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31 Aug 2014
Spain claims fourth Euro Beach Soccer Cup!
Goals, hat-tricks, and monumental comeback attempts solidify Beach Soccer Cup Baku 2014 as one of the most exciting tournaments
The 8-6 win for Spain began like you would expect, with more goals than you could follow, but what was surprising was that most of them came in one burst from Spain. The Spanish jumped to an early and huge lead at 6-1, but saw Switzerland change the tide and whittle away at their lead, only to recover and secure the win and Euro Beach Soccer Cup Baku 2014. Spain won all of their matches and showed why they are a great force to be reckoned with in beach soccer. The Swiss played nearly flawless, except for the few minutes that Spain shell shocked them with goals, and finished the weekend in 2nd place. It was the third time that Switzerland has finished runner-up to Spain in the EBSC. Both of these teams will be participating in the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Portugal 2015 European Qualifiers - Jesolo, in Italy beginning the first week of September. The first ever European Olympic Games will be played in 2015 in Baku, and these two teams will both be competing there as well.
Switzerland began the match fast and furiously, not giving the Spaniards any room to breathe, however the Spanish star, Llorenç, countered after a Swiss attempt and netted the matches first goal. The Nati could not be stopped for long as the Swiss Bomber, Stankovic, nailed home a beautiful scissor kick to level things at 1. The Furia Roja seemed to take the equalizing goal personally and quickly rattled off three more goals to put the score at 4-1, for Spain. The Spanish added two more late goals, one of them the third of the period for Llorenç, and took a 6-1 lead into the second period. Spain continued to keep their foot on the pedal and the Swiss side still saw the chances come and go without a goal, however Stankovic began the comeback attempt with his second of the match, leaving his team down by four at 6-2. The torrid scoring pace slowed, with both teams being unable to find the back of the net again until Ott scored his first goal of the day in the final minutes of the middle period to bring his Swiss compatriots to within 6-3. Sniffing a huge comeback, Ott quickly added another goal, in the last minute, to cut the Spanish lead to 2, at 6-4, going into the last period.
The momentum was obviously on the Swiss’ side but Spain, as they showed earlier, can score at anytime, and they continued to pressure and attack, but nothing struck the back of the net early in the period. Switzerland did not panic and actually scored the first goal of the frame, on a penalty kick from Ott, his third of the match, to bring his side to within one goal, the closest they had been since the opening minutes of the opening period. Spain then showed their mettle, by scoring their first goal since the closing minute of the first frame, restoring the two-goal lead at a score of 7-5. Llorenç continued a dominant game and scored his 5th of the match, late in the period, to seal the win and put the score at 8-5. Stankovic scored his third of the match in the closing minutes to bring the Swiss again to within two goals, but it proved to be too little too late as the match finished with Spain up 8-6, confirming the fourth Euro Beach Soccer Cup for the Spaniards.
Goals: 0-1: Llorenç, min. 9 (1); 1-1: Stankovic, min. 7 (1); 1-2: Juanma, min. 7 (1); 1-3: Llorenç, min. 6 (1); 1-4: Chyki, min. 6 (1); 1-5: Llorenç, min. 1 (1); 1-6: Juanma, min. 0 (1); 2-6: Stankovic, min. 9 (2); 3-6: Ott, min. 2 (2); 4-6: Ott, min. 0 (2); 5-6: Ott, min. 10 (3); 5-7: Llorenç, min. 9 (3); 5-8: Llorenç, min. 5 (3); 6-8: Stankovic, min. 1 (3).
Russia avoids collapse and captures 3rd over Greece
Russia’s 7-4 victory was an exemplary display of the depth that is Russian beach soccer. The Russians brought a new look team, but with very good beach soccer they managed to finish in 3rd place. Russia started slowly but found their rhythm late in the second period to take control of the match. Russia was the defending Euro Beach Soccer Cup champions, but a loss on Saturday to Spain meant they would not be retaining the title. Greece played some of the most tenacious beach soccer of the weekend as they did escape with a 4th place finish, in part because of their overtime win over the hosts, Azerbaijan.
The two teams had chances to be playing in the final but were unable to capitalize and the intensity that began the match was that of two championship caliber teams. The Greeks struck first on a long distance looping shot and then took advantage of a Russian clearance mistake to put the score at 2-0 going into the middle of the frame. The versatile offenses hit a brick wall of defense and neither team scored again in the opening period until the final seconds, when Krutikov took a great feed from Makarov to put the score at 2-1. Seconds later, on a saved direct kick, Romanov slotted home the rebound to make the score 2-2 going into the first break. The late flurry of goals in the opening frame did not carry over into the middle frame as both defenses found their bearings again and limited the open looks. The rearguards eventually opened up and Greece were the first to secure the periods’ first goal, taking the 3-2 lead. The lead was short lived as Krash struck the ball as sweetly as is possible mere seconds later to tie the score again, this time at 3. Russia was not finished yet, as they had faced a deficit in every match over the weekend, so they took it upon themselves to build big lead and scored three more goals in under two minutes, and took a 6-4 lead into the final break.
