Spain confirmed today the title of European champion in roller hockey, by beating, in an unprecedented final, the surprising France, by 2-1, after extra time, on the last day of the 54th edition of the competition, held in Paredes.
Sporting athlete Toni Pérez was the hero of the final, scoring the winning goal two minutes from the end of extra time, putting an end to justified Gallic hopes, better in the game and throughout the tournament, based on Bruno Di Benedetto’s goal, at 33 minutes.
Spain drew for César Carballeira, at 40, taking the decision to extra time in which they turned out to be (more) happy on Toni Pérez’s stick. With this victory, the Spaniards reach the 18th title and approach Portugal, the team with the most titles, with 21.
The final ended up being held smoothly, despite some doubts that arose after the cancellation of Portugal-Italy, immediately before and for the attribution of third and fourth places, due to positive cases of covid-19 in the Portuguese delegation. Before the game, the European roller hockey federation tried to dispel all doubts, assuring, in a statement, that the tests carried out on the finalists had been negative.
And so, a day after the controversial and decisive game for the ‘group’ stage, Spain and France were reunited (as they did so for that reason) in the decisive game, unearthed the ‘war axe’, in a battle that the Spaniards, champions in title and with more and better resources, perhaps felt to be more or less tacked on.
The French weighed 90 years of absence from the finals (the last of the six that total took place in 1931) and a lot of fatigue in the legs of a group without many solutions, despite the indisputable quality of the Di Benedetto brothers.
The game was balanced, especially in the first half, with much caution on both sides and opportunities for both sides, but the result did not change.
The slight French ascendancy was accentuated in the second half, thanks to the work and merit of the Di Benedetto brothers, with Bruno making the French dream come true, in the 33rd minute. Brother Roberto, rightly voted the tournament’s best player, wasted a free-kick shortly afterwards, giving hope to a Spain that, against the flow of the game, tied for César Caballeira, in the transformation of a penalty.
Roberto Di Benedetto could have broken the tie for France with 10 seconds to go, but missed the goal of the experienced Carles Grau, who would see the team reach the goal and victory in the tournament with two minutes to go, on the other side. negative reaction from the majority of spectators present.
Paredes, by the way, did not forget the ‘friendly fire’ of the day before and reacted noisily, beating the time that lasted the individual presentation ceremony of the finalists, even ‘smothering’ the anthems of Spain and France, noticing himself, despite everything , a lesser animosity towards the ‘bleus’.
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Spain retains European roller hockey title