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Goalball: Ukraine is the new European champion and gets the slot to Paris 2024

Date: December 16, 2023

Category: Goalball

The men’s Goalball national team of Ukraine is the new European champion! The Ukrainian squad defeated the former owner of the title, Lithuania (8-3), and also got the qualification slot to Paris 2024.

The result can surprise everyone who followed all the competition and missed the final, but Ukraine learned from its own mistakes, lost the only match that Montenegro won, and presented a five-start defence in the end against one of the most powerful attacks in the world.

The match almost started with a penalty for a long ball from Lithuania, which Rodion Zhyhalin converted. Actually, Zhyhalin was the hero of the first half, scoring the three goals with which Ukraine left halftime on the lead. Justas Pazarauskas managed to equalise, but Zhyhalin was on fire! During the first half, the Lithuanian star, Genrik Pavliukianec, missed two penalties (one defended, another one out).

The second half kicked off with the fourth Ukrainian goal, scored by Vasyl Oliinyk, followed almost immediately by the fifth, this time by Anton Strelchyk, the hero of the second half with three goals. By that time, 5-1 was a heavy score for Lithuania, which looks like Ukraine is their own kryptonite! Mantas Brazaukis managed to score two goals, but nothing that would shake the confidence of the Ukraine team.

There was high tension in the women’s final between Israel and Türkiye. The ball started with the Paralympic and World Champions, and in the first throw, the first goal. Israel replied immediately and not only managed to equalise but led the scorer with 2-1, but the Turkish ladies, in three minutes, scored three goals and took the leadership from Israel and never gave it away until the end. They still got the 5-2 before halftime. The rest of the match was just under control.

It was a great ladies’ final, and the best prize for the teams is that they will both be in Paris 2024.

In the men’s bronze match, Israel got the lead early by 2-0, but Türkiye managed to reply effectively with three goals in a row, right before halftime. On the second half, the Turkish team showed more experience, holding very well to the result, although the difference was dangerously in one goal. In the last minute, because Israel took higher risks to equalise, Türkiye scored two more goals, the last one just one second before the final whistle.

A special remark to Israel, which came from Division B as champion and fought for the bronze medal until the last breath. Outstanding performance!

In the women’s bronze decision, the single goal scored by Greek left winger Vicky Ago gave Greece the medal. The Helenic squad was very focused on defence and had all the patience in the world to strike in the right moments, even with few chances to do it. Great Britain missed a penalty at the beginning of the second half and never managed to break the Greek wall. Nevertheless, one special word for the tremendous performance of Great Britain throughout the competition.

Check out the results of the finals and the final standings:

Saturday, 16th
7th place
Germany vs Ukraine: 2-4

5th place
Finland vs France: 3-0

Great Britain vs Greece: 0-1

Israel vs Türkiye: 4-8

7th place
Greece vs Great Britain: 3-5

5th place
Germany vs Finland: 8-2

Israel vs Türkiye: 2-5

Ukraine vs Lithuania: 8-3

Final standings
1st – Ukraine
2nd – Lithuania
3rd – Türkiye
4th – Israel
5th – Germany
6th – Finland
7th – Great Britain
8th – Greece
9th – Belgium
10th – Montenegro
1st – Türkiye
2nd – Israel
3rd – Greece
4th – Great Britain
5th – Finland
6th – France
7th – Ukraine
8th – Germany
9th – Hungary

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