perfect moment to attack and employing sound defense but the goals did not come for either side, which greatly benefited the English side, and it added to the tension. Norway was officially back in contention when Brath slotted home a shot while he was surrounded by defenders, and the goal energized both sides. The atmosphere was stellar as fans and the other teams knew how much was riding on this outcome. Norway was not content with the possible outcome at that point and used a goal from Jacobsen to tie things at 3, late in the match. The sides were on a full alert looking for the deciding goal, but it did not come and the match went into overtime tied at 3. England continued to press and knew they could still earn the win and on the attack it was Bowes who was fouled in the penalty area and with less than 10 seconds left he made sure not to miss the kick, giving his side the 4-3 victory.
Goals: 1-0: Lawson (og), min. 8 (1); 1-1: Clarke, min. 6 (1); 1-2: Temple, min. 1 (1); 1-3: Clarke, min. 10 (2); 2-3: Brath, min. 7 (3); 3-3: Jacobsen, min. 2 (3); 3-4: Bowes, min. 0 (et).
Romania claims group and shot at Division A
The 4-3 win for Romania over the Czech Republic was constantly in question as the Romanians looked like they were in control for most of the match but they could never pull away and the Czech Republic continually got themselves back into proceedings with timely goals, clutch stops, and putting themselves in the right place at the right time. The Romanians scored late and were able to stay just ahead of their opponents and secure the win. The victory gives Romania first place in Division B Group 2 and thus they will be playing on Sunday in the Promotion Final, for a chance to play in Division A in the 2016 Euro Beach Soccer League Season. The Czech Republic knew they only needed a victory, whether in extra time or penalties, but they came up just short of the Promotion Final and they will play in the Promotion Final 3rd Place Match on Sunday.
Everything was on the line for both teams with the winner taking the top spot in the group and the chance to play in the Promotion Final for Division A status. The Romanians struck first when they used a bobbling shot from Zaharia to secure the first goal and the 1-0 lead late in the first period. The jostling continued but no one was able to break the score really open and the match went into the second period with the same score, Romania up 1-0. The Czechs were patiently waiting for their chance and they got it when they were awarded a direct kick from near midfield and the subsequent shot was nailed home by Chalupa, putting the score at 1-1 with a little more than half of the match remaining. The Czechs and the Tricolorii could not find another goal in the frame and the game headed to the last period tied at 1.
The Czech Republic may have started slow but they began to round into form and after tying the match in the second, they scored very early in the third to take their first lead of the game at 2-1. The lead disappeared after only seconds, as less than a minute later Boata nailed home his third goal of the tournament, which is very impressive as a goalkeeper. The score was 2-2 for only a short time as well, as Boata netted his fourth overall and second of the game to give the Romanians the 3-2 lead. The Czech Republic knew how early it was in the match and did not panic and took what was given them, including an own goal from Romania and the score sat at 3-3 going into the last minutes. The prolific goal-scorer for Romania, Maci, was held quiet for much of the night but he came up huge when he needed to, scoring in the final two minutes to give his side the one-goal advantage. Romania then played keep-away and secured the 4-3 win.
Goals: 1-0: Zaharia, min. 4 (1); 1-1: Chalupa, min. 7 (2); 1-2: Tosovsky, min. 10 (3); 2-2: Boata, min. 9 (3); 3-2: Boata, min. 9 (3); 3-3: M. Poste (o.g.), min. 4 (3); 4-3: Maci, min. 2 (3).
Diligent Azerbaijan side earns first victory in penalties
The 4(3)-4(2) penalties win for Azerbaijan over Turkey was a great group stage finale for both teams, even though it did not go exactly how the Turkish squad would have liked. Azerbaijan came out firing but it took until the last minutes of the opening period to get the first goal, which in turn was quickly answered by Turkey. Then Azerbaijan squad then began building their lead before having Turkey fight and fight, tying matters late sending the match to a scoreless overtime and penalties. The shoot-out continued the intense trend and it came down to one saved shot for Azerbaijan to claim the dramatic win. The Azerbaijani triumph gives them their first points on the weekend and they will used that momentum going into their Promotion Final 5th Place Match on Sunday. Turkey earned their only group stage win on Friday, when they were victorious in penalties, thus giving them one point. They will strive to finish on a high when they battle in the Promotion Final 7th Place Match on Sunday.
Turkey began the match much differently than they did their second match, which they won on penalties. Turkey was riding high after their victory on Friday but they began the match against Azerbaijan with defensive mistakes that could have cost them the game. However they remained close, and as the final minutes of the period came they had not given up any goals. The draw ended when Jomard slotted home a shot that put the Azerbaijani up 1-0. The Turkish squad quickly entered the fight when Volkan notched his first goal in the final minute of the frame. The team from the Land of Fire replied with their second goal of the period when Amid scored to send his side up 2-1 going into the first break. Azerbaijan started the second period on the same roll and were constantly attacking the Turkish defense and that aggression created their third goal, putting the score at 3-1 for the good, which is how the teams would stand going into the final period.
Things started really interesting in the final period as Adil scored for Turkey to pull his side to within one goal at 3-2. The disadvantage stayed until the final minutes of the game when Adil was awarded a free kick from a dangerous spot, which he scored, but an encroachment negated the goal, however on the re-kick he showed his nerves of steel and scored again, leaving his team down only 4-3. The match really turned on its head when Volkan rocketed a shot from long range that snuck through the Azerbaijan defense and tied the score at 4-all. The sides could not find another goal and the game headed into overtime tied at 4. Neither side were conservative in their approach to the extra frame but an early goal did not come and the match headed into penalties, where Azerbaijan stayed perfect to clinch the point at stake.
Goals: 0-1: Jomard, min. 3 (1); 1-1: Volkan, min. 0 (1); 1-2: Amid, min. 0 (1); 1-3: Sabir, min. 8 (2); 2-3: Adil, min. 5 (3); 2-4: Asif, min. 4 (3); 3-4: Adil, min. 4 (3); 4-4: Volkan, min. 3 (3).
Penalties: Ramil: Goal; Emrah: Goal; Sabir: Goal; Erkan: Goal; Orkhan: Goal; Volkan: Saved
EURO BEACH SOCCER LEAGUE 2015 SUPERFINAL AND PROMOTION FINAL PÄRNU
10.15 – Turkey 4(2)-4(3) (pso) Azerbaijan (Division B Group 2)
11.30 – Romania 4-3 Czech Republic (Division B Group 2)
12.45 – Norway 3-4 (aet) England (Division B Group 1)
14.00 – Italy 6-7 Ukraine (Division A Group 1)
15.15 – Belarus 3-4 (aet) Spain (Division A Group 1)
16.30 – Switzerland 5-8 Portugal (Division A Group 2)
17.45 – Russia 3-0 France (Division A Group 2)
19.00 – Estonia 7-6 Hungary (Division B Group 1)
Matches for Tomorrow:
10.15 – Norway vs Turkey (Promotion Final 7th Place)
11.30 – Hungary vs Azerbaijan (Promotion Final 5th Place)
12.45 – Belarus vs France Group 2 (Superfinal 7th Place)
14.00 – Italy vs Switzerland (Superfinal 5th Place)
15.15 – England vs Czech Republic (Promotion Final 3rd Place)
16.30 – Spain vs Russia (Superfinal 3rd Place)
17.45 – Estonia vs Romania (Promotion Final)
19.00 – Ukraine vs Portugal (Superfinal)