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11 Sep 2014
Switzerland, first to qualify for the World Cup
Still 3 spots at stake heading into the last group stage day of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2015 - Qualifier Europe Jesolo-Italy
Swiss clinch top in group and World Cup spot
The 4-2 win for Switzerland over Azerbaijan was scrappy, for both sides, and the physical nature let both teams know that they were not going to back down. Switzerland took the lead but Azerbaijan hung around, just enough to make the Swiss nervous. Switzerland cannot be caught at the top of the group and now they are the first team to qualify for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Portugal 2015. The win means the Swiss are one of the semifinalists in this qualifier and can finish no worse than fourth. Switzerland has one group match left on Friday against a hungry English side. Azerbaijan will face Hungary on Friday to close out the Group Phase II stage.
Scoring goals on goals on goals is the modus operandi for Switzerland and they started the match against Azerbaijan a bit slowly by their standards but still used goals from Stankovic and Borer to build a 2-0 lead. The Azerbaijani did well to stand resilient and minimize the damage that the Swiss could inflict. The first period whistle sounded with Switzerland still up 2-0. You can call Azerbaijan but if you don’t include tenacious in your list of descriptors you would be remiss. They were looking at three goal deficit when the instead blocked the Swiss shot and went on the attack to score their first and cut their disadvantage in half. Switzerland came back on their next few possessions with even more determination and they scored two more early goals, a second for Stankovic, and the first of the day for Ott, to go up 4-1 heading into the final minutes of the period. The teams played the rest of the period to a draw and it ended with the Nati up 4-1.
The third period with Switzerland maintaining their pressure but the Azerbaijan defense held strong and did not allow an early goal, but at the same time they were not asking much of Switzerland’s defense. The first goal of the frame was scored by Azerbaijan as they cut the Swiss lead to two goals and were holding their breath hoping for the big comeback and upset. Switzerland began to play a little tight, not pushing the tempo like we are used to seeing but they had built enough of a lead to play a little safe. Azerbaijan pulled out all the stops and threw everything at the Swiss except the kitchen sink, but it was not enough as when the final whistle sounded, Switzerland was up 4-2.
Goals: 1-0: Stankovic, min. 10 (1); 2-0: Borer, min. 7 (1); 2-1: Hikmat, min. 11 (2); 3-1: Stankovic, min. 9 (2); 4-1: Ott, min. 6 (2); 4-2: Orkhan, min. 5 (3).
Hungary withstands early English attacks for win
The 5-2 win for Hungary was a great display of grit and come from behind ability as the Hungarian went down early but quickly recovered and then put England in the rear view mirror with solid performances in the middle and final periods. England looked to be on cruise control before the Hungarians turned things around and earned their first win in the Group Phase II stage. The win gives Hungary three points and they now look towards their Friday showdown against Azerbaijan. England will take on the group favourite, Switzerland, on Friday, hoping for an upset and another three points.
The two offenses took their early chances on goal but the defenses were too strong and the offensive efforts were not as dangerous as the teams would have liked. Going into the middle of the period Hungary had already struck the post and made Webb, the English keeper, work harder than his counterpart, Ficsor. A misplayed trap by Hungarian defenders left the goalie flatfooted for the shot that Farquharson nailed to give England the lead late in the opening period. Corbett added to the English lead less than a minute later, but Hungary halved the lead on the following restart to put the score at 2-1 going into the middle frame. The offensive magic that occurred in the final two minutes of the first period did not carry over to the second period as both teams missed open shots and failed to score the matches’ next goal. To try and evade the swarming defenders, both teams showed their deft ball handling but the periods’ first goal came from the Golden Team and Besenyei, which evened the score at two. Hungary added another score late in the period from Abel, to take a 3-2 lead into the final period.
England went on the full out attack to try and get the equalizer as well as the winner but Hungary struck first after countering the Three Lions attacks to push the lead to 4-2. England pressed and pressed, leaving the defense a little more open and the Hungarians capitalized to move ahead by three goals, on a wonderful strike from Ughy. Hungary held the 5-2 lead for the rest of the match as England could not hit the back of the net again, despite seeing some great chances. Hungary was content with their three goal lead and they did not push the issue and were happy when the final buzzer sounded with them up 5-2.
