Saudi Arabia provided welcome cheer on a rainy afternoon at Belfield, as they notched up their sixth consecutive victory to take the gold medal in Division One of the men's five-a-side competition on Friday.
The competing sides in the tournament were divided into groups based on their ability at the beginning of the week, with the finals taking place on Friday and Saturday.
Glory for Saudi Arabia
Division One was decided by a match between Italy and the flamboyant Saudi Arabians and by half-time there was no doubt which team would be taking home the gold medal. Goals from Abdullah Al Dosari, Naif Al Dosari and a hat-trick from the inspirational Omer A Kaseer put the Saudis in an unassailable position despite the valiant attempts of a spirited Italian side.
Israeli experience counts
The Division Two decider was slightly more competitive, with Israel eventually overcoming Bosnia Herzegovina 3-0. The older and more physical Israeli side dominated possession, and imposing defender Nissim Bachar put them in front before half-time. Ethiopian-born Shimshon Chokol dazzled the crowd after the break, adding two more goals to secure victory for the Israelis.
The biggest cheer of the day accompanied the second-string Irish side who won the bronze medal in Division 9 after an emphatic 6-0 win against Luxembourg. Gold medal in that group went to Libya who struggled past Lesotho 3-2 in a close encounter. Guatemala took Division 8 gold after a 3-0 win against Austria.
Zimbabwe were crowned female champions, celebrating being the first African side to compete in the women's event by taking the gold medal by virtue of a 3-0 win against Great Britain 3. The two sides had drawn in the league stages but on this occasion the British had no response to the slick interchange and technical ability of the Zimbabweans.
Two for Nilsson
Sweden defeated Morocco 6-2 to take gold medal in unified Division Two, with the hero being Daniel Nilsson who found the target twice in the second half. The unified Division Three gold went to an ecstatic Cyprus side, who easily defeated Egypt 5-1.
Saturday sees the final day of competition at Belfield, with the remaining divisions to be decided. Notable clashes to look forward to include the Division 3 gold medal clash of Barbados and China and the Division 5 decider between Gibraltar and Canada.
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