The 4-2 win for Switzerland over Azerbaijan was scrappy, for both sides, and the physical nature let both teams know that they were not going to back down. Switzerland took the lead but Azerbaijan hung around, just enough to make the Swiss nervous. Switzerland cannot be caught at the top of the group and now they are the first team to qualify for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Portugal 2015. The win means the Swiss are one of the semifinalists in this qualifier and can finish no worse than fourth. Switzerland has one group match left on Friday against a hungry English side. Azerbaijan will face Hungary on Friday to close out the Group Phase II stage.
Scoring goals on goals on goals is the modus operandi for Switzerland and they started the match against Azerbaijan a bit slowly by their standards but still used goals from Stankovic and Borer to build a 2-0 lead. The Azerbaijani did well to stand resilient and minimize the damage that the Swiss could inflict. The first period whistle sounded with Switzerland still up 2-0. You can call Azerbaijan but if you don`t include tenacious in your list of descriptors you would be remiss. They were looking at three goal deficit when the instead blocked the Swiss shot and went on the attack to score their first and cut their disadvantage in half. Switzerland came back on their next few possessions with even more determination and they scored two more early goals, a second for Stankovic, and the first of the day for Ott, to go up 4-1 heading into the final minutes of the period. The teams played the rest of the period to a draw and it ended with the Nati up 4-1.
The third period with Switzerland maintaining their pressure but the Azerbaijan defense held strong and did not allow an early goal, but at the same time they were not asking much of Switzerland`s defense. The first goal of the frame was scored by Azerbaijan as they cut the Swiss lead to two goals and were holding their breath hoping for the big comeback and upset. Switzerland began to play a little tight, not pushing the tempo like we are used to seeing but they had built enough of a lead to play a little safe. Azerbaijan pulled out all the stops and threw everything at the Swiss except the kitchen sink, but it was not enough as when the final whistle sounded, Switzerland was up 4-2.
Goals: 1-0: Stankovic, min. 10 (1); 2-0: Borer, min. 7 (1); 2-1: Hikmat, min. 11 (2); 3-1: Stankovic, min. 9 (2); 4-1: Ott, min. 6 (2); 4-2: Orkhan, min. 5 (3).
09:00 - England 2-5 Hungary (Group IV)
10:15 - Ukraine 6-4 Turkey (Group II)
11:30 - Romania 7-4 Greece (Group III)
12:45 - Belarus 3-2 Estonia (Group I)
14:00 - Switzerland 4-2 Azerbaijan (Group IV)
15:15 - Spain 5-4 France (Group II)
16:30 - Russia 2-0 Germany (Group III)
17:45 - Italy 5-3 (aet) Poland (Group I )