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Final pretournament round up before IBSA Goalball Worlds

It’s hard to believe but there are only a few days until the 2014 IBSA Goalball World championships begin.
 
Before heading straight to Espoo, the expressway to Espoo made three final detours. One was to Malmö Sweden for the 2014 Malmö Men and Lady InterCup.  The second was to Poland for the4th International tournament Suprasl. The final detour took us all the way to China for the 1st APC Cup held in Hangzhou.
 
One very positive note about all three of these tournaments was that they all had a female and male division.
 
Malmö InterCups
Over the weekend of 30 May 1 June 8 mens and 11 women’s national teams came together for the 2014 Malmö Men and Lady InterCups.
 
Men InterCup
Pool A in the male division consisted of Germany, Hungary, Israel and Sweden. The pool was topped by Israel which for many may had been viewed as a surprise. However, this was not done easily. They had two very close wins. One was an 8-6 win over Germany and the other an 8-7 win over Sweden.
 
Pool B was topped by Ukraine. This team who have qualified for the World Championships were out for a positive tournament and this happened. They won all their pool matches convincingly. Unfortunately for the Ukrainians, this is where the positive tournament ended.
 
Following the initial pool stage, the top two teams and bottom two teams from each pool were split into two new pools. The top pool played for the title. Germany ended up being successful here.
 
Second place went to Israel followed by Great Britain and Ukraine. The lower pool finished with Sweden ahead of Belgium, Hungary and Denmark.
 
The host nation was able to take one title that was of highest goal scorer in the male division. Fatmir Seremeti was number one with 28 goals.
 
Lady InterCup
Pool A was full of young exciting teams. Turkey led the way followed by Spain, Ukraine, Great Britain, Belgium and Finland.
 
Turkey had always the potential to dominate this pool and they showed even in their first match that this is what they intended to do. They defeated Belgium 9-1 to start off the tournament. It wasn’t all so straight forward for the Turks. The match against Ukraine ended 3-1 and they drew against Finland 4-4.
 
This was a good result for the host team of the World Championships.  However, they did start the tournament slowly with a 3-5 loss to Spain but after this they moved into gear. Finland defeated Great Britain in their next match 6-0.
 
Finland ended up second place in the pool behind Turkey. They were followed by Ukraine, Great Britain, Spain and finally Belgium. This was perhaps an expected result as it meant that the three top teams were all teams who have also qualified for Espoo.
 
Pool B consisted of some very stiff competition. USA headed this pool and was joined by Russia, Sweden, Denmark and Israel.
 
The USA started their campaign in a similar fashion to the Turks. They defeated Denmark 10-0. They also had to fight for some of their wins. One very tight match was their 2-1 win over Israel.
 
One of their other matches also ended with the score of 2-1 but this time they were on the losing side. This was to one of the other top contenders for this pool, Russia. Apart from the match against the USA, Russia won the rest of their matches quite comfortably.
 
This meant that Russia topped pool B with USA, Israel, Denmark and Sweden behind them.
 
Both semi-finals were won by teams out of pool B. Russia had another comfortable win, this time against Finland 6-1. USA was able to negotiate Turkey with a 2-0 win.
 
Turkey was able to end the tournament with a win. They defeated Finland 7-1 for the bronze medal.
 
One could think they have read the final result incorrectly because it was once again 2-1 between USA and Russia. However this time the USA was on top.
 
The highest goal scorer came from neither of these teams. Laura Belle of Spain was at the top of the list with 18 goals.
 
 
4th International tournament – Suprasl
Competing nations here on the male side were hosts Poland along with Algeria, Belgium, Turkey, Sweden and Hungary
 
Turkey, Belgium and Algeria were the three competing teams who are also in Espoo. Between these three teams there were some very close results. None closer than the 3 all draw between Turkey and Belgium.
 
In the end it was Algeria’s 6-5 win over Turkey that confirmed them as tournament winners. Second place went to Turkey who were followed by Belgium, Sweden, Poland and Hungary.
 
Turkey was however victorious on the women’s side. They finished once again ahead of Finland. They won all their matches pretty routinely and made it known that they will be looming as a title contender at the World Championships.
 
 
 
APC Cup
Hangzhou, China, was the host city of the inaugural APC Cup.
 
The male division was split into two pools. Pool A was Iran, Qatar, Mongolia and Japan. Iran was far too strong for all their competition in this pool. They won all their matches with a 10 goal difference.
 
Pool B contained host nation China with Jordon, Thailand and Iraq. China won their pool nearly as comfortably as Iran.
 
However, Iran was too strong for any competition and they took home another title with a 14-4 demolition in the final over China. Third place was for Iraq.
 
The six female teams all competed in one group. China was joined by Mongolia, Iraq, Thailand, Japan and Iran.
 
It was very close between Japan, China and Iran. Each of these nations lost one match in the round robin so only goal difference could split them. It was still very tight but China finished first with Japan and Iran behind them.
 
However, we all know the rivalry between China and Japan and it is difficult to know who will win one match or the next between them. The round robin match may have gone the way of the hosts but the final went to the Paralympic champions.
 
 
You can find the full results from all these tournaments above.
 
 
 
 
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