Goals: 1-0: Farquharson, min. 2 (1); 2-0: Corbett, min. 2 (1); 2-1: Fekete, min. 2 (1); 2-2: Besenyei, min. 3 (2); 2-3: Abel, min. 3 (2); 2-4: Fekete, min. 8 (3); 2-5: Ughy, min. 5 (3).
Ukraine wins again and is ready for Spain
Ukraine’s 6-4 win over Turkey was not as easy as Ukraine would have hoped for but it was a great challenge that will benefit them later in the tournament. Turkey came out early and shut out Ukraine in the opening period, although they were also scoreless, but then started the second period by scoring first. Ukraine responded to tie things and their next goal gave them the lead but Turkey was not ready to relinquish the game and tied things again but then Ukraine powered through with a big second period and then held off the late Turkish rally. The win means Ukraine has six points and two wins in the Group Phase II stage and will face Spain on Friday and most likely with the World Cup on the line. Turkey will look for their first win of the tournament against France on Friday.
Turkey began very lively but they could not buy a goal as they hit the cross bar and post in the opening minutes but none of the shots crossed the line. Ukraine was not discouraged by their slow start and they eventually opened the throttle on their offense and pressed the Turkish defense, but they were unable to score early either. Turkey limited many of the Ukrainian threats and vice versa as the opening period ended with the score still tied at 0. Turkey was deserving of a first period goal and finally found in it in the second periods’ opening minute on a kick from Baris that set the score at 1-0 for the Crescent-Stars. The Blue and Yellows did not let the Turkish lead last more than four minutes as Korniichuk scored his first on the day to tie the score at 1. Ukraine took the leed for the first time late in the middle frame off a shot from Igor Borsuk, but that lead lasted seconds as Yücel scored for Turkey on the restart. Two late goals from Pachev gave Ukraine the 4-2 lead going into the final period.
The third unanswered goal from Ukraine by Zborovskyi set the tone for the third period as the score ballooned to 5-2 early in the frame. Ukraine scored another goal just a couple minutes later that put the score at 6-2. Turkey nearly got one goal back on the restart when the shot was blocked off the. The Turkish team did not have to wait long for their third goal though, as Cem scored to keep to his squad within striking distance at 6-3. Turkey would add another late goal to get to within 6-4 but it would be inadequate as Ukraine had built too big a lead and finished the match with the same score.
Goals: 0-1: Baris, min. 11 (2); 1-1: Korniichuk, min. 7 (2); 2-1: Borsuk I., min. 3 (2); 2-2: Yücel, min. 3 (2); 3-2: Pachev, min. 1 (2); 4-2: Pachev, min. 0 (2); 5-2: Zborovskyi, min. 9 (3); 6-2: Zborovskyi, min. 8 (3); 6-3: Cem, min. 7 (3); 6-4: Adil, min. 1 (3).
Romania squashes Greek comeback and earns 2nd win
The 7-4 win for Romania over Greece had all the looks of a blowout but Greece played them extremely well even after facing an early deficit. Romania was on cruise control early but the Greek squad did not forget their game plan and buckled down to change a 4-0 deficit into a 4-3 deficit before the Romanians closed the door on their comeback attempt. The win gives Romania 4 points, as they only earned one point in the penalty shoot-out with Germany on Tuesday, then the three points today. They will face the Russians on Friday, looking to secure a place in the World Cup. Greece will look for their first win of the stage against Germany on Friday.
Romania already won a thriller in penalties over Germany and they did not want as heart stopping a finish as that first match so they used an early goal from Maci to try and put themselves in an easier position. The goals kept coming for the Tricolorii as they tacked on two more first period goals, while holding the Greeks to zero and the period ended with Romania up 3-0. The middle frame began much like the first as Romania started fast and used another goal from Maci to make the lead 4 goals, all the while maintaining the shut-out. Greece found themselves on the wrong side of luck as they struck the post and shots and had the ball bounce the opposite direction of where it was intended to go but in the final minutes of the second period, Kafantaris scored the first goal for the Pirate Ship and brought them to within 4-1., which is how the period would end.
