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Watch the WebTV matches afterwards
21.01.2014

Familiar faces on the top of the podium in showdown
19.01.2014

Beating Czech Republic in goalball is still mission impossible for the Finns
19.01.2014

Stonewall defence won the title for USA women’s goalball team
19.01.2014

Finland got two sets from European Champions in sitting volleyball final
19.01.2014

If you missed Saturdays WebTV matches…
18.01.2014

Lots of Finns in showdown semifinals
18.01.2014

Underdogs on fire in goalball semis
18.01.2014

Jani Tissari would like to crown his athletics career with a gold medal
18.01.2014

 
 

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Beating Czech Republic in goalball is still mission impossible for the Finns
19.01.2014

Photo: Goalball

Finnish men’s goalball team has won for example Paralymic gold in 2012 and European Championships in 2011 but they just don’t seem to be able to win Czech Republic. They met in Pajulahti Games men’s goalball final and the Czechs were better 8–5.

“They seem to have a little advantage on us mentally. We stumbled in the beginning of the final and you really can’t let the Czechs get the lead. Their nerves are made from iron”, said Erkki Miinala, the best Finnish player in the final.

Miinala told that Pajulahti Games is just the beginning in the road to 2014 World Championships held in Miinala’s home city Espoo. The Finns are planning to be at their best there and they also get to pay back for the Czechs who play in the same pool.

 

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Stonewall defence won the title for USA women’s goalball team
19.01.2014

Photo: Goalball

United States women’s goalball team could rely on their strong defence in the Pajulahti Games. They played twice against Russia and didn’t concede one single goal. The latter match against Russia was tournament final whish USA won 2–0.

“That’s how we are: strong in defence. We lost our opening game 6–9 to Turkey but that definitely isn’t the way we play”, said Jen Armbruster from Team USA.

USA women’s goalball team is coming back to Finland in June when the World Championships are played in Espoo.

“We got Turkey and Russia which were here in Pajulahti in same pool with us as well as the Paralympic gold medalist Japan. It’s a tough group and our first aim is to be in top four to get to the quarter finals”, Armbruster told.

 

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Underdogs on fire in goalball semis
18.01.2014

Photo: Goalball

Turkey and Israel were the top two teams in women’s goalball competition after round robin. Their goof form didn’t keep up through the day though. USA beat Israel 5–2 and Russia defeated Turkey 3–2 in the semifinals. So it’s USA–Russia in the final on Sunday.

Algeria had the same story in men’s tournament. They won the group phase but Finland was better 5–3 in the semifinal. Finland lost all of their matches on Friday but were like a different team on Saturday. Three comfortable wins and a place for the final.

In the final Finland will meet Czech Republic who won Lithuania 12–3 in semifinal. The Czechs won Finland 13–8 in the group phase and were also better in 2013 European Championships.

 

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Bittersweet victory for Finnish women’s goalball team
18.01.2014

Photo: Goalball

Finnish women’s goalball team fought hard to get a place from the semifinals. They beat Israel in their last round robin match 7–2 but eventually it didn’t help them get through because USA and Russia drew 0–0 their last match.

“It’s a shame because our players really stepped up their game compared to yesterday”, said Finnish coach Heikki Juvonen.

Against Israel Finland took control from the beginning and seemed sharp and strong throughout the game.

“When we got our first goal right in the beginning, we knew the game would go well,” said Natalie Ball from Finnish team.

“We have a very good team spirit and we are all concentrating on the 2014 World Championships in our home soil”, Ball added.

 

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Finnish men’s goalball team needs some pressure to get the best of themselves
18.01.2014

Photo: Eetu Eronen and Erkki Miinala
 
Photo: Eetu Eronen and Erkki Miinala

Finnish men’s goalball team seems to get the best of themselves when they are back against the wall. Finland needed a win against neighbor Sweden to get a place in semifinals. They managed to beat Sweden 6–3 and play in the semifinal against Algeria Saturday evening.

“Apparently it takes time for us to get started”, laughed Erkki Miinala whose goals were too much for the Swedes.

Finland played the whole match with same three players: Miinala, Jarno Mattila and Eetu Eronen.

“Our defence worked superbly despite two of my own mistakes. We haven’t got a solid performance like this earlier in this tournament”, Miinala said.

 

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Israel has a quality trio in Pajulahti Games goalball
18.01.2014

Photo: Goalball

Israel has proven it strength in the Pajulahti Games women’s goalball tournament. They also won bronze in 2013 European Championships and made their way to the 2014 World Championships in Espoo, Finland.

