IBSA World Games Goalball – down to four
Date: May 17, 2015
Following Saturday’s play at the 2015 IBSA World Games the four mens and women medal contenders were determined. Teams were giving it their all as they fight for the highest end position to give themselves the best chance to qualify for Rio 2016.
The first of the male quarter finals was that between Czech Republic and China. Until this point Czech Republic had been totally dominant and in control. However, at many tournaments recently the Czechs have gone down in the quarter final stage and once again this occurred. The Chinese had control of this match and took it 8-3.
The what could be viewed as an upset in the quarter finals continued in the next match. It was Iran against Sweden. Sweden has obviously been working into the tournament and knowing when to peak. There good form continued and they were able to cruise to a comfortable 9-2 victory.
Lithuania versus Germany was next on the schedule. These two teams have played each other many times and know each other well. The Lithuanians have a reputation for bringing their best form to the quarter final stage of a major tournament and they didn’t disappoint. They took this match in efficient fashion, 11-1.
Save the best for last, well that was the case with the male quarter finals. This was the closest match of the four; Paralympic bronze medalists, Turkey, taking on the rising Japan. Turkey took the initial lead in this match but Japan came back and took over the lead. This time it was Turkey’s turn to reclaim the lead. Japan equalized 5-5 and it was game on. It was Gunddogdu from Turkey who made that final goal that sealed the victory 6-5.
Japan versus China was the first of the women’s quarter finals. These two nations have a long history and this match was just another chapter. The result ended at 1-0, the same as in London during the final but this time it was a Ju goal that gave China the victory.
Next up was Finland against who some may think the surprising Australians. Well no one was perhaps more surprised than the Finns. Excellent defense from the Australians and 4 goals from Meica Horsburgh were the vital elements to an Australia win, 4-0.
The Canadian women have a long history of competing at the Paralympic Games and they were not about to let their quarter final opponents, Greece, getting in their way. A determined team spear headed by the experienced Nancy Morin lifted them to a 4-1 victory.
Last but certainly not least was the quarter final match between Israel and Great Britain. Israel lost at this stage at the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships but they were not going to let history repeat itself. The women came out with fierce determination and ran to a 4-1 victory over Great Britain assisted by a Ben David hat trick.
Following the quarter final action, it was time for the semifinals. First up on the mens side was China facing Sweden. Chen and Shau for China were on fire throughout this match and Sweden could not hold them out. China took this match easily 8-1.
The final men’s match for the day was Lithuania against Turkey. Lithuania continued with their finals form and swept past Turkey 11-7.
China versus Australia was the first of the women’s semifinals. This time the great wall that is the Chinese defense held strong and the Australians were not able to keep the Chinese from scoring. China took this match quite comfortably in the end 6-0. They scored three goals in each half.
The final semifinal was between Israel and Canada. Israel made the first goal and then was equalized by a Morin bullet. However Israel scored the next two goals and despite all efforts Canada could no longer catch up. The score ended 4-3 to Israel.
This means that the mens bronze medal match will be Turkey against Sweden and the gold medal match will be between Lithuania and China. These last two nations have a history as they met in the 2008 Paralympic final which China won and the 2010 World Championships which Lithuania won. They also met in the quarter final stage in London which was an easy victory for the Europeans.
Women’s medal matches sees Australia meeting Canada and the gold medal match will be between China and Israel.