Stage set for semi-finals in Sicily
Crunch time awaits on Sunday for eight teams at the European Beach Tour (ebt) Finals 2022 in Isola delle Femmine, with the men's and women's semi-finals both now set.
- defending women's champions GEA A.M. Team Almeria from Spain remain in the running, despite their opening main round defeat on Friday. On Saturday, Almeria bounced back with two 2:0 victories against Italy's Blue Team (21:12, 28:16) and TRIANA XÀBIA BMP SEVILLA (22:15, 20:11) to take top spot in main round group II
- Almeria will face Portugal's GRD Leça - Love Tiles in the semi-final. Love Tiles took two wins and one defeat from the main round, losing 1:2 to Denmark's Team Blue Bee (19:16, 20:24, 6:8) but emerging triumphant from a close match with Hungary's TT Sport Multichem Szentendrei NKE to seal second in group I
- the second semi-final is an all-blue affair, as Blue Bee take on Blue Team. Although all three of Blue Bee's main round matches went to shoot-outs, they came away undefeated in this stage of the competition. Blue Team's only main round loss was to Almeria
- after the men's main round, reigning champions HEI Beach Handball remained undefeated and topped group I; however in the quarter-finals, Dutch side Camelot Handball Tilburg earned a sensational 12:24, 27:16, 8:6 victory to upset HEI
- Portugal's LX50 Handball triumphed 22:16, 27:20 against Spain's MOVEX HANDBOL PLATJA GRANOLLERS and will meet Tilburg in the semi-finals
- there will be two Portuguese teams in the last four. GRD Leça - Spar topped main round group II and booked their semi-final spot against CMBP Ciudad de Malaga by beating HIR-SAT BHC 16:23, 21:16, 8:6
Portugal, kings and queens of the sand?
It has been a good tournament for the Portuguese sides, with three teams reaching the semi-finals across the men's and women's competitions. The question now is, can any of them take a step onwards to contest the trophy?
GRD Leça - Love Tiles have already gone one better than last year, when they finished fifth. The 2021 Champions Cup winners had a great start with three wins in the preliminary round, and only one loss so far in the ebt Finals, to Blue Bee.
Love Tiles' Rita Alvez is the tournament's top scorer, with 120 goals so far.
On the men's side, GRD Leça - Spar did not make it out of the preliminary round at the ebt Finals 2021, but like Love Tiles have only dropped one match so far in this year's tournament, to Tilburg in the main round. LX50 have also impressed, losing two matches, to HEI in the preliminary round and Leça in the main round.