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Cosimo SibiliaPresident of Lega Nazionale DilettantiFifteen years of beach soccer in Italy
Dick WhalenNASSC Tournament DirectorThe North American Sand Soccer Championships turn “Silver”
09 Sep 2018
Italy beat Spain on penalties to claim European title
The Azzurri win their first European title in 13 years after nail-biting shootout against the Spanish
As it always would be, the day of the Superfinal in Alghero was one of ecstasy and agony, of brilliance and of disappointment, but above all, today was the day of champions…
Spain v Italy (SUPERFINAL)
This was it – the big one. The match that the whole year had been building up to - the Superfinal of the Euro Beach Soccer League.
The energy with which the teams burst onto the sand was electric and everyone inside the stadium, and even the crowds outside craning to get a glimpse of the action could feel it.
The substitutions were flying on and off as each player ran themselves into the ground to give it their all for the team. It had been 12 years since Spain had won the European title, and 13 for Italy, and you could tell that they knew this was the chance of a lifetime.
The match was tight and perhaps the nerves got to the players a little, as shots flew off target more than they had done for either side in the previous stages. The first period finished goalless but this was not a match that anyone took their eyes off.
Slowly the Italians built up the pressure and Dona became the busier of the two keepers, tipping several shots over the bar with his fingertips.
The first goal came deep into the second period and it was the hosts that took the lead when Frainetti drove in a free kick from distance. But before the period was over Llorenç smashed in a rocket of a volley from well inside his own half.
They remained neck and neck throughout the second period as more fine saves kept the scoreline unchanged. The third period ticked on and extra time was looming. But then, what seemed like a breakthrough; just three minutes from time, it was Palmacci who found an opening to hit a second and the crowd thought they’d won it.
The Spanish number ten, Llorenç, had fast been becoming the target of boos from the home crowd who clearly recognised the danger he presented to their beloved Azzurri, and he gave them more reason to boo when he levelled up for Spain, and forced extra time.
The added three minutes saw many dangerous attacks at each end, but still a winner didn’t come and the match went to penalties.
Chiavaro stepped forward for Italy to take the first – goal. Then Llorenç for Spain – goal. Gori – goal. Antonio – goal. The shootout continued in this fashion until Palmacci converted his and it was Jose Enrique’s turn to catch the Italians up. But Simone Del Mestre guessed right to save the shot, and the crowd roared with delight as the Spanish number 18 sank to his knees.
Italy were the European champions for the first time in 13 years! The players went wilder than the fans as they just ran to their goalkeeper and covered him from sight.
The crowd stayed to celebrate with them and watch the awards being handed out. Today history was made for Italy, but there was misery for Spain.
Del Mestre picked up the award for Best Goalkeeper and the Belarussian captain, Bryshtel, won the award for Top Goalscorer with eight goals over the weekend.
One small comfort to them was the awarding of the MVP award to Llorenç, who played such a huge part in the final and the league as a whole, and it was a touching sight to see the fans who had booed him just minutes ago, clapping in appreciation, before departing the stadium to celebrate with their heroes.
Goals: 0-1: Frainetti, min. 5 (2); 1-1: Llorenç, min. 2 (2); 1-2: Palmacci, min. 3 (3); 2-2: Llorenç, min. 3 (3);
PSO: 0-1: Chiavaro, scored; 1-1: Llorenç, scored; 1-2: Gori, scored; 2-2: Antonio, scored; 2-3: Zurlo, scored; 3-3: Chiky, scored; 3-4: Corosiniti, scored; 4-4: Cintas, scored; 4-5: Frainetti, scored; 5-5: Eduard, scored; 5-6: Palazzolo, scored; 6-6: Adri Frutos, scored; 6-7: Palmacci, scored; 6-7: Jose Enrique, saved;
Germany v Romania (PROMOTION FINAL)
After failing to pick up points in the regular phases of the league, Germany had made it through the promotion group stages, seeing off their Division B rivals with contrasting ease.
