IBSA Goalball Europeans B – old rivals to reunite
Date: September 30, 2014
Semifinal action and placing matches were on the schedule during day 4 of the 2014 IBSA Goalball European Championships Men & Women B.
The day begun with the women’s semi-finals with the match between Sweden and Hungary. The close matches on the women’s side continued but Sweden continued their unbeaten run with a 2-0 victory.
Next on the program was the game between Denmark and Greece. Denmark was able to power past the Greece defense and took this match 4-1.
This means that both Denmark and Sweden have secured their places back at next year’s A Championships and will meet in the final. This will be just another chapter in the saga that is Danish and Swedish goalball. These two teams have met so many times that one cannot count anymore and both will be fighting hard to take the prize. Meanwhile Greece and Hungary will fight it out for that final ticket to Lithuania next year.
The 5th/8th placing matches on the men’s side were also very entertaining today. It was Denmark who provided us with the most entertainment. They were involved in two matches that went to overtime. At this point we choose to remind you that goalball has a golden goal system during overtime. While Poland had a reasonably comfortable win over Portugal in their play off (11-7) Denmark and Hungary were fighting it out to the end. When Denmark and Hungary met during the opening match of the tournament, these two teams could not be separated. At that time a winner was not required but at this stage it was. Once again the match was evenly played and the two teams could not be separated at full time. However the home team were able to get that final goal and ensure they stay in B division.
If one match going to golden goal wasn’t enough to get the adrenaline pumping then for the thrill seekers, Denmark assisted in providing us with an extra rush. This time it was against Portugal in the fight for 7th place and to stay in B division. Once again the scores were locked at full time. This time it was 6-6. In a turn of events, this time it was Denmark who made that final goal and will remain in B division. Portugal will join Italy and Russia at next year’s 2015 IBSA Goalball European Championships Men C to be held in Malmö, Sweden, next February.
The entertaining play off matches just kept on coming after this. Next Poland and Hungary provided us with a tight tussle. The Hungarians wanted to end their tournament with a win in front of their home audience but unfortunately they were unable to do this. The Poles grabbed the fifth place title with a one goal difference 9-8.
Finally we turned our attentions to the men semifinals. First up was Slovenia and Israel. Slovenia had some mixed results while Israel had been dominant in all their matches. However Slovenia were on and the Israeli’s could not keep up with them. It was a close match but Slovenia were just a bit stronger and won 10-8.
The second semifinal was closer then perhaps expected and both teams defended extremely well. The Ukrainians used all their experience that they had gained at the World Championships against the seasoned campaigners, Sweden. In the end the experience of Sweden got them over the line and they just made it past Ukraine 4-3.
This means that Ukraine and Israel will meet for the bronze medal and that promotion spot and Sweden and Slovenia for the gold. When Slovenia and Sweden met in the round robin they couldn’t be separated. These two teams have a long history and have met many times so it is impossible to pick a winner.
If today’s matches are anything to go by, we can be guaranteed of a thrilling final day tomorrow.
Men 5th/8th placing
Denmark 7 Hungary 8
Poland 11 Portugal 7
Denmark 7 Portugal 6
Poland 9 Hungary 8
Slovenia 10 Israel 8
Sweden 4 Ukraine 3
Great Britain 5 Belgium 1
Denmark 4 Greece 1
Sweden 2 Hungary 0
Women Bronze medal Greece v Hungary
Men Bronze medal
Women Gold medal Denmark v Sweden
Men Gold medal