Greece, after scoring a late goal to close out the middle frame, maintained their comfort level and did not seem rattled despite giving up the slew of late goals in the second period. The minutes ticked away and the game speed was being played at an elevated level but neither side had scored a 3rd period goal as the final minutes approached. Russia did find the proverbial nail in the coffin late in the frame on a shot from Kotov, his second goal of the game, to restore Russia’s three goal lead. The teams played the final minutes to a stalemate and the buzzer sounded with Russia up 7-4.
Goals: 1-0: Gkritzalis, min. 10 (1); 2-0: Triantifyllidis, min. 8 (1); 2-1: Krutikov, min. 0 (1); 2-2: Romanov, min. 0 (1); 3-2: Amanatidis, min. 7 (2); 3-3: Krash, min. 6 (2); 3-4: Kotov, min. 4 (2); 3-5: Romanov, min. 3 (2); 3-6: Krutikov, min. 3 (2); 4-6: Papastathopoulos, min. 2 (2); 4-7: Kotov, min. 3 (3).
Hungary defeats Azerbaijan after exciting penalties
The 3(1)-3(2) win in penalties for Hungary was a typical game for the feisty hosts as they were down but never out. Azerbaijan, as they had done most of the weekend, put themselves in an early hole but did not quit and always fought back. The Hungarians took a 2-0 lead before allowing the hosts get back into proceedings. Hungary then had to fight back, which they did, knotting the score at 3 before the match headed to overtime and eventually dramatic penalty kicks that included a shot that blazed through the net like a fireball. The Hungarian win gives them 5th place in the Cup after all of their matches proved exciting. Azerbaijan will be disappointed after they played superb in every match, but with the quality of opponents, a 6th place finish is nothing to scoff at.
The two teams had suffered heartbreaking defeats earlier in the weekend and a physical tone was set early to try and overpower the opposition and forget the losses. Hungary began the scoring, only a few minutes into the frame, on a great finish from Simonyi, to put the Golden Team up 1-0 going into the middle of the frame. Azerbaijan had many quality possessions but were patient with their attacks and did not force the action, however they employed sound defense, and a bit of fortune from the crossbar and goal posts, to keep Hungary from scoring again. Azerbaijan could not get off the score sheet and the period ended with Hungary up 1-0. The Azeri pushed the tempo early in the middle frame and saw their chances increase, but they did not immediately result in a goal. The Hungarians withstood the attacks and eventually found their "mojo" again and doubled their lead with a second goal from Simonyi, to put the score at 2-0 for Hungary. The Hungarians seemed comfortable until Jomard of Azerbaijan put a scare back into them with an opportune rebound goal to cut the deficit in half, going into the final minutes of the period. The action intensified and the hosts began to dominate and found the equalizer late the frame to make the score 2-2 going into the last period.
Hungary began the final trying to regain the momentum they had in the opening period and it seemed to work, however no goals were scored or conceded by either side in the opening minutes. Azerbaijan continued with their patient game plan and the final period was very back-and-forth with no wide-open chances being afforded and the game headed into the middle of the frame with nothing separating the teams. Sabir of Azerbaijan changed that near the halfway point of the period, scoring his second of the match to put his team up for the first time on the day at 3-2. The pressure began to mount for Hungary as they were unable to take back control until Simonyi, his teams’ only offense to that point, scored his third of the match tying the score once again. Neither squad found the back of the net again in the final frame as extra time beckoned. The extra frame was played at an even faster pace than the first three periods, however both teams went scoreless and the match went to penalties, where the brilliant performance by David Ficsor got the Magyar the win, and the 5th place.
Goals: 0-1: Simonyi, min. 9 (1); 0-2: Simonyi, min. 7 (2); 1-2: Jomard, min. 6 (2); 2-2: Sabir, min. 2 (2); 3-2: Sabir, min. 6 (3); 3-3: Simonyi, min. 4 (3).
Penalties: Sebestyen, goal; Zeynal, miss; Simonyi, miss; Asif, goal; Abel, goal; Sabir, miss.
EURO BEACH SOCCER CUP BAKU 2014
16:15 - Azerbaijan 3(1)-(2)3 Hungary (5th Place Match)
17:30 - Greece vs Russia (3rd Place Match)
18:45 - Switzerland vs Spain (Final)
3rd place: Russia
MVP: Juanma (ESP)
Top scorer: Noel Ott (SUI)
Best goalkeeper: David Ficsor (HUN)