It was their star number seven, Biermann who opened the scoring after a matter of seconds to raucous celebration from the bench. The lead was short lived as the Romanian captain, Maci, powered in an overhead volley to equalise.
Basiel then scored his sixth of the competition to retake the lead for Matteo Marrucci’s side from the penalty spot. The teams went into the first break separated by just one goal. Metzler scored just before the break and going into the final period Germany were winning 3-1. Korner then beat the Romania keeper, Andrei Paul, to the ball to poke it into the net to make it four.
However, the Romanian number one had his revenge as he sent a rocket flying into the German net just two minutes later, bring the score to 4-2. A low spinning volley from Maci brought it back to 4-3 and Romania were in sight of catching their rivals.
Then, with just two minutes on the clock, the captain leapt an incredible height to catch a long ball at the near post to score one of the most acrobatic bicycle kicks of the tournament, and Romania were level.
The match proceeded to extra time but when no one could score to claim victory, and it went to penalties.
Metzler converted first for Germany, the everyone’s heart stopped when Maci’s penalty hit the post, only to bounce in to bring Romania level. The teams were still level pegging after eight penalties, then Basiel scored the ninth. and the tenth fell to Andrei Paul.
Keeper vs keeper, it was the ultimate test of nerves and the German won, as Andrei Paul, after scoring in open play, hit his spot kick straight into the arms of his opposite number.
The Germans went ballistic in celebration, they had retained their Division A status and Romania were very close and worthy runners-up.
Goals: 1-0: Biermann, min. 11 (1); 1-1: Maci, min. 6 (1); 2-1: Basiel, min. 3 (1); 3-1: Metzler, min. 3 (2); 4-1: Korner, min. 8 (3); 4-2: Andrei Paul, min. 6 (3); 4-3: Maci, min. 3 (3); 4-4: Maci, min. 4 (3);
PSO: 1-0: Metzler, scored; 1-1: Maci, scored; 1-1: Biermann, saved; 1-1: Alin, saved; 2-1: Weirauch, saved; 2-2: Boata, scored; 3-2: Korner, scored; 3-3: Tase, scored; 4-3: Basiel, scored; 4-3: Andrei Paul, saved;
Portugal v Russia (Div. A 3rd place play-off)
These two teams met last year in Terracina on the last day of the 2017 Euro Beach Soccer League, except last time, they were finalists and, on that day, Russia went on to claim the European crown.
Today there would be no such reward for either side, but the chance to finish third was up for grabs, and the teams threw everything they had into finishing as high in the final rankings as possible.
Likhachev’s men got the ball rolling, as Nikonorov converted to hand his side the lead, three minutes before the first whistle sounded. Then Zemskov struck with a fine finish, and Portugal had to score two goals if they still wanted a chance of making third place. It was Belchior who stepped up to score his fourth of the tournament and pull a goal back.
Shishin restored a lead of two goals when he intercepted a back pass and swiveled to strike the ball into the net. But Belchior wasn’t finished yet, as he powered a free kick home and then when the chance fell to Jordan, the big Portuguese number five, to level up with just seconds of normal time left he took the it to ecstatic cheers from the bench and half of the packed stadium.
Extra time saw two more dramatic goals, as Zemskov completed a brace and Belchior a hat-trick. For the third time today, a match went to penalties…
First Romanov scored, so did Madjer, then it was Paporotnyi’s turn. He stepped up and saw a fine shot saved. When the rest of the Portuguese penalty takers found their target, Mario Narciso’s men huddled together in celebration.
Portugal assume third place and Russia, after winning the 2017 edition of the Euro Beach Soccer League, finished in fourth place.
