Tight playoff battles see teams tussle for finishing positions

Thursday saw a Viking Derby, an extra-time winner and a special visit from Eric Cantona


The sides who were knocked out of the running for places at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Russia in the group stages played the first of their two playoff matches to decide finishing positions on Thursday

In tight bouts, France performed well under the watchful eye of none other than Eric Cantona to bag an extra time win, while Denmark and Norway clashed in a thrilling Scandinavian derby.

Poland comfortably beat Romania and Estonia hung on to a slim lead to beat Kazakhstan.

Today’s results mean that Poland and France will now play for ninth place tomorrow, while Turkey and Romania will battle for 11th.

Denmark will play Estonia for 13th while Norway and Kazakhstan will meet in the 15th-place playoff.

TUR 5-6 FRA

Maybe the presence of a footballing and beach soccer legend in the stands spurred the French on in the opening period, as they pulled apart the Turkish defence to net three early goals.

A fantastic finish from Huck, and first goals of the qualifier for Shillingford and Bettayeb, had France dominating the match going into period two, despite the fact the Cem Keskin powered in Turkey’s opener.

But a Baris double in less than a minute had The Crescent Stars back on level terms in the blink of an eye. The final period saw two goals at either end and the stalemate overflowed into extra time.

The French captain Quentin Gosselin, named in BAREFOOT as one of the ‘5 to Watch’ for the 2021 season, was the man of the moment as he slotted the winner home, much to the appreciation of the onlooking Eric Cantona.

Goals: 0-1: Huck, min. 3 (1); 0-2: Shillingford, min. 2 (1); 0-3: Bettayeb, min. 0 (1); 1-3: Cem Keskin, min. 0 (1); 2-3: Baris, min. 11 (2); 3-3: Baris, min. 10 (2); 3-4: Gosselin, min. 10 (3); 4-4: Volkan, min. 9 (3); 5-4: Efe, min. 7 (3); 5-5: Angeletti, min. 7 (3); 5-6: Gosselin, min. 0 (ET);

DEN 5-3 NOR

With hopes of a FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup placed crushed for the Scandinavian nations, as high a finishing position as possible in the European Qualifier was the reward for a win.

The Viking Derby saw a goal after just seconds when Kandal hit the opener for Norway. Frandsen equalised from close range and then Axel Damm fired an overhead kick into the top corner in spectacular style to retake the lead for the Danes.

Keeper Skott made it 3-1 but Norway came back in the second period with goals from Salve and Jaalland. However, a special performance from Damm saw his two late goals wrap up the win for Denmark, as the number 10 bagged a hat-trick.

Goals: 0-1: Kandal, min. 11 (1); 1-1: Frandsen, min. 6 (1); 2-1: Damm, min. 3 (1); 3-1: Skott, min. 11 (2); 3-2: Salve, min. 2 (2); 3-3: Jaalland, min. 10 (3); 4-3: Damm, min. 7 (3); 5-3: Damm, min. 3 (3);

ROU 3-8 POL

With a ninth-place finish in the European Qualifier all that was left to play for, Poland met Romania for their penultimate match in Nazaré

The Top Scorer of the Euro Beach Soccer League, Pietrasiak, dived into the box to put away a header after 3 minutes of play opening the scoring for Poland.

The big number seven completed his hat-trick on the second period, taking his Qualifier tally to four, and Daniluk also got on the scoresheet to make it four to Poland.

A bizarre clearance/shot from Zaharia and a Toma strike helped Romania cut the deficit in the final period, but they just couldn’t stop the Polish goals as Pietrasiak put away his fourth of the day, helping Poland cruise to victory.

They will play France tomorrow in the battle for ninth place.

Goals: 0-1: Pietrasiak, min. 9 (1); 0-2: Pietrasiak, min. 10 (2); 0-3: Daniluk, min. 6 (2); 0-4: Pietrasiak, min. 0 (2); 1-4: Zaharia, min. 11 (3); 1-5: Brochocki, min. 7 (3); 1-6: Brochocki, min. 6 (3); 2-6: Klopec (OG), min. 5 (3); 2-7: Pietrasiak, min. 5 (3); 3-7: Toma, min. 3 (3); 3-8: Jesionowski, min. 0 (3);

KAZ 2-3 EST

With the 13th to 16th European Qualifier finishing places still to be decided, a seesaw game between Kazakhstan and Estonia saw Remmelgas burst down the right wing to blast in Estonia’s first.

Before the first period was over, two sensational goal from Perevyortov saw the Kazakhs take the first break in the lead.

Mäeorg equalised in the second period and then a long-range missile from Marmor snatched the lead back for Estonia. Kazakshtan tried in vain to get back on level terms but the men in blue stood firm at the back to clinch a 13th-place playoff against Denmark tomorrow.

Kazakhstan will play Norway for 15th.

Goals: 0-1: Remmelgas, min. 4 (1); 1-1: Perevyortov, min. 1 (1); 2-1: Perevyortov, min. 0 (1); 2-2: Mäeorg, min. 4 (2); 2-3: Marmor, min. 0 (2);

For full details on the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup European Qualifier, including standings, stats and fixtures, head to beachsoccer.com.

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