The Greeks knew that a comeback would not be easy but they were not distressed and seemed to take the match one possession at a time and early in the final frame they scored again to pull within two goals at 4-2. The next big step for Greece was scoring the third goal to get back to within one goal and Gritzalis took up the task and made the score 4-3 near the midway point in the period. The Romanian side might have been a little uneasy after allowing the second and third goals but they did not show it as they replied with the third goal from Maci, to restore a two goal lead at 5-3. Maci was not finished as he netted his fourth of the match to put his side comfortably up 6-3 going into the final minutes. Karmapas of Greece added a late consolation goal but Maci added his fifth on the day to set the score at 7-4 when the match concluded.
Goals: 1-0: Maci, min. 9 (1); 2-0: I. Poste, min. 7 (1); 3-0: Boata, min. 3 (1); 4-0: Maci, min. 9 (2); 4-1: Kafantaris, min. 4 (2); 4-2: Triantafyllidis, min. 11 (3); 4-3: Gkritzalis, min. 6 (3); 5-3: Maci, min. 6 (3); 6-3: Maci, min. 3 (3); 6-4: Karampas, min. 0 (3); 7-4; Maci, min. 0 (3).
Belarus grinds out quality win over Estonia
The 3-2 win for Belarus was as close a game as you could have asked for. There were early goals, immovable defense, a comeback, and a last minute deciding goal. Belarus, the favourites, jumped out early, but Estonia stayed close, never letting the Belarus offense go off and when the time was right, the Estonians struck and tied the game in the last minutes only to see their efforts go out the window as Belarus scored the final goal in the waning seconds of the match. The win gives Belarus two wins, six points and a dream Group Phase II finale against Italy on Friday, which will determine who goes to the World Cup. Estonia will look for their first win against Poland on Friday.
Belarus was relentless in their early going attacks, hitting the posts, forcing the Estonia keeper to make a number of stops but Bokach got through for the games’ first goal, still in the opening minutes, to put the Belarusians up 1-0. Not long after that the Estonians took their offensive game to Belarus and while it didn’t equate to the early goals they wanted, it gave them some good looks at net. Belarus added to their first period lead with a goal from Bryshtsel and the score would remain the same heading into the first break, 2-0 for Belarus. The Blueshirts locked up their defense and didn’t allow another goal to Belarus as the match heading into the final minutes of the period, while their offense was knocking at the Belarusian door, and they got on the scoreboard with a penalty kick goal that sent the match into the final period with a score of 2-1 for Belarus.
Early in the match is seemed as though Belarus would run away with the match but the final period was a great indicator that the Estonians were not going anywhere, and despite their one goal deficit, they were in control of the momentum. Estonia had also switched the tables in regards to possession, they were holding onto the ball more and longer, so as to slow down the Belarusian attacks. Belarus was not content with their slim lead but they were unable to find the opening in the Estonian defense that they had earlier. Estonia found a last minute equalizer but Belarus was not to be outdone as they score with seconds remaining to snag the 3-2 win.
Goals: 1-0: Bokach, min. 8 (1); 2-0: Bryshtsel, min. 1 (1); 2-1: Marmor, min. 2 (2); 2-2: Truusalu, min. 2 (3); 3-2: Miranovich, min. 0 (3).
Spain needs last second heroics to capture win
Spain’s 5-4 victory was a grind-it-out battle between two very determined and supremely talented squads. The Spanish took the early lead only to succumb to the French pressure and go down by two goals on two separate occasions. The first period had two goals and then the teams exploded for six goals in the middle frame before Spain solidified their win on an impossible goal, miraculous even, from Llorenç. The win gives Spain two wins and six points going into their final Group Phase II match against the other undefeated team in their group, Ukraine, to determine a place in the World Cup. France will have a chance to win their first match against Turkey, also looking for their first win, on Friday.
