Final day for Turkey and Poland on European Korfball Championship

It is the final day of the European Korfball Championship for Poland and Turkey. Today, numbers five until ten will be decided. During this day, Poland and Turkey will face Russia to play for eighth, ninth and tenth place.

By Colin Geene

The first game of the day immediately is a confrontation between Poland and Turkey. Both teams scored zero points in their group, so this could be an interesting matchup. Beforehand, Turkey is the slight favorite and they show it in the first quarter. Not that they are brilliant, but Poland seems to have trouble finding each other. Kamil Musialinski is neutralized by Aktug Karabay, which does not help in the goal scoreing department for Poland. They have to switch to other player for this and in the first quarter they fail with a score of 3-0.
In the second quarter, Poland slowly finds their form. They are playing in their strongest formation now and it is starting to show. By half time, Poland reduced the gap to 5-4 and we have everything to play for in the second half.
By the hand of captain Rubinkowski, who finally plays a good game, Poland takes the lead for the first time at the end of the third quarter. For Turkey, Inanc Demirel is unlucky with his shots. Due to his hard work, he can still play a decent game, but without his goals, Turkey will have a problem winning this one.
In the final quarter, Poland slowly extend the lead. The kill blow is Tamara Siemieniuk’s 9-12. It is the first time Poland leads by three goals and it seems impossible for the hard working Turkey’s players to overcome that. In the end, they indeed can’t. Poland wins their first game of the tournament with 15-10. For Turkey, this must be a deception, but they have one more chance; they still have to play Russia…

In the third game of the day, Turkey meets Russia. This is the last chance for Turkey to win a game and against this Russian squad, it’s not impossible.
The first quarter is for Russia though. Despite two goals for Demirel, Russia starts with a 2-5 lead. Just before the end of the first quarter, a penalty shot for Turkey brings the score to 5-3.
In the second quarter, Turkey comes back and an exciting game unfolds. Both teams are in it for the win and this results in a 7-7 half time score.
Both teams keep on scoring in the third quarter, but it is the least productive of the four. This is the quarter in which Turkey seems to be able to get the upper hand. This is a promise for a tight last quarter.
In this last quarter, both teams are very productive. It is an evenly matched game and this quarter is no exception. A total of twelve goals are scored in this quarter. Unfortunately for Turkey, Russia ends the game with the most goals, ensuring a 15-16 win over Turkey.

Finally, it’s Poland’s final game. They face Russia for eighth place. Anything is possible in this confrontation and it proves to be a tight game as well.
For Poland, it is again captain Rubinkowski leading his team. It is not enough though to finish the first quarter with a lead. Russia is always one goal ahead and that stays until the end of the quarter.
In the second quarter, Poland is working hard to level the score. At half time they succeeded with a 7-7 score. Kamil Musialinski scores two. For Russia, captain Kazachkov leads in scoring and is a commanding presence in his zone.
After half time, Musialinski scores the first and only lead for Poland. The teams are still balanced and after a two goal lead of Russia, Poland manages to equalize once again.
It is in the fourth quarter the difference is made. Poland looks to lack the energy and Russia react with just a little bit more power in the game and in the end, that makes the difference. Poland misses a penalty one minute before the end and in the dying seconds, Russia gets a bit of help from the referee. This results in a 15-13 final score.

The games are done now. It is time for a conclusion. We followed Poland because of the World Games in Wroclaw next year and Turkey on their journey of progression.
Let’s start with Poland. A final result of ninth place is decent, but we can imagine the squad is a bit disappointe in the result of the game against Russia. They did play better on the final day, especially because captain Rubinkowski played better and calmer compared to the group stage. Will the team be ready for a respectable result in Wroclaw? Not sure. There is a lot of work to be done. Poland will need to play more games, at high level. Maybe, in time they can improve to maybe top six in Europe.
As for Turkey, they grew during this tournament. Of course the build up to the European Korfball Championship was far from ideal. Fifty hours by bus and then get out and immediately play is not what you would want. They do show promise though. They have a young squad and with players like Demirel, Battal, Karabay and Egretli, they do have a good future ahead. What applies to Poland, also applies to them. More training and games against higher level teams. This might be a future candidate for top four in the long run.