13 years after their one and only European title and eight years after their final defeat to Portugal, the National Beach Soccer Team today beat Spain 9-8 after a dramatic Superfinal that went to penalties at the Euro Beach Soccer League. When Simone Del Mestre saved the final penalty, Emiliano Del Duca’s Azzurri side could finally explode with joy, embracing each other on the Alghero sand. This triumph came after they also qualified for the 2019 Minsk European Games two days ago, ultimately achieved thanks to wins over reigning European Champions Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Spain.
“This European victory for Del Duca’s Azzurri side gives us great joy,” said Extraordinary Commissioner Roberto Fabbricini. “The National Beach Soccer Team is a piece of excellence for the FIGC and plays a full role amongst the Italian football family. There is great joy in this European achievement that’s been missing for 13 years. I want to congratulate everyone involved, the players and staff, who along with the amateur leagues, always believed in this discipline and have been at the forefront of organising top international events.”
Coach Emiliano Del Duca was clearly emotional after the win. Previously in charge of Terracina for a number of years, he has since secured his first international title during his first year in charge of the Azzurri: “I dedicate this to all the fans of Beach Soccer, this sport is marvellous, just like the lads have been.”
As for the final itself, which was a remake of the third-place playoff that took place exactly a year ago, the first half was relatively subdued. However, Italy took the lead midway through the second period thanks to a set-piece from Alessio Frainetti. However, this lead lasted just four minutes as Llorenc levelled with a super strike. A similar situation then took place in the third period, as Palmacci put his team back in front with a penalty – his 204th goal for the National Team – before Llorenc was the man to equalise once again. The game then headed to penalties after extra-time, with Chiavaro, Gori, Zurlo, Corosiniti, Frainetti, Palazzolo and Palmacci all finding the back of the net. The final save from Simone Del Mestre then sealed it, as he dived to keep out José Enrique and duly send Italy into paradise.
Italy-Spain 9-8 pen (0-0; 1-1; 1-1; 0-0)
Italy: Carpita, Chiavaro, Marinai, Ramacciotti, Corosiniti (Cap.), Zurlo, Gori, Palmacci, Palazzolo, Frainetti, Del Mestre. Coach: Emiliano Del Duca
Spain: Dona, Antonio, Cintas, F. Guisado, Adri Frutos, Eduard, Llorenc, Chiky, David, Josè Enrique, Pablo. Coach: Joaquin Alonso
Referees: Pereira Almeida (Por), Borisevics (Let), Guenther (Ger). Crono: Utulu (Mal)
Goalscorers: 7’st Frainetti (I), 10’st Llorenc (S); 9’tt pen. Palmacci (I), 9’tt Llorenc (S)
Penalty takers: Chiavaro (I) goal; Llorenc (S) goal; Gori (I) goal; Antonio (S) goal; Zurlo (I) goal; Chiky (S) goal; Corosiniti (I) goal; Cintas (S) goal; Frainetti (I) goal; Eduard (S) goal; Palazzolo (I) goal; Adri Frutos (S) goal; Palmacci (I) goal; Josè Enrique (S) parato
Results from the Finals of the Euro Beach Soccer League
Final 7°/8° place: Azerbaijan-Ukraine 1-5
Final 5°/6° place: Switzerland-Belarus 5-7
Final 3°/4° place: Portugal-Russia 7-6 pens (4-4)
Final 1°/2° place: ITALY-Spain 9-8 pens (2-2)