IBSA Goalball Europeans – now getting tight
Date: November 8, 2013
With the quarter finals now done, it is getting really tight as teams fight for the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships qualification spots and to avoid that last relegation spot.
The 2013 IBSA Goalball European Championships Men & Women A started with some blown out results but quarter finals day promised some tight results and it delivered.
One fine example of this was the match between Spain and Belgium. Spain led 3-0 but you can never count on the Belgians giving up. 1st versus 4th in a quarter final is normally won easily by the 1st ranked team but the Belgians have won from this position before at a major championship and they were determined to do it again. They clawed the match back to 3-3 but this is where their luck ran out. They were given a penalty in the last minute but when the Spanish threw the ball, it was also a penalty. A throw from the Belgians that went wrong resulted in a trickling ball that was easily defended and it remains at 4-4. Play begins, Spain throws again and suddenly it is a goal in normal play. Belgium had time for two or so more throws but it was too late. Spain held on to win.
Another match that went down to the wire was that between Czech Republic and Germany. This match was at 4-4 with little remaining. Sadly for the Czechs, they were given a penalty which the Germans converted. 5-4.
Lithuania was out for revenge for their humiliating loss of the 2011 IBSA Goalball European Championships Men & Women A final and this they got. It wasn’t humiliating but it was a comfortable win. With this, Lithuania, the most consistent team in Goalball move into their eighth straight semi-final of a major tournament (Paralympics, World championships or European Championships A division).
The final mens semi-final place has been taken by host nation, Turkey. They eased past Ukraine 5-3 to keep their dreams alive of improving on their third place result from 2011.
The Turkish women didn’t want the entire spotlight to go to their male counterparts. They also moved into the semi-finals with a very dominant win over Great Britain. This game didn’t even last the distance with Turkey taking the honours 13-3. This match was tight for a period in the first half and Great Britain even had the lead at one time but then the Turks kicked into gear and never looked back.
Finland also created a score line to show that they mean business now. They powered past Spain 8-1.
The final two quarter finals were a lot closer but relatively straight forward. Russia moved past Germany 4
3-1 while Israel outlasted Ukraine 5-4.
Day four also featured the play offs for 9th and 10th place. Slovenia managed to end the tournament on a win with a 1-0 win. It was a double defeat for the Swedish nation as their women also lost to Denmark 6-3.
Friday’s play is semi-final day as well as rankings. This is when the tournament really gets serious. Teams will not only fight today to keep their dream alive of European honours but also qualification spots for the 2014 IBSA Goalball World championships will be filled on day 5. At the other end of the scale, the 5th to 8th ranking positions will be filled. 8th position is the place that the teams will all be out to avoid as that team will also be relegated to IBSA Goalball European B division.
Lithuania and Germany will face off in the first semi-final. This will be a tough match for the Germans but they have nothing to lose and for this reason they will give it their all.
The other semi-final is Spain against Turkey. Both of these teams have plenty of experience now. Spain will be out to get back into the very elite of goalball and qualify for the World Championships. Turkey however has already qualified due to their bronze in London but they want to be European champions in their own country.
The Turkish women will also want the same as well as that qualification spot. Finland has already qualified for the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships as host nation. Both of these teams have been strong throughout the whole tournament and a winner is hard to predict.
The final semi-final is between Russia and Israel. Both of these teams are young teams. Russia has been at this stage before when they won silver at the 2011 IBSA Goalball European Championships Men & Women A. Israel however is now in foreign territory. Will this make a difference, only play on day 5 will tell us.
For the full schedule for day 5, please click on the link at the top of this article.
Men Quarter Finals
Finland 5 Lithuania 9
Spain 4 Belgium 3
Ukraine 3 Turkey 5
Czech Republic 4 Germany 5
Women Quarter Finals
Turkey 13 Great Britain 3
Spain 1 Finland 8
Russia 3 Germany 1
Israel 5 Ukraine 4
Men Sweden 0 Slovenia 1
Women Denmark 6 Sweden 3