There was no clear leader in the opening minutes as both teams looked ready to strike and had some great hits on goal but nothing fell despite t frantic pace. Kuman of Spain broke the tie on a long range shot but mere seconds later, Kuman was charged with a handball in his penalty area, which directly led to Frances’ first goal, as the penalty was taken and nailed home by Samoun. The period finished with no more goals and headed to the second period tied at 1. France did not want to have a match come down to the closing seconds while still hanging in the balance so they made a concerted effort to score early and often in the middle frame. The plan worked to perfection as Les Bleus scored two quick goals to take a 3-1 advantage. Spain, normally a front-runner, responded by scoring a goal of their own to get back to within one score, however France almost immediately scored again on a goal from Basquaise to restore the French two goal lead. R. Merida was then a awarded a free kick in a dangerous area and capitalized to bring La Furia Roja to within 3-4, and the goal fest did not stop there as Chyki scored his first of the match to tie things at 4-all. The two teams held the same score until the whistle blew to signify the end of the second period and the score was still tied at 4.
The two teams used defensive tactics for portions of the match, then went on the attack to wild success, but that led to giving up unwanted goals, so the third period was a happy medium as both teams needed the win to put themselves in a better spot to qualify for the World Cup. Going into the middle half of the frame, neither side had scored and both were very close to doing so on multiple occasions. Spain looked at the best possible scoring chance in the final minutes as they were given a penalty kick but Chyki missed the kick and the game remained tied with just over three minutes remaining. Llorenç added to his legend as he somehow scored from the tiniest of angles and utmost pressure to put his team ahead 5-4 with only two minutes remaining. The lone goal in the period proved to be enough as Spain won by the score of 5-4.
Goals: 1-0: Kuman, min. 1 (1); 1-1: Samoun, min. 1 (1); 1-2: Samoun, min. 10 (2); 1-3: Sansoni, min. 8 (2); 2-3: Antonio, min. 8 (2); 2-4: Basquaise, min. 7 (2); 3-4: R. Merida, min. 5 (2); 4-4: Chyki, min. 5 (2); 5-4: Llorenç, min. 2 (3).
Russia ekes out victory and remains undefeated
The 2-0 win for Russia over Germany meant a lot to their goal of World Cup qualification and they took the match very seriously. Russia scored early, were forced to back off due in part to Germany’s sturdy defense, then went on the move again to take a 2-0, which normally wouldn’t seem like much but when playing a great defense and technically sound team like Russia, two goals can look like an even bigger deficit. Germany fought for everything they got and still wound up just a little short. Russia will face Romania on Friday, the other undefeated Group 3 team, with the hopes of clinching a spot in the next World Cup. Germany lost two of the hardest fought matches in the Group Phase II stage and will want to bounce back against Greece on Friday.
Russia does not always begin fast but they jumped on top of Germany early with a goal from Gorchinskiy that put the Russians up 1-0 within only a few minutes. Germany had their chances and were it not for spectacular goalkeeping from Bukhlitskiy, they would have been winning or at least tied. Not as much as asked of the German keeper early in the match but with pinpoint accuracy and rocket-like power, the Russians do not need to ask many questions of their opposition to take advantage. Makarov doubled Russia’s lead with just over a minute remaining in the period and the buzzer went off with Russia leading 2-0. Russia’s offense seemed to grow stronger as they had more early chances in the middle frame than they did in the opening period, but the ball didn’t strike the back of the net. Germany’s chances were limited but the final few minutes of the frame saw them go more on the attack and take care of the ball, looking like a team biding their time and waiting for the perfect moment to strike. The moment did not come as the period ended with the same score it began with, 2-0 for Russia.
