Portugal, Poland, Spain and Ukraine make up the final four
The final group stage fixtures in the women’s beach soccer tournament at the 3rd European Games Kraków Malopolska took place on the 29th June, as the semi-final places were decided…
Portugal win Group A after last gasp winner
Portugal defeat Poland 2-1.
Hosts, Poland faced Portugal in Group A as both sides had already secured their places in the semi-finals, with Czechia losing both group games, but it was still an extremely significant encounter as the winner would finish first in the group.
They best chance of the first period fell to Portugal, as a long-range effort almost caught out the Poland goalkeeper, but the scores stayed level heading into the second period. Throughout the period each team had goalscoring opportunities, but it wasn’t to be in the opening 12 minutes.
Both sides battled to break the deadlock in the second period, as Magdalena Sobal’s shot came close to picking out the top corner for the Polish side and Portugal had their chances, but it took until the third and final period for the game to come to life at the Tarnów Beach Arena.
Portugal found the first goal of the match, as Gomes netted for her nation just 90 seconds into the last period, as her powerful penalty found the top of the goal for the lead. With three minutes to go and Portugal heading for first place in Group A, Sofia was shown a red card after bringing down Sobal in front of goal, denying a Poland goalscoring opportunity and a penalty was given. Gozdek stepped up for the shot, but dragged the ball wide. However, Poland did find the equaliser with 90 seconds to play as goalkeeper, Dewicka struck the ball from distance which was saved and Gozdek followed up to score. With the scores level and with extra time beckoning, Portugal were awarded one final chance to take the three points as Gomes was fouled in a dangerous area with two seconds left. She stepped up and slammed the ball into the net for her brace and to win Group A for Portugal.
An exhilarating end to an incredible match between two strong sides.
Spain are semi-finalists after shootout success
Spain win 4-2 on penalties against Italy.
With Ukraine already completing their two Group B matches, it was Spain and Italy left to complete the group. With Spain already having three points on the board after defeating Ukraine in their opening match, they wanted to secure six points, and Italy looked to bounce back from their defeat against Ukraine.
The opening period displayed that these were two very well-matched teams, but Spain had the more clear cut chances. With just over three minutes played, Cris had her strike was tipped round the post and Carol Glez. came close with a free-kick with around two minutes to play, but forced a great save from the Italy goalkeeper.
In the second period, Cris switched play into the feet of Glez., but her attempt was well saved again. With one minute to go in the period, Privitera saw her fierce right-footed shot pushed away for Italy, as both teams continued to try to make the breakthrough, but the goalkeepers at both ends were on top form throughout.
Once again, high intensity beach soccer action took place in the third period, but the first goal was still yet to be scored as three minutes of extra time were played, and penalties decided the contest.
After Spain scored their first four penalties and Italy had missed one, Santos stepped up to the spot for the Italians and was denied by Spanish goalkeeper, Laura, for Spain to win the shootout and book their place in the semi-finals.
This result meant that Ukraine also qualified as one of the final four, as Italy were knocked out.
Spain 0-0 Italy (Spain win 4-2 on penalties)
Poland 1-2 Portugal