Goals: 0-1: Nikonorov, min. 3 (1); 0-2: Zemskov, min. 6 (2); 1-2: Belchior, min. 5 (3); 1-3: Shishin, min. 1 (3); 2-3: Belchior, min. 0 (3); 3-3: Jordan, min. 0 (3); 3-4: Zemskov, min. 1 (ET); 4-4: Belchior, min. 0 (ET);
PSO: 0-1: Romanov, scored; 1-1: Madjer, scored; 1-1: Paporotnyi, saved; 2-1: Coimbra, scored; 2-2: Shishin, scored; 3-2: Jordan, scored;
Switzerland v Belarus (Div. A 5th place play-off)
In the final day battle to finish their Superfinal campaigns in fifth position, Switzerland were looking to build on their impressive comeback win yesterday with three final points.
But it was Bryshtsel, the Belarusian captain who broke the deadlock after three minutes to give Alvarado’s men the lead. But it took Ott just seconds to smash home his fifth of the competition to level up.
It was an evenly matched contest and the first period ended at 1-1, with everything still to play for. Misev blasted in a second for the Swiss within a minute of the restart and Schirinzi’s men lead for the majority of the period.
Until, that it, Hapon received a fortunate bounce off the keeper to turn into an open net, levelling things up just before the second break. A Bryshtsel penalty snatched the lead in the opening minute of the final period and Switzerland were trailing for the second time today.
Bryshtsel didn’t know much about it as the ball bounced off his body when the keeper swung at it, but his hat-trick completing goal gave Belarus a two-goal cushion. Another penalty, this time scored by Hapon to complete his brace, gave Belarus another goal, and a game that had started close suddenly seemed beyond Swiss salvation…
But Stankovic scored a penalty of his own. Could Switzerland repeat the incredible feat of yesterday? Then he scored another one, reducing the gap to just one. However, two more goals, one from Savich and the other Bryshtsel’s fourth, put the game beyond a second comeback.
Goals: 0-1: Bryshtsel, min. 9 (1); 1-1: Ott, min. 9 (1); 1-2: Misev, min. 11 (2); 2-2: Hapon, min. 1 (2); 2-3: Bryshtsel, min. 11 (3); 2-4: Bryshtsel, min. 10 (3); 2-5: Hapon, min. 9 (3); 3-5: Stankovic, min. 8 (3); 4-5: Stankovic, min. 3 (3); 4-6: Savich, min. 2 (3); 4-7: Bryshtsel, min. 2 (3); 5-7: Steinmann, min. 0 (3);
Azerbaijan v Ukraine (Div. A 7th place play-off)
Despite coming close and forcing extra time, neither of these sides had picked up any points in their Alghero campaign to reach the Superfinal. Today’s match was to decide who finished in seventh and eighth place.
Voitenko got Ukraine off the mark with a well taken goal and Glutskyi made it two just a matter of minutes later and enjoying the lead, went into the break in charge.
Amid had a response early in the second period with an oddly executed finish which appeared only half-intentional. This would be the end of the day in terms of Azerbaijani goal scoring, but the Ukrainians stepped their attacks up.
The second period ended at 2-1, but Pashko scored to increase the lead for the Ukraine. Glutskyi then secured his double, and the game was put to bed by defender Khyzhniak who made it five with just seconds of the game to go.
The win in the bag, Ukraine finish in seventh place and at the same time earn themselves a spot at the European Games Minsk.
Goals: 1-0: Voitenko, min. 6 (1); 2-0: Glutskyi, min. 3 (1); 2-1: Amid, min. 10 (2); 3-1: Pashko, min. 8 (3); 4-1: Glutskyi, min. 5 (3); 5-1: Khyzhniak, min. 0 (3);
Kazakhstan v Bulgaria (Div. B 3rd place play-off)
A third-place finish would be the reward for today’s game on the final day in Alghero, after both teams finished second in their groups.
The game started slowly, and the teams seemed possibly a little deflated after defeats yesterday and missing out on the chance of promotion. Filip Filipov came close to opening the scoring a few times, after scoring a hat-trick against England yesterday.
