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09 Sep 2014
16 in the fight... only 4 to prevail
Last group stage matchday defines the second phase, where the survivors will fight for a ticket to the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2015
Estonia earns 1st win and advances to second group phase
The 4-3 win for Estonia over Slovakia was hard-fought and came to life in the final period with sides scoring, helping to fuel a dramatic finish. Estonia scored first and went up by three goals before allowing Slovakia to slowly inch their way close to the win and three points. All the momentum was on Slovakia’s side when Estonia awoke and scored the final goal, which proved to be enough to hold off another comeback. Estonia finished the first group stage with one win and three points and good goal differential, what makes them one of the best third ranked sides in the competition, and will be now drawn into Group 1, together with Italy, Belarus and Poland.
Great goalkeeping is always a hot commodity in beach soccer and this match was lucky to feature two excellent keepers in Lukk of Estonia, and Kanuk of Slovakia. The first period showed why they are so good and assets to their teams. Estonia got in the board first with a shot that took an unpredictable bounce to get past the Slovakians. In another display of a good goalies talents and importance, Lukk nailed home a long range shot that put the Blueshirts up 2-0 going into the final minutes of the period. The fast-paced period ended with Estonia still up 2-0. A second period change in goal did not pay immediate rewards for Slovakia, as Estonia quickly scored to bump their lead to 3-0. The Repre lit up the scoreboard for the first time with a low missile shot that made the score 3-1, for Estonia. The two sides failed to connect on another goal in the frame and the score was 3-1 going into the last period.
Estonia looked determined to score more and get their first points in the qualifier as they still pressed the issues and took quality shots on goal while maintaining a stiff defense that did not allow a third period goal going into the final minutes of the match. Slovakia was on the attack often but could not find the two goals that they needed to get back into the match and eventually level the score. The lone blemish on Lukk’s goaltending in this match was the middle frame goal and he was playing with a chip on his shoulder but that chip got even bigger when Smalik of Slovakia scored his teams’ second goal to get back within one goal at 3-2. In a span of seconds the Estonian goalkeeper went from hero to frustrated as he ceded another goal on a penalty kick as Slovakia had officially gotten back into the match. Estonia’s offense then came alive to help the defense and Truusalu scored his first of the match to go back up by one goal with a score of 4-3. That goal proved to be the decider as the Blueshirts hung on for the 4-3 win, and access the next round as one of the best third-ranked sides.
Goals: 1-0: Marmor, min. 7 (1); 2-0: Lukk, min. 6 (1); 3-0: Saharov, min. 11 (2); 3-1: Bures, min. 8 (2); 3-2: Smalik, min. 4 (3); 3-3: Bures, min. 4 (3); 4-3: Truusalu, min. 3 (3).
Hungary takes control late for first win and goes through onto next round
The 4-1 win for Hungary over Austria was a gritty showing for both teams as the opening period went scoreless but Hungary looked the aggressor and took the first lead only to see it disappear with Austria’s first goal in the final period. Hungary regrouped and scored three unanswered goals to build a comfortable lead that was enough to hold off the Austrians. The win gives Hungary three points and their records in the competition make the Magyar one of the best third-ranked sides, what gets them through onto next round.
A spot in the next round was on the line for both teams, and they came out and played very sound offense and defense, not wanting to give up the early goal and momentum. Hungary looked in control of proceedings as they were on the attack more often and getting great shots on goal but Stummer, the Austrian keeper kept all shots out, securing a 0-0 tie heading into the middle period. Shots were not a scarcity in the middle period as both teams came out firing but the sides were still scoreless going into the heart of the match. Hungary answered the call as to who would step up first and Besenyei struck a shot home to put the Magyar up 1-0. Hungary’s intensity grew and so did their confidence as they piled up the shots but still only the one hit the back of the onion bag and the period ended with the Hungarians up 1-0.
Hungary was in a great position going into the final frame but then things changed as Bruckner scored for the Wunderteam to tie things at 1, in the opening seconds of the last period. Weisz's side did not let their frustration show as they quickly restored their lead and order when they knocked in two goals in the span of less than a minute to go up 3-1. The Hungarians added another late insurance goal to assure they finished the match safely up 4-1 and put themselves in a better goal differential state.
Goals: 1-0: Besenyei, min. 8 (2); 1-1: Bruckner, min. 11 (3); 2-1: Fekete, min. 8 (3); 3-1: Abel, min. 8 (3); 4-1: Besenyei, min. 3 (3).
Norway earns 3rd place in group with workman-like effort
The 5-3 win for Norway over Latvia was in doubt for most of the match, despite a very quick start from the Norwegians. Latvia responded after being down by three goals, to get within one goal but Norway did enough to hold off the comeback attempts and finish off the Latvians. The win gives Norway their first win of the qualifiers and gives them outright control of 3rdplace in the group, which is unfortunately not enough for them to advance to the next round. Latvia was unable to come out on top in their three group stage matches but their performance was admirable, particularly in this match.
