After the spectacular opening ceremony held in the centre of beautiful Porto, we were also treated to some great floorball on Day 1 of the 7th World University Floorball Championships. Some of the highlights included Korea´s first ever win over a European team, Portugal´s first ever international match (and goal) and a couple of tough games between Sweden & Finland and Czech Republic & Switzerland.
The match between Korea & Spain went right down to the wire. Korea held a 5-1 lead after taking advantage of a 5 minute penalty against Spain, scoring in the first 5 seconds of the second period, but by the end of the period they had let that slip to a 5-4 scoreline. Despite the comeback from Spain they held on in the last to take the match 7-6 and make some Korean Floorball history.
Sweden & Finland matched up against each other in both the men´s & women´s divisions and although they might be neighbours there was nothing friendly about them today, especially the men´s game which was very physical. For the first two periods the score moved along evenly with the teams changing lead several times but Finland went to the last period with a two goal lead. Simon Jirebeck reduced that to just one when he took the ball from the face-off and scored after just 3 seconds, but that was all that Sweden could offer in the last period and four unanswered goals by the Finns gave them a 9-4 win.
The women´s match was more even. Sweden scored within the first minute but it was Finland who worked their way to a 2-1 lead by the end of the period. A scoring frenzy in the second saw 9 goals netted – 5 to Sweden & 4 for Finland. Both teams closed focussed on their defence much more in the last period and the only goals came in the final minutes. Sofia Joelsson scored her fourth goal of the match to put Sweden to 7-6 with just a few minutes left to play, but Finland pulled their keeper and pressured the Swedish goal. A penalty for high-stick against Sweden gave them the 6-4 player advantage and they managed to equalise with less than 40 seconds left in the match.
Czech Republic and Switzerland played perhaps the most interesting match of the day. Czech took the lead in the first minute and then a number of penalties saw both teams score – powerplay and shorthanded goals. A tight second period saw just one goal each, again from a powerplay and a penalty shot. Penalties were proving costly. A crazy final period saw 10 goals scored. The Swiss had edged to a one goal lead in the second period and a match penalty against a Czech player for returning to the field from the penalty bench too early late in the period looked like it would help them move further ahead. However, it was the Czechs who opened the final period with a shorthanded goal and although the Czechs equalised 4 times in the last period, every time the Swiss were next to score and keep their lead. When the Swiss scored to an empty net with just 10 seconds left we were ready to post the result, but as was typical of this game we could be sure of nothing. The Czechs managed another goal within 4 seconds, but the Swiss got the result with a final score of 9-8. Claudio Laely (SUI) top-scored with 1+5.
In other matches, the Polish women´s team opened up their tournament with a huge 26-0 score over Spain, with Katarzyna Fula & Anna Szychta scoring 5 goals each. The Slovakian men had two big wins, first beating Japan 12-0 and then Portugal 26-1. Portugal´s first ever goal was scored by Jose Pedro Carvalho, while Slovakia´s Lukas Uljhelyi finished the day with 9+1. Both playing their second match of the day, it was Japan who came out on top in the Asian derby, defeating Korea 8-3.
Photos: João Pedro Rocha