Paralympic champions Turkey knocked out world title-holders the USA in their women’s quarter-final match-up at the 2018 IBSA Goalball World Championships in Malmö, Sweden, on Thursday (7 June).
Turkey dominated thanks to Sevda Altunoluk – their talented attacker – who scored 10 goals out of a 12-2 score line that shook the Baltiska Hallen.
The USA’s Lisa Czechowski and Paralympian Asya Miller managed replies in the first half, but the deficit was 7-2 after 12 minutes.
The USA could not find another way through. After a further four powerful strikes from Altunoluk hit the back of the US net, Zeynap Cikla scored Turkey’s 12th goal to end the match by default.
“Firstly I am very happy to win this game and America is very powerful team, but we are also a powerful team,” Altunoluk said. “But we were just successful for this game. We knew it before but we didn’t expect a 10 point difference!”
Speaking about her hopes for the semi-final game against Brazil, Altunoluk simply said: “We will win!”
Brazil’s semi-final spot is the furthest they have ever got at a World Championships after they beat Australia.
Ana Carolina Custodio played a starring role once again with her incredible backwards shot through her legs. The technique resulted in four goals, plus another from Gleyse Henrique.
Custodio said: “I’m very happy. This is for sure the best result that we had until now. We know we have more games to reach the final but we are very happy with the result. We are very happy to be here, so this is very special for us.”
Brodie Smith and Meica Christensen scored for the Australians in a close 5-2 score line that only opened up towards the end of the second half.
Canada continue their search for their fourth medal at this level after just edging Japan 3-2 in their quarter-final.
Buoyed by their group stage win over title holders the USA on Wednesday (6 June), the 2006 world champions and 2010 bronze medallists impressed on court once again.
Japan opened the scoring but later threw away the two goal lead that Eiko Kakehata and Saki Amuro had built. Star striker Emma Reinke bagged two goals to bring the score level for Canada at the first whistle.
A goalless second half meant the match went into extra time. Reinke was the difference once again for the Canadians, crashing through the Japanese defence to find the back of the net once more.
Canada will now play Russia on Friday for a place in the final.
Russia, the 2014 World Championships silver medallists, faced Algeria in their quarter-final. A low scoring first half finished level at 1-1. Irina Arestova had found the back of the net for Russia but Benallou Bakhta answered for Algeria.
The Russians dominated the second half, scoring four goals; three for Evgeniya Semina and one for Arina Gerasimova. The final result was 5-1 as Russia reached a comfortable victory.
In the men’s quarter-finals Paralympic champions Lithuania claimed a convincing victory over 2014 Worlds bronze medallists the USA.
In a repeat of the Rio 2016 Paralympic final Lithuania were the first to score. Justas Pazarauskas found a way through the USA defence and Mantas Panovas followed-up a few minutes later.
The USA were determined to halt the charge of their opponents and Joseph Hamilton bought the score level with two great goals. Hamilton then did the same again, responding to another goal from Panovas.
But the Lithuanians were too strong for the US defence. In a series of great plays, Panovas added three more before Pazarauskas netted Lithuania’s final goal to end the match 7-2 up.
Lithuania’s Nerijus Montvydas said: “In the first half we slowly gained point by point and the defence was very good. Then we got a lead and we repeated the Paralympic final and we won.”
Lithuania will now play Brazil in the semi-final.
The Brazilians broke Swedish hearts by beating the hosts 9-3 in their quarter-final.
Sweden secured the first goal courtesy of Magnus Rendahl to give the home supporters a boost.
But the visitors began to pound the Swedes with a series of powerful throws from Leomon Moreno. The crowd gasped every time a Brazilian ball bounced off a Swedish chest before it finally rolled in off the post to level the score.
Moreno scored a penalty after a noise infraction by Sweden. Another of his shots then bounced in from the poles to bring the score to 3-1. Josemarcio Sousa rounded off Brazil’s scoring in the first half but Fatmir Seremeti responded with a goal of his own before the whistle.
Brazil had to wait a long while to hit the back of the Swedish net for a fifth time after a tense period of no scoring. A successful penalty shot against Sweden followed shortly after to bring the score to 6-2 and the hosts struggled to respond. A tired piece of defending let in a seventh goal and the Brazilians added another two to bring their total to nine.
Seremeti buried the ball into the Brazilian net as a consolation prize and the game ended 9-3.
“Of course a defeat is always a defeat, it doesn’t matter against who. I believe they thought this game would be easier than it was. We gave them a fight for it but it just wasn’t good enough this time" Seremeti said.
Sending a message to the fans who have come to watch his team play over the last four days, he continued: “We love our fans very, very much. Without [them] we wouldn’t have got to the quarter finals so we are really, really glad to have had this opportunity to play in our home ground. We’re just sorry we couldn’t make it further this time but it’s like that sometimes. Sports is tough. Someone’s got to win and someone’s got to lose and this time it was us.”
In the other men’s quarter-finals Belgium continued their incredible unbeaten run with an 8-1 win over Iran.
Klison Mapreni got the Belgians on the board before adding a further three in the first half. Bruno Vanhove also scored to put Belgium 5-0 up at half time.
Iran tried to come back in the second half with a successful strike from Mohsen Jalilvandshirkhanitabar. But that was all the Iranians could manage against an in-form Belgian team. Vanhove brought the score to 8-1 at full time to secure his team’s place in the semi-final against Germany.
Germany went unanswered against China secure their semi-final place on Friday.
A hat-trick from Oliver Horauf, was followed by goals from Thomas Steiger and Michael Feistle in the first half. Feistle added a further three for the Germans to bring the score to 8-0.
The semi-finals of the 2018 IBSA Goalball World Championships will take place on Friday morning. The medal matches get underway at 1pm local time.
Matches are being played across two venues on the same complex - the Baltiska Hallen and Baltiska träningshallen. The medallists from both the men's and women's will qualify for Tokyo 2020.
A livestream and results are available at www.wcg18.se
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