Norway and Latvia started the match being very physical and neither squad backed down. Norway was in control early, taking more shots and getting better looks but no goals came until the halfway point when Alex scored for the Norwegians to put his side up 1-0. The rest of the period was played with reckless abandon but the goals did not follow and the period ended with Norway up 1-0. Norway knew that they could have had plenty of more goals and were not happy about it but they remedied that very quickly in the middle frame with a goal from Kandal, which doubled their lead. Kandal continued his strong play in the second period by scoring for the second time to inflate the Norway lead to 3 goals, while still holding Latvia off the scoreboard. The shut-out was broken shortly after the third goal on a strike from Jak that brought the Izlase to within 3-1. The second goal from Jak was even more important as it came on a penalty kick and made the score 3-2 for Norway, which is how the second period would end.
The final period began with the game still hanging in the balance, with neither side having any real momentum or advantage, except for the small one goal lead that Norway owned. The Norwegians took and opportunity early in the period and ran with it as they again doubled up Latvia at 4-2. The Latvians had an answer with a goal from Vasiljev that brought them back to within one goal. The teeter tottering continued with another goal from Salveson of Norway, his second, that put his team up safely with only a few minutes remaining. Latvia pulled out all the stops but could not find two more goals and the match finished with Norway up 5-3. The win, notwithstanding, is not enough for the Vikings to get onto next round, and their spell in Jesolo, together with the Latvian's, is over.
Goals: 1-0: Alex, min. 6 (1); 2-0: Kandal, min. 10 (2); 3-0: Kandal, min. 9 (2); 3-1: Jak, min. 7 (2); 3-2: Jak, min. 4 (2); 4-2: Salveson, min. 9 (3); 4-3: Vasiljev, min. 6 (3); 5-3: Salveson, min. 3 (3).
Romania tops group with win over 2nd place Poland
Romania’s 4-2 win over Poland was group clinching and nerve-wracking at the same time. Romania took Poland by storm and then held them off to hang on for the tough win. Poland came into the match leading the group with six points and two wins while Romania had one win and three points in their previous two games, so the game was key for Romania if they wanted to be in the next round. Poland recovered from the early shock to show signs of late life but it was not enough to overcome Romania and one highlight reel goal from Zaharia, that put the match just out of reach. Romania finished the first group stage in first place in Group F, and Poland also finishes with six points but in second place. Both teams will start in the Group Phase II matches on Wednesday.
Anything can happen in beach soccer and nothing should be unexpected however a goal directly from a corner is always a delight and that is exactly what happened halfway through the opening period in this match. Maci of Romania gave his team the 1-0 lead as they looked to take control of the group and solidify their place in the next round. The two sides played the rest of the period without another goal as it ended with Romania still up by one. The Tricolorii used the restart to score to open the middle frame, but Poland got their first goal on the ensuing restart to pull within 2-1. Not 20 seconds later Maci scored his third of the match to restore Romania’s two goal lead, with a score of 3-1, the terrific start to the second period led the way to a more conservative mentality as the scoring did not come in bunches like earlier. The period ended with Romania still up 3-1, going into the last break.
Poland upped their speed and power, which led to more chances, but Romania made one of the best goals of the tournament, on an attempted clearance from nearly the full length of the pitch, that looped over a surprised Polish keeper. The goal extended Romania’s lead to 4-1 but Poland contributed to more late game drama with their second goal, this one from Burzawa, that pushed the score to 4-2, for Romania. The urgency was more than evident from Poland but they were unable to put a bigger scare into Romania and the match ended with Romania up 4-2, what gives the Carpathian the top spot in the group, and sends them straight to Group Phase II Group 3, together with Russia, Germany and Greece. Poland, instead, will be fighting Italy, Belarus and Estonia for a ticket to the World Cup.
Goals: 0-1: Maci, min. 6 (1); 0-2: Maci, min. 11 (2); 1-2: Friszkemut, min. 11 (2); 1-3: Maci, min. 11 (2); 1-4: Zaharia, min. 5 (•3); 2-4: Burzawa, min. 2 (3).
Switzerland rides Stankovic’s golden leg to victory
The 7-2 win for Switzerland over France was very convincing yet exciting as is almost always the case with the Nati, due to the wondrous goals they scored. The Swiss jumped out early, in the blink of an eye, and could not be caught, not even by a potent French offense. The win puts Switzerland at the top of Group D and they will next play on Wednesday in the Group Phase II stage. France still advance to the next stage beginning on Wednesday, as they finish second place in the group.