Germany knew they needed a win to keep their World Cup hopes alive and they came out firing in the third period, but Russia still had a defensive shield up that looked like it could keep any team at bay. The two goal lead for Russia was not nearly as much as they would have liked but with Germany closing down tight on defense and them doing the same to Germany, it was difficult for both sides to find an alley big enough to slot a goal. The Russians visibly turned up the pressure but were unable to get a much needed insurance goal, although in the end it did not make a difference as they were up 2-0 when the match ended.
Goals: 1-0: Gorchinskiy, min. 9 (1); 2-0: Makarov, min. 1 (1).
Italy wins gripping overtime match over Poland
The 5-3 (aet) Italian overtime victory over Poland did not disappoint the masses as goals were scored, there was drama, and there was defense and acrobatics on both sides of the ball. Italy ceded the first goal and had to wait until the end of the first period to get it back, then the Azzurri stormed ahead and were in the driver’s seat but Poland was never out of it and came back to tie the match and send it into the extra frame before Italy utilized their underrated defense and clutch penalty kicks to secure the victory. Italy stays undefeated in the group with the win and will face Belarus on Friday with a World Cup position on the line. Poland came up huge against one of the tournament favourites but will face a tough Estonia side on Friday, looking to forget this match.
Italy started the match with reckless abandon taking shot s on goal and nearly hitting the back of the onion bag multiple times, however they came up empty-handed in the opening minutes. Poland stayed the course and used a strike from their biggest name in beach soccer, Saganowski, to take the surprising 1-0 lead. Italy did not stop the attack and compiled more and more shots but none scored until the final 30 seconds when Marinai connected on a great overhead right in front of the Poland goal and leveled things at 1 heading into the middle frame. The Polish side was lucky to get out of the first period only giving up one goal but they were not so lucky to begin the second period as Italy scored two great goals from Ramacciotti and Gori to officially forget their 1-0 deficit and turn it into a 3-1 lead going into the middle of the match. Poland got back into proceedings with a great shot from distance on a free kick to put the score 3-2 for Italy, which is how the period would end.
The Italians can do almost anything on a beach soccer pitch and stringing together beautiful passes and shots is definitely in their wheelhouse and the shots looked amazing to begin the period, however they were still having trouble getting past every line of Polish defense. For all of the hard work that Italy put Poland through to keep the score so close, going into the heart of the final period, neither Poland nor Italy had scored another goal. The final minutes had Italy peppering the Polish goalie but Poland were the ones that had a dramatic goal from Ziober that tied the match at 3 with just over a minute left in regulation, which was enough to send this thrilling match into overtime. The overtime was eventful with bookings and shots and crucial saves but all came down to two late penalty kicks that gave Italy the lead and then the cushion goal they needed to finish the match up 5-3.
Goals: 0-1: Saganowski, min. 7 (1); 1-1: Marinai, min. 0 (1); 2-1: Ramacciotti, min. 10 (2); 3-1: Gori, min. 8 (2); 3-2: Friszkemut, min. 3 (2); 3-3: Ziober, min. 1 (3); 4-3: Frainetti, min. 8 (et); 5-3: Palmacci, min. 0 (et).
FIFA BEACH SOCCER WORLD CUP 2015 - EUROPE QUALIFIER JESOLO-ITALY
09:00 - England 2-5 Hungary (Group IV)
10:15 - Ukraine 6-4 Turkey (Group II)
11:30 - Romania 7-4 Greece (Group III)
12:45 - Belarus 3-2 Estonia (Group I)
14:00 - Switzerland 4-2 Azerbaijan (Group IV)
15:15 - Spain 5-4 France (Group II)
16:30 - Russia 2-0 Germany (Group III)
17:45 - Italy 5-3 (aet) Poland (Group I)
09:00 - Azerbaijan vs. Hungary (Group IV)
10:15 – France vs. Turkey (Group II)
11:30 - Germany vs. Greece (Group III)
12:45 - Poland vs. Estonia (Group I)
14:00 - Switzerland vs. England (Group IV)
15:15 - Spain vs. Ukraine (Group II)
16:30 - Russia vs. Romania (Group III)
17:45 - Italy vs. Belarus (Group I)