Match Day 2 Review
By Doug Reed
The day kicked off with Moldova facing Slovenia. Slovenia were having the majority of the ball but that wasn’t preventing Moldova creating chances. Most opportunities were missed however, largely due to excellent goalkeeping, and the teams ended the half level at 1-1.
In the second period Slovenia got an early goal to take the lead. This helped them grow in confidence and as the game went on they started to find their form. They produced some devastating combination plays leading to simple finishes at the far post and scored several goals in a period of a few minutes to eventually win the game comfortably 7-1. It was Moldova’s second loss but if they can combine their performances from the second half yesterday and the first half today they will be a difficult side to beat.
In the second game of Matchday 2 Iraq took on Poland. Iraq were arguably the most impressive team on the first day but it was Poland that took the lead with a well worked corner set piece. At the next Poland corner Iraq were ready and broke quickly to equalise. Poland would again take the lead when their goalkeeper came out and assisted a goal before Iraq again drew level. Just before the break Poland again tried to bring the goalkeeper out but lost possession and Iraq scored into the empty net.
In the second half Poland pushed to get back in the game but two counter attacks from the quick and direct Iraqis punished them and condemned Poland to a 5-2 loss. Iraq are now in a good position to qualify for the semi-finals and Poland’s chances look very slim.
In the penultimate game of the day Finland played Hungary. There were few chances but 10 minutes in Finland went ahead. Both teams reached 5 fouls and it was Finland who got the first 10m penalty which they scored to give them a 2-goal cushion. Hungary got their own 10 meter penalty but failed to score before converting another shortly after. The half-time score was 2-1 to the Finish.
Both teams added a goal to their tally halfway through the second half. After Hungary reached 5 fouls again. They had three opportunities from the 10 meter spot but all were missed. Hungary used the fly goalkeeper for the last 5 minutes and were creating lots of opportunities to score, getting the equaliser with just under four minutes to go. At the final whistle the scores were level at 3-3.
The final game was the two Balkan neighbours, Serbia and Croatia. It was a very tight and tense affair, not surprising given the historic rivalry of the two nations. Croatia enjoyed the majority of the possession as Serbia’s defence didn’t engage in their opponent’s half. They both attempted to use 1v1 situations to break through the well-disciplined defences in front of them.
However, neither team was able to open the scoring, with some superb goalkeeping coming to the rescue any time a rare scoring opportunity arose. The opening goal came with just 2 minutes and 20 seconds on the clock when a Croatian corner was deflected into the Serbian goal by an unfortunate and helpless defender. Serbia used the fly goalkeeper in a desperate attempt to get something from the game but were unsuccessful and Croatia earned a narrow 1-0 victory.
That concluded another superb day of futsal and tomorrow the final group positions will be decided before we move on to the second phase of these championships.