Last weekend saw The European Beach Soccer League come to the Scheveningen beach stadium. The weather for Friday and Saturday was not the greatest to entice the crowds to come and watch the games. Sunday, however, saw a beautiful blue sky, sunshine and a very warm temperature and the crowds filled the stadium a long time before the kick-off. The enticing fixture of the day was the first due to be played; Holland v England. Holland had to avoid defeat and England to win by four clear goals to qualify for the finals which are to be played in Moscow.
Crowd creating a fantastic atmosphere
I spoke to two England players prior to kick-off and they were concerned, yet optimistic at the same time. The day however was not without its hitches, as just before the game was due to kick-off; there was a power failure which meant that the live coverage for television was not able to transmit.
To keep the crowd entertained, an impromptu challenge was set for the kids, which they loved. To win a prize of a large beach cushion, they had to hit the crossbar. The crowd loved it as did the watching teams. The time went quickly and after a delay of just over an hour, the big game kicked off.
Acrobatic strike on goal
Dutch playeres celebrate their win
England settled first and early on went into a two goal lead within five minutes. Then the Dutch moved up a gear and pressured the English players. Soon the Dutch players worked their openings and the goals started to fly in from all angles and some spectacular efforts too. The crowd made it feel like it was a first class football International, lots of singing and chanting, the atmosphere was excellent. The Dutch team eventually cruised to an easy victory wining 7-3. The players and crowd went berserk as though they had won the title, great scenes.
The stadium half emptied for the remaining two fixtures which were Spain v Poland and Portugal v Russia. Great matches to watch and the Polish contingent in the crowd certainly made themselves heard.
There are plenty more events still to come in the Scheveningen Beach Stadion, visit www. beachstadion.com/kalender for the upcoming events. I have to recommend the beach volleyball, fast moving and great entertainment, best of all, it is all free to watch!
Text & Photography by Neal McClimon