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Portugal win gold in dramatic final at goalball Euros B

Date: June 10, 2024

Category: Uncategorized

Fabio Oliveira and his Portuguese teammates starred in an incredible victory against a Montenegro team on the march at the 2024 International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Goalball European Championships B in Lignano Sabbiadoro, Italy, on Monday (10 June).

Both sides were competing for honours having already secured coveted spots in the Pool A with their places in the final.

After a shaky start to the tournament where they lost to Sweden in their opening group match, Montenegro entered the final as the favourites. However Portugal held a similar record, only dropping one match as they progressed through the rounds to find themselves in the gold medal match.

Joao Mota got Portugal off the board under one minute in but Montenegro had an almost immediate response thanks for Nikola Nikolic.

Montenegro then added three more goals to put some clean air between themselves and their opponents at half-time.

With no changes made in the break, both sides showed they were confident in their line-ups at the restart.

Portugal took some time to get themselves in order but when they did, they added three goals before Fabio Oliveira equalled the score from a penalty after a careless long ball from Montenegro.

Milos Ranitovic resisted the mounting pressure on his side, keeping his head to give them the lead once again shortly after they had lost it and Nikolic followed to add one more.

Several more goals followed, but Montenegro retained a slender edge at 6-5. That was until Oliveira powered an effort across the court with seconds left on the clock. It went right through the middle of the Montenegro defence to bring Portugal level once more and send the game into extra time.

Oliveira was then then hero once again, finding the back of the net to score the golden goal and hand his team the victory.

In the bronze medal game, Poland faced France with the final promotion spot to the A-Pool also on offer.

The French came into the tournament in a unique position compared to other teams. Despite not being a member of goalball’s top flight, the side will compete at the Paralympic this summer as the hosts.

But far from using that as an excuse to sit back, France were determined to show their growing skill and game play as they came into the tournament.

Only two goals separated the sides at the half-time whistle, leaving it all to play for.

But Poland also had a not-so-secret weapon – Marcin Czerwinski. Czerwinski was chasing the tournament’s top scorer accolade, entering the game eight goals short of Greece’s Athanasios Chatzipantou 38 goals. Mere seconds into the second-half, the Polish attacker was within three goals of that position and then bought himself to within one before agonisingly being substituted with less than one minute on the clock.

Nevertheless, Czerwinski will console himself with the fact that Poland emerged the victors in the end, securing the bronze and promotion with a 12-6 scoreline.

Poland, Portugal and Montenegro will all be promoted to the A pool for next season, giving them a chance to qualify for the LA 2028 Paralympic Games if they remain in the top flight.

Greece finished fifth with Chatzipantou retaining his position as top scorer by the narrowest of margins. Oliveira was awarded Best Player and France’s Elias Ouni was awarded Best Junior Player.

Denmark were sixth, followed by Spain in seventh, Belgium in eighth, Italy in ninth and Sweden in tenth.

With the final results, the Italians and Swedish teams were relegated to division C for next season.

The 2024 IBSA Goalball European Championships B took place from 30 May – 10 June. The women’s competition was held the week before with Germany winning the title, Poland finishing second and Spain taking third. These three teams will also be promoted to the A pool for 2025.

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