The two teams had both qualified for the next stage, Group Phase II but winning the group was an important goal for the two squads. Switzerland struck first on a direct kick from one of their legendary scorers, Stankovic, but heading into the middle part of the period, that had been the lone goal. The Swiss bomber made sure his early goal would not be the goal of the period and he finished a great run to put the Nati up 2-0. Switzerland added goals from Leu and Ott before Stankovic connected on a long distance dead ball that can only be described as spectacular, which gave him three goals in the first period alone. The frame ended with Switzerland up 5-0. There was a little of the same in the second, the difference was more defense but Stankovic added another goal, his fourth on the day, to put his side up 6-0 going into the final minutes of the period. The horn signaled the end of the period and the Swiss were still up 6-0.
France felt a big comeback was always possible as they thought they could crack the Swiss’s defense and the long trail back to level ground started with a goal from Samoun that pulled them to within five goals. Pagis helped fuel the comeback for Les Bleus as he scored France’s second to put the score at 6-2, with more than half of the period to play. France did a great job, beginning in the second period, to limit Switzerland’s chances and keep them from running away with the game, however the five first period goals put them in a very difficult position as they had to exert so much energy making the comeback and trying to stop the Swiss attacks all at the same time. When the referees sounded the final whistle, Switzerland was up 7-2.
Goals: 1-0: Stankovic, min. 8 (1); 2-0: Stankovic, min. 5 (1); 3-0: Leu, min. 3 (1); 4-0: Ott, min. 0 (1); 5-0: Stankovic, min. 0 (1); 6-0: Stankovic, min. 8 (2); 6-1: Samoun, min. 11 (3); 6-2: Pagis, min. 8 (3); 7-2: Borer, min. 0 (3).
Ukraine finishes atop Group E with win over Germany
Ukraine’s 4-2 win did not disappoint as it included a little defense, a lot of offense, and plenty of material for a highlight reel. The bicycle kicks, direct kicks, and improbable long distance goals were all in this match. Ukraine jumped out to the lead first and even though they gave up a couple goals, they scored enough and played tight enough defense to earn the three points. Ukraine finished the first group stage at the top of the group and will play in the second group phase beginning on Wednesday. Germany locked their advancement with their previous win and wind up in second place in the group and will start the next round on Wednesday as well.
The opening period went by so quick that you could not take a breath as both teams went back and forth from end to end, while the goals did not initially come, shots were spectacular and required epic saves to keep the score sheets clean. The scoreless draw ended when Germany was caught out of place on defense and Ukraine capitalized to take the 1-0 lead which would hold until the first break came. Germany went on the attack to open the second period and the German-friendly crowd cheered them on with as much fervor as the players were playing with. The Ukrainian defense and goalkeeping was spectacular but they also had a bit of good fortune as two early shots hit the posts and crossbar but bounced out. Germany’s luck changed late in the period when Olli was awarded a penalty kick and connected to knot things at 1. Less than 30 seconds later, Ukraine restored their lead on a great shot by Budzko from an acute angle, which put the score at 2-1. The Blue and Yellows added another late goal to take a 3-1 lead into the final break.
Germany still had the hopes of a thrilling comeback but Ukraine put a damper on those plans in the opening minutes of the final frame when they extended their lead to three goals after a long distance strike from one of the best Ukrainian goal getters, Korniichuk. Ukraine held the 4-1 lead late into the period until Germany’s Biermann scored on a penalty kick goal put the deficit back to only two goals. Ukraine did not allow any more goals and neither did Germany so when the match ended, the score was 4-2 for Ukraine.
Goals: 1-0: Borsuk A., min. 2 (1); 1-1: Olli, min. 4 (2); 2-1: Budzko, min. 4 (2); 3-1: Andrieiev, min. 2 (2); 4-1: Korniichuk, min. 10 (3); 4-2: Biermann, min. 4 (3).
FIFA BEACH SOCCER WORLD CUP 2015 - EUROPE QUALIFIER JESOLO-ITALY
Group Phase II
GROUP 1 - Italy, Belarus, Poland, Estonia
GROUP 2 - Spain, Ukraine, France, Turkey
GROUP 3 - Russia, Romania, Germany, Greece
GROUP 4 - Switzerland, England, Azerbaijan, Hungary
11:30 - Estonia 4-3 Slovakia (Group D)
12:45 - Hungary 4-1 Austria (Group F)
14:00 - Norway 5-3 Latvia (Group E)
15:15 - Poland 2-4 Romania (Group F)
16:30 - Switzerland 7-2 France (Group D)
17:45 - Ukraine 4-2 Germany (Group E)
Matches for tomorrow:
Group Phase II
09:00 - England vs Azerbaijan
10:15 - Belarus vs Poland
11:30 - Romania vs Germany
12:45 - Ukraine vs France
14:00 - Hungary vs Switzerland
15:15 - Turkey vs Spain
16:30 - Greece vs Russia
17:45 - Estonia vs Italy