Dolce and Lallana (Eng)




Ball Bashers (Eng)

RAF (Por)




Humble Goats (Hol)

* Humble Goats won 2-1 on penalties.


We were at the 2022 Amsterdam Fives Cup Semi-Final stage and from the 12 teams who started the day we were down to the final 4. Any 4 of the teams looked capable of victory. We had 2 previous eurofootballfives winners – RAF (2015 Algarve Open) and Humble Goats (2022 Amsterdam Sevens) plus 2 very good English teams in Ball Bashers and Dolce and Lallana that looked like they could go all the way.

Up first was Dolce and Lallana versus Ball Bashers. Dolce and Lallana had qualified for this stage as Group A winners. They had 4 wins and 1 draw from their 5 games with a goal difference of 15-5. Ball Bashers were not far off with 4 wins and 1 defeat and a goal difference of 12-3. In cricket they say you should never judge the pitch until both teams have batted on it. In a similar vein, it is difficult to judge group phase stats as it is hard to tell the relative strength of each group until teams emerging from different groups play each other. However, they looked very closely matched.

In the game itself, Mati Ortiz bagged goal number 7 of the tournament to put Ball Bashes 1-0 up. Ben Williams made it 2-0 meaning Dolce and Lallana were up against it. They had a lifeline when Thomas Forster reduced the deficit to 2-1 before half-time. The first goal of the second half was therefore always likely to prove pivotal. It was Ben Williams again with his sixth of the tournament that made it 3-1 and clinched his team's place in the Cup Final.

It was the end of the road today for Dolce and Lallana who had impressed on debut. They did have some consolation in the form of the top goalscorer award. Thomas Forster finished as the leading scorer in the tournament with 9 goals and would pick-up a trophy in the presentation. Many congratulations to him.


So, who would take their place in the Cup Final from the second Semi-Final? The two teams set to do battle were RAF against Humble Goats.

This ended up being a memorable game for so many reasons. The early stages was really just an hors d'oeuvre for the drama at the end of the game. RAF were unbeaten thus far with 4 wins and a draw (in a game where they had already qualified) and they were ahead again in the Cup semi-finals. David Nascimento's third strike of the day put them ahead before James van Zijveld levelled the game for Humble Goats. RAF hit the front again through Fernando Abreu and were seemingly en route to the Cup Final.

RAF were in control of the game despite Humble Goats pushing for an equalizer and in the final minute there was a controversial moment. A Humble Goats shot struck an RAF defender on the arm – penalty given. RAF argued the player's arms were by his side and the shot was from close range so there was nothing the defender could do. They had a case for sure but they have been given before and the referee deemed it was a penalty in this case. Deyae El Kanfoudi stepped up and equalized from the spot, 2-2.

The referee then played a minute of injury time and just as a RAF attack was developing the referee blew the final whistle exactly on a minute of injury time with a forward through on goal 20-25 yards out. Whilst in the laws of the game injury time is at the discretion of the referee and he can blow the whistle at any time most referees call time when the ball is dead or in a neutral position. Not so this time and it proved controversial especially so close to the penalty incident. The two incidents left RAF feeling harshly treated but this game wasn't done. We had a penalty shoot-out to decide this one. This game had captured the attention of everyone else at the tournament as everyone crowded around Pitch 5 and all eyes would be on the six penalty-takers….no pressure lads.

RAF would take the first penalty and it was Tiago Nogueira who stepped forward against Hidde Makimel. Makimel was the hero in two successful shoot-outs in Humble Goat's winning run to the Amsterdam Sevens title last weekend. He was the hero again here as he dived to his right and make the save. Guillermo Darson stepped forward for the first Humble Goats penalty. He made it 3 successful penalties in our tournaments as he sent the goalkeeper the wrong way. David Nascimento was the next man up for RAF and he scored for 1-1 but Humble Goats still had the advantage.

Jazz Prins was next man up for Humble Goats as the Dutch team stuck to the winning formula from the Amsterdam Sevens. Humble Goats had scored all 7 of their shoot-out pens in our tournaments to date…until now. Ricardo Pacheco went the right way and pushed the ball to safety. It remained 1-1 but we were now level on penalties taken too.

The RAF #8 had the chance to ramp up the pressure on Humble Goats but he dragged his penalty wide and instead Humble Goats had a golden chance to reach a second Cup Final in as many weeks. Deyae El Kanfoudi stepped up and made no mistake as he sparked riotous celebrations amongst his team.

Spare a thought for RAF though, not only is it cruel to go out on penalties but they also had two tough decisions go against them at the end of the game. They could not have done much more on the field of play today. It was a painful exit.

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