Hosts Germany reach finals as Israel and Ukraine qualify for Tokyo 2020
Date: October 13, 2019
Germany will play Ukraine and Israel will face Turkey in the final at the 2019 International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Goalball European Championships A in Rostock on Sunday (13 October).
As well as shots on gold, the Ukrainian men and Israel women have also booked their tickets to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Hosts Germany reached a second successive European Championships final with a dramatic 4-3 victory in extra time over defending champions and Paralympic title-holders Lithuania.
Michael Feistle grabbed the winner, completing his hat-trick and Oliver Horauf also netted with Mantas Panovas getting all of Lithuania’s goals.
In one of the games of the competition, the hosts saw off Greece 4-3 in the quarter-finals while Lithuania had dispatched Belgium 10-3.
In a rematch of the 2017 final, Germany had the best of the opening period but saw Horauf miss two penalties, given for long ball infringements.
Panovas also flicked an effort onto the post before Feistle finally made the breakthrough with a fierce diagonal into the right-hand corner.
The hosts cleared off their own line before Horauf immediately gave them a two goal lead at the interval with a searing drive down the centre.
Lithuania hit back in the second half though to level with a brace from Panovas including one flashing effort past Rogge, seconds after Thomas Steiger had hit the post.
Germany’s form continued as Feistle saw his penalty saved. But he made no mistake with 10 seconds remaining before Lithuania stunned their opponents, Panovas levelling immediately.
Lithuania were penalised for delaying the restart and Feistle fired home, sending Germany to the final and ensuring Lithuania would not be there for the first time since 2005.
Ukraine will face the Germans in the final after they shocked Turkey 3-1 to reach their maiden group A Euros final.
A Rodin Zhyhalin double added to a Vasyl Oliinyk strike sealed a brilliant comeback which also secured qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, after Huseyin Alkan had put Turkey ahead.
It was a tight first-half with both defences battling to resist, Oleksandr Toporkov for Ukraine and Turkey’s Tuncay Karakaya being called into action.
The deadlock was broken seconds before half-time with Alkan thumping a drive down the centre splitting Zhyhalin and Toporkov.
The side promoted from group B last year restored parity minutes into the second period. Oliinyk flashed a low drive into the net and they took the lead through Zhyhalin spinning a shot into the corner.
Zhyhalin struck again with a powerful effort and Turkey missed a penalty, as Fedir Dubrovin’s men held on for one of their best ever victories.
Following their triumph Fedir Sydorenko said: “We are very happy because it’s so breathtaking and I can't find the words to explain it.”
In day’s other games Finland had also edged past Greece 12-10. They finished 5th after beating Belgium 10-5 in the afternoon.
Spain finished the men’s European championships in seventh place after beating Greece 10-3.
Felix Vargas and Javier Serrato both scored four times with Nicolas Verdejo and Juan Carlos Garcia also netting. Charalampos Kordakis’ brace and Athanasios Chatzipandou replied for Greece.
Chatzipandou gave Greece an early lead but they were pegged back when he saw Vargas’’s effort bounce beyond his despairing dive.
Spain’s Nicolas Verdejo then produced an excellent tip onto the post at full stretch to deny Kordakis and they led when he fired in diagonally off left-hand post.
Vargas gave Spain a two goal lead at the break when his shot was too hot to handle for Altin Leshi.
However the deficit was halved as Kordakis thundered a drive home and he levelled after his shot was deflected in off Vargas.
Spain regained the lead when Kordakis failed to keep out a diagonal effort from Vargas and restored the two goal lead through Serrato.
Their safety was secured when Vargas drove home his fourth and Serrato matched his teammate’s haul.
They hit double figures as Garcia fired in to ensure Spain finished with a flourish.
Israel qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games with a 4-3 win over Great Britain.
Lihi Ben David’s scored all of the goals for the team, who also made their first European Championships final having won bronze at several previous editions.
Kali Holder netted three for Great Britain.
Israel took the lead when Ben David’s shot hit Holder and bounced in off the crossbar.
Holder made amends when she saw her effort inadvertently flicked into the net off the outstretched foot of Roni Ohayan.
She then saw her penalty blocked as the teams went left the court level at the break.
Great Britain’s number six gave her side the lead, but the 2017 bronze medalists levelled through a Ben David penalty.
Israel were unfortunate to fall behind soon after when Gal Hamrani stretched to block but only succeeded in diverting it past Mizrahi.
However, they remained in the contest with two penalty saves from Ben David either side of Hamrani tipping one onto the post.
They made the most of their fortune when Ben David sealed her hat-trick with a firm finish down the centre and when she netted her fourth, it confirmed a momentous victory.
After his team’s victory, Israel coach Vered Abenaim said: “It is a dream, being the first time for us and it is really exciting. We had to cope with a lot of pressure today.”
Turkey will contest a fourth successive final following a 7-0 victory over Germany.
Sevda Altunoluk scored a first-half hat-trick before adding four more in the second period as Turkey look to win gold for the first time since 2015.
They had previously overcome Finland 10-0 to reach the last four with Germany edging past Greece 4-3.
A vocal German crowd were silenced as the hosts fell behind when Sevda’s shot bounced over Pia Knaute and a carbon copy effort extended the lead.
Sevda completed an impressive hat-trick when her drive deflected off Charlotte Hartz’s outstretched foot.
Turkey’s place in the final was effectively sealed when their talismanic number 3 fired a spinning diagonal into the right-hand corner.
Their lead soon stretched to five before the home side missed the chance for a consolation, Hartz seeing her penalty flash wide.
Two more goals from Sevda then made it 17 unanswered goals in the knock-out rounds for Yildirim Guclu’s side. They will play Israel on Sunday (13 October) for gold.
Over at OSPA-Arena, Russia beat Finland 10-0 and ended the competition in 5th place after they later dispatched Ukraine 9-2.
Ukraine had reached the 5th place play-off by beating Greece 4-3.
Greece women finished the European championships in seventh place, after a 3-0 win over Finland.
Two goals from Vasiliki Agko and a late penalty from Konstantina Driva ensured Greece stayed in group A following their promotion last year.
Agko opened the scoring as her low shot crept between Susanna Halme and Lisa Kaupila and she doubled her tally after Kaupila was penalised for a high ball.
Trailing by two goals at half-time, Finland missed the chance to strike back when Krista Leppanen saw her penalty saved by Driva.
Petri Posio’s side rarely looked like completing the turnaround required to stay in group A. Despite Agko missing a penalty for her hat-trick, their fate was sealed when Driva made no mistake following a high ball infringement.
Giving an honest view after the match, Finland’s Kaisu Hynninen said: “Our next game will be in a long time but we have to improve our defensive game a little bit more and also to get our attack stronger.”
Ten men’s and 10 women’s teams from 15 countries have gone for titles in Rostock, with the added bonus of Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games slots for those teams not already qualified.
The competition is being shown live on the IBSA YouTube channel.
Results are available at the official Championships website here.
The 2019 IBSA Goalball European Championships Group A began with three days of group games between 8-10 October. The quarter-finals for both men’s and women’s took place on 11 October followed by the semi-finals on 12 October.
The medal games conclude competition on Sunday 13 October.
Games are taking place in two venues: The Rostock Stadthalle and OSPA Arena with Stadthalle staging the finals.