It was the Kazakh number fifteen, Chapanov, who finally got the game off the mark as he bagged to give his team the lead at the first break. The next goal didn’t come until late in the next period, but it was another for Kazakhstan as Demeshko doubled the advantage.
It was cancelled out almost immediately though, as Filipov finally got his goal to reduce the difference to just one goal again. Muralinov scored his sixth of the tournament but there was another immediate response from Dimov who netted from close range.
Before the second whistle, Perevyortov rifled in a fourth for his team to increase the difference between the sides to two goals.
One final strike from Filipov, the Bulgarian captain, came too little too late and Kazakhstan finish Division B in third place
Goals: 1-0: Chapanov, min. 4 (1); 2-0: Demeshko, min. 3 (2); 2-1: Filipov, min. 3 (2); 3-1: Muralinov, min. 2 (2); 3-2: Dimov, min. 2 (2); 4-2: Perevyortov, min. 1 (2); 4-3: Filipov, min. 3 (3);
Hungary v England (Div. B 5th place play-off)
The play off for 6th place in Division B saw two teams who had met in the regular phase event in Warnemunde come together once more for a final chance for three points in Sardinia.
The Hungary captain opened the scoring but with a bizarrely misplaced pass back which sailed into his own goal, giving England the lead. It was another sloppy back pass that gifted the Hungarians the equaliser though, as Farquharson sold his keeper short for Bensenyei to pounce on the ball and toe poke home.
The first period ended all square and each team struggled to make the most of goal-scoring opportunities as the second stage of play drew on. Szentes-Biro netted to take the lead for the first time for Hungary, which they managed to maintain – thanks to some top drawer saves from Lipok – until late in the third period, when Aaron Clarke, drew England level with a low shot into the bottom right corner.
But this level-pegging only lasted for a minute until Rutai scored the goal of the game with a well-taken bicycle kick. He doubled his tally for the day and took his tournament total to six to put the game past an England comeback.
Hungary take the three points to occupy fifth position, while England take sixth.
Goals: 0-1: Fekete, min. 4 (1); 1-1: Bensenyei, min. 3 (1); 2-1: Szentes-Biro, min. 2 (2); 2-2: Clarke, min. 7 (3); 3-2: Rutai, min. 6 (3); 4-2: Rutai, min. 0 (3);
Moldova v Norway (Div. B 7th place play-off)
The first game of the final day was all about one last punt at victory for either Moldova or Norway. One, however, would leave Alghero empty-handed.
Norway started strongly creating chances and punishing Moldovan mistakes with dangerous attacks. Henrick Salveson tucked away his fourth of the tournament to put Norway ahead and they lead at the first break.
A fumble from the keeper saw Ignat equalise early in the second period. Then, Capsamun, the Moldovan keeper, fired a brilliant long shot to take the lead just a minute later.
However, Senja scored a direct shot from the kick off to level things up once more and the contest was hotting up. Eremia then put Moldova into the lead once again and Norway seemed to be playing a game of catch up.
Li ended a twisting run through defenders to smash home yet another leveler for Norway and the final period began with the sides all square once more. This is how the normal time would end, and the game went to extra time.
A goal from Jalland and another from Ignat took the match to 4-4 and inevitably to penalties…
All three Norwegians put away their spot kicks but Cojocari saw his saved and Moldova finish in eighth place in Division B, while Norway take up seventh place.
Goals: 0-1: Salve, min. 7 (1); 1-1: Ignat, min. 9 (2); 2-1: Capsamun, min. 8 (2); 2-2: Senja, min. 8 (2); 3-2: Eremia, min. 6 (2); 3-3: Li, min. 2 (2); 3-4: Jalland, min. 2 (ET); 4-4: Ignat, min. 1 (ET);
PSO: 0-1: Jalland, scored; 1-1: Ignat, scored; 1-2: Senja, scored; 1-2: Cojocari, saved; 1-3: Salve, scored;