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Italy thrill, but Russia emerge golden

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The best Beach Soccer images of Baku 2015

Beach Soccer | Best of Baku 2015
Egor Shaikov of Russia celebrates as he scores their first goal during the Men's Beach Soccer gold medal match between Italy and Russia. Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 28: Sabir Allahguliyev of Azerbaijan and Norbert Sebestyen of Hungary of compete in the Men's Beach Soccer Classification 7-8 match during day sixteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at Beach Arena on June 28, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 28: Gabriele Gori (10) of Italy and Anton Shkarin (7) of Russia compete during the Men's Beach Soccer gold medal match between Italy and Russia on day sixteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at Beach Arena on June 28, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 28: Nuno Belchior (10) of Portugal celebrates with Jordan Santos as he scores their sixth goal during the Men's Beach Soccer bronze medal match between Switzerland and Portugal on day sixteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at Beach Arena on June 28, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 28: Goalkeeper Emin Kurdov #1 of Azerbaijan leaps for the ball in the Men's Beach Soccer Classification 7-8 match during day sixteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at Beach Arena on June 28, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 27: Sabir Allahguliyev of Azerbaijan and Nicolas Alvarado of Spain battle for the ball during the Men's Beach Soccer play off 5th/8th place match between Spain and Azerbaijan on day fifteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at the Beach Arena on June 27, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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Paolo Palmacci of Italy (11) makes a spectacular attempt on goal. David Ramos/Getty Images
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 28: A dancer entertains the crowd during the Men's beach Soccer classification 5-6 match between Ukraine and Spain on day sixteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at Beach Arena on June 28, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 28: Oleksandr Korniichuk (11) and Oleg Zborovskyi (9) of Ukraine celebrate during the Men's beach Soccer classification 5-6 match between Ukraine and Spain on day sixteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at Beach Arena on June 28, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 25: Bruno Torres of Portugal and Dmytro Medved of Ukraine battle for the ball during the Men's Beach Soccer Group A match between Portugal and Ukraine on day thirteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at the Beach Arena on June 25, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Harry Engels/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 25: Salvador Ardil of Spain and Gabor Simonyi of Hungary chase the ball during the Men's Beach Soccer Group B match between Spain and Hungary on day thirteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at the Beach Arena on June 25, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Harry Engels/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 27: Dejan Stankovic of Switzerland and Giuseppe Platania of Italy compete for the ball in the Men's semi final match during day fifteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at the Beach Arena on June 27, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 28: Andrii Borsuk (6) of Ukraine shoots uring the Men's beach Soccer classification 5-6 match between Ukraine and Spain on day sixteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at Beach Arena on June 28, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 25: Juan Manuel Martin of Spain (5) celebrates with team mates Jose Antonio Mayor (3) and Daniel Pajon (8) during the Men's Beach Soccer Group B match between Spain and Hungary on day thirteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at the Beach Arena on June 25, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Harry Engels/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 28: Nuno Belchior (10) of Portugal shoots at goalkeeper Nico Stadler (1) of Switzerland during the Men's Beach Soccer bronze medal match between Switzerland and Portugal on day sixteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at Beach Arena on June 28, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 25: A general view during the beach soccer first round Group A match between Azerbaijan and Switzerland on day thirteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at the Beach Arena on June 25, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Harry Engels/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 25: Paolo Palmacci of Italy attempts an overhead kick as Yury Krasheninnikov of Russia challenges during the Men's Beach Soccer Group B match between Russia and Italy on day thirteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at the Beach Arena on June 25, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Harry Engels/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 27: Gabriele Gori of Italy lines up a shot on goal under pressure from Samuel Lutz in the Men's semi final match during day fifteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at the Beach Arena on June 27, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 28: Viktor Fekete of Hungary (7) celebrates with team mates after scoring a goal against Azerbaijan in the Men's Beach Soccer Classification round during day sixteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at Beach Arena on June 28, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 28: Portugal players celebrate winning bronze after the Men's Beach Soccer bronze medal match between Switzerland and Portugal on day sixteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at Beach Arena on June 28, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 28: Elvin Eguliyev of Azerbaijan (r) celebrates scoring a goal in the Men's Beach Soccer Classification match during day sixteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at Beach Arena on June 28, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 24: Russia line up prior to the Men's Beach Soccer Group B match between Hungary and Russia on day twelve of the Baku 2015 European Games at the Beach Arena on June 24, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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A review of Beach Soccer at the Baku 2015 European Games

The Beach Soccer tournament provided the Baku 2015 European Games with a laid-back glamour – and a hatful of wonderful goals – that delighted the lively crowds at the Beach Arena.

In between the pumping music, dancing girls and shouting MCs, there were football skills of the highest order to be appreciated. Every day produced an array of wonder goals, with each team chipping in with a few of their own.

But when it came down to the serious business of winning matches and medals, the world’s no.1 team asserted its authority – eventually.

Russia had a hiccup, losing 6-4 to Italy, the surprise winners of the ‘group of death’, in the group stages. This forced them into a showdown with world no.5 Spain for second place and a semi-final berth. Russia won 5-3 and overcame world no.4 Portugal in the last four.

The Portuguese had topped group A with a 100 per cent record, ahead of Switzerland. In fact, Portugal recorded two 6-5 wins over the world no.3 team – first in their group match, then for in the bronze medal play-off.

The likeable Italians had been inspired by forward Gabriele Gori, while Russia were indebted to goalkeeper Andrey Bukhlitskiy, especially in their narrow 2-1 semi-final win over Portugal.

“Bukhlitskiy was incredible,” said Portugal captain Madjer. “We played a great match and we had lots of opportunities to score, but he was like half of the Russian team.”

In the final, Russia’s organisation and structure told as they took a 3-0 led. Although spirited Italians mounted a fightback to 3-2, the damage had already been done.

Portugal’s Nuno Belchior finished top scorer on eight goals, one ahead of Italy’s Gori. 

 


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    Italy thrill, but Russia emerge golden

    A review of Beach Soccer at the Baku 2015 European Games
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    Russia beat Italy for Beach Soccer gold

    Portugal take bronze after dramatic match with Switzerland
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    Italy to face Russia in Beach Soccer final

    Striker Gori inspires underdogs, while goalkeeper Bukhlitskiy is key for favourites
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    Mistakes sink Spain as Russia advance

    Winners-take-all clash sees Russia advance to the semis, while Spain crash out
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    Switzerland and Italy reach semi-finals

    Swiss scored five in nine minutes to reach the semis, while Italy win 5-4
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    Italy stun Russia to set up tense Beach Soccer finale

    Gori double turns game on its head and now Russia face Spanish showdown
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    Iberian favourites survive scares

    Portugal and Spain staged comebacks to end in strong position for semis
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