“In Israel we are playing with boys. We train very hard and more than 50 percent of our training is defence”, says Israeli coach Raz Shoham when asked what makes their women’s team so good.

In Pajulahti Israel won their first three matches and then shared the points with strong Team USA with 1–1 draw. What makes it extraordinary is that Israel has only three players in their Pajulahti Games squad.

“One of our strongest players has had some motivation problems and don’t want to play goalball at the moment. Two of our players are very young so they had to stay in school and couldn’t make it here”, explains Shoham.

 

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Israel and Algeria had unbeaten Friday in goalball
18.01.2014

Israeli women’s goalball team don’t have any substitutes in Pajulahti but that didn’t stop them from winning all of their three matches on Friday. They have beaten Russia 3–2, Sweden 7–2 and Turkey 2–0. If they can keep up their form despite the lack of players Israel is now the strongest favorite to win women’s goalball tournament.

Algeria has been at least as impressive in men’s tournament as Israel in women’s. They have won Czech Republic 8–2, Sweden 10–5 and Finland 13–5.

Finland on the other hand hasn’t been as strong as expected on their home soil. They did challenge Lithuania (lost 7–8) but had no chance against Czechs (8–13) and Algeria (5–13). Team Finland’s defence hasn’t been as solid as it should be.

 

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Sweden surprised the goalball powerhouse Lithuania
17.01.2014

Photo: Goalball

Sweden took a surprise win against the reigning Pajulahti Games champion Lithuania 6–5 in men’s goalball tournament. Lithuania had won both of their previous games against Finland and Russia. They were on front against Swedes too but couldn’t keep up their lead.

“Maybe we didn’t quite except Sweden would be so strong in their defence”, said Lithuanian coach Karolis Levickis.

Lithuania won the European Championships in Turkey autumn 2013 but there are only two players from that team in Pajulahti. Lithuanian roster is quite wide and they are picking up their team for the World Championships this summer from 12 players.

Lithuania is one of the best countries in men’s goalball history. In the 2014 World Championships they are defending their title from 2010.

“The only secret we have for our success is that we train very hard”, Levickis told.

 

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Finland lost their lead against Lithuania in goalball
17.01.2014

The first game in the Pajulahti Games men’s goalball tournament was a rematch from last autumns European Championship quarter final: Lithuania–Finland.

Although Lithuania had some new players in their team comparing to EC they managed to beat the Finns, as they did in EC quarter final.

Finland was stronger in the start and took 5–1 lead. Goal by goal Lithuanians came closer and crabbed the points at the end.

“Can’t be too satisfied. We did too many mistakes in defence”, said Petri Posio from Team Finland.

“Lithuania is a tough opponent though. Czech Republic is another strong team in the tournament”, he added.

 

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World class goalball tournament in Pajulahti
16.01.2014

The Pajulahti Games goalball tournament will be the first rehearsal of the year for some of the teams participating in 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships held in Espoo, Finland from 26th June to 6th July.

All six teams in Pajulahti Games women’s tournament will also be in the World Championships. There are top four teams from last year’s European Championships – Russia, Turkey, Israel and Finland – as well as Paralympic bronze medalist Sweden and the Parapan American champion USA.

Men’s tournament in Pajulahti is tough as well. Lithuania, Algeria, Finland and Czech Republic will be playing in the Worlds. Lithuania was the winner in the last World Championships in 2010 and in the European Championships 2013. Finland was number one in the IBSA World Games 2011 and in the Paralympic Games 2012 and Algeria is the reigning African champion.

Czech Republic was one of the most impressive teams in the European Championships although they lost to Germany in the quarter final. Sweden and Russia are also participating in the Pajulahti Games men’s tournament.

“Pajulahti Games have been a tournament of good quality every year and this year makes no difference. In my opinion Lithuania and Czech Republic are our toughest opponents in the World Championships, at least from Europe,” says Jarno Mattila from the Finnish men’s team.

 

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An international referee clinic in goalball
22.12.2013
An international referee clinic in goalball will be held along the Pajulahti Games goalball tournament. The renewed international rules for goalball will validate at the beginning of 2014. The new rules will be effective until 2017. There will also be 17 internationally recognised referees taking part in the tournament as well as the clinic. Some of the referees will be appointed to referee in the 2014 World Championships held in Espoo, Finland.
 

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