Spain has revalidated this Saturday the title of men’s European champion roller hockey. The team led by Guillem Cabestany, who made his debut in office, has once again defeated France, his last rival in the previous league, by 2-1 and after two extra time, and has thus achieved the 18th continental crown in its history, getting closer to Portugal (twenty-one). The Portuguese team, host of a tournament played in Paredes, keep clamoring for a ‘biscotto’ that, they denounce, left them without end.
France has never won a European and its last end dated from 1931, but the Spaniards were clear that they could not be trusted. In the last edition it was already fourth and in this managed to defeat Italy and Portugal in the first two days and it was undefeated to the last, results that cannot be the fruit of fortune. The final proved it.
The Di Benedetto brothers
Spain, which defended the title achieved in A Coruña in 2018, had in Carles grau, the doorman, his best man. His saves were decisive in keeping Spain on its feet against a France that grew as the minutes passed. Until, in the second half, the Gauls went ahead with a whiplash of Bruno di Benedetto, Roberto’s twin, Carlo’s younger brothers, all of them of an Italian father and a Coruña mother but of French nationality.
Cesar Carballeira, from a penalty, achieved the tie with 11 minutes remaining, although it was another Grau’s miraculous stop 10 seconds from the end which allowed Spain to go to extra time. Equality was maintained in the first, and in the second a Ready goal by Asturian Toni Pérez, who found a loose ball, gave the title to Spain.
The statement from Portugal
Portugal had to play the match for bronze against Italy, but the appearance of two positives per covid in its ranks it forced to cancel the clash. The world champion, in any case, continues to denounce that Spain and France agreed on Friday’s result (or gave up attacking with 1-3 on the scoreboard) to get them out of the final. That result benefited the Gauls because, despite losing, it put them in the last game for the golaveraje (before they had defeated Portugal 5-3) and also Spain, as they would fight for the gold against a rival a priori inferior to the whole Portuguese. Logic dictated that neither of us should risk.
The Portuguese federation spoiled in a statement the “antigame” deployed by Spain and France on Friday, and showed its rejection of some “facts that go against the values of the sport and the competition “. The referees stopped the game twice to demand that both teams look at the goal and even admonished their respective captains with blue cardboard. “Refusing to compete is the antithesis of what should be the excellence of the teams, their players and their coaches. Yesterday, the national teams of France and Spain did not apply the values of ethics and fair play“, denounces the Portuguese federation.