The final four in the Women’s EBSL Superfinal are Italy, Portugal, Spain and Ukraine
– Ukraine join Italy, Portugal and Spain in final four
– Spain down England to deny Lionesses knockout spot
– Hosts put 10 past Czech to top group
Ukraine defeat Portugal on Day 2 in Cagliari, and then watched and waiting as Spain did them a favour in downing England, to make the semi-finals of the 2022 Women’s Euro Beach Soccer League.
They will now face Italy in the knockout stage, while Spain will take on Iberian rivals Portugal.
Meanwhile, England and Czech Republic will play for fifth place in Cagliari, which will win them a place at the 2023 European Games in Poland.
Ukraine seal place in Superfinal semis after edging Portugal
Portugal and Ukraine had very different objectives as they kicked-off the final matchday of the group stage. The Portuguese had already secured qualification and were aiming for the first place in the group, while the Ukrainians needed a win to be able to climb to the top four while still having to wait for England’s result.
Portugal had the better start with Joana Meira giving Alan’s the lead in the first minute of play with a shot that lobed Anastasiia Terekh.
The second period had a similar start to the first but favourable to Ukraine as a bicycle kick from Vypasniak equalised the match. Portuguese goalkeeper Jamila continued her goal-scoring form when she made it 2-1 with a long kick that duped Terekh.
Klymenko’s team went into the final 12 minutes needing to turn the result around and Klipachenko renewed the Ukrainian hopes as she equalised with nine minutes to go.
With less than five minutes to the end Vypasniak headed home to have Ukraine leading for the first time in the match. Klymenko’s team held onto to their narrow lead and secured the result to reach the top four, and after England lost later in the day, they secured the precious place in the knockout round.
Italy breeze past Czech Republic to top group
With a place in the knockout stage already in the bag, Italy were looking to top the group with a win against Czech Republic on Friday, and they started the match in flying form.
Vecchione had a hat-trick by the time the first period ended, leaping on defensive errors and Iannella and Privitera converted to take the score to 5-0 before the first whistle.
Olivieri started the second part by snatching the ball from between the defender and keeper to slot into an open net, and before long Iannella had a brace as the Azzurre continued to press.
Czech Republic finally got off the mark with two goals in the last period, but Italy took their final tally to ten, thanks to more goals from Vecchione and Iannella, as well as one from Pisa.
Italy will now face Ukraine in tomorrow’s semi-final, while Czech Republic will go up against England for the final place at the European Games.
Spain deny England final place in semi-finals
Less than a week after the last time they met – in the semi-finals of the European Qualifier for the 2023 World Beach Games – these old European rivals met once more, in a must-win game for England, as a minute’s silence was held following the death if Queen Elizabeth II.
Spain were already through to the knockouts of the European championships, and England had the better of the chances in the first period.
However, in the second, a powerful shot from Sara Tui broke the deadlock and then Jessi sprung on a loose ball to pound in the second for La Roja.
In the third, as much as England pressed they just couldn’t find a way through as Spain clung on to their two-goal lead, knocking the Lionesses out of the 2022 EBSL, and confirming Ukraine’s place in the semi-finals.
RESULTS – 09/09
Portugal 2-3 Ukraine
England 0-2 Spain
Italy 10-2 Czech Republic
For full details on the 2022 Euro Beach Soccer League Superfinal in Cagliari, head to beachsoccer.com.