Spain –Brazil 27:26 (19:17)
The first eleven minutes were a complete roller coaster: Spain led 6:1 thanks to great Carmen Martin, the Brazilian team and the more than 6500 spectators were shocked, but then the host woke up – and then it took only five minutes to equalize at 7:7. Attended by a great, loud and frenetic audience the game became a full speed one with 36 goals in the first 30 minutes. By strengthening the defence, Brazil put the Iberians under pressure and when Alexandra Nascimento scored the 11:10 (the first lead of the host), the arena went really crazy. And by replacing goalkeeper Barbara Arenhart by Chana Masson the defense became even more stable. But the well-rehearsed and experienced Spanish team returned in lead again, and outstanding Martin secured the 19:17 half time scored by a penalty shot with the last second.
But pushed by their spectators Brazil equalized again at 20:20 by a goal of Nascimento after some brilliant saves of Arenhart. When Daniela Piedade hit the back of the neck to the first Brazil lead after the break (21:20) in minute 37, the spectators went all of a tizzy and shouted “Brasil, Brasil” in unison, encouraged by Arenhart.
The game was on the edge – changing leads, fights of every centimeter, pure emotions on the field, the benches and the stands, tough defences, suspensions and no team is able to distance the opponent with more than one goal until minute 52, when Marta Mangue scored the 25:23 for Spain. But Brazil was not shocked: Five minutes before the end Deonise Cavaleiro equalized again at 25:25 – and the Arena Ibirapuera had become a witch’s cauldron. Two and a half minutes to play: Nascimento scores an incredible Kempa goal – 26:26, both teams fail in their next attacks. The very last minute – Brazil in ball possession but with one player less on the field, cheered by the loudest amplitude since the start of the tournament. But the host lose the ball, Spanish counter attack 15 seconds before the end – and Elisabeth Pinedo scoring for the 27:26 and causing a suspension of Brazilian Ana Paula Rodriguez. Three seconds to play, five Spaniards face four Brazilians. Last free-throw for the host – but Pinheiro is blocked. Time over – but a final Brazilian free-throw, but the Spanish wall blocks the ball – Espana in the semi-final!
Statements after the match:
Morten Soubak, coach Brazil: We started well in the first half and could stand the Spanish attacks. In the second half our defence was splendid. 90 seconds to go we needed to lock the match being one goal below. But Spain locked the match with their last attack. Now we still have two matches ahead, but it will be hard to focus after such a match.
Jorge Duenas, coach Spain: I am very happy. Two days ago we beat Montenegro and were among the top 8 and now I am even happier, because we are on top. In the first half our attack was good, but pour defence was weak. Brazil improved in defence after the break and the final stage was really exciting.
Alexandra Nascimento, player Brazil: In the first half we were too anxious and missed too many chances in attack, but after the break we woke up. If you have only one minute to play you must be very lucky to score. But we saw that we cannot count on this luck in all matches.
Carmen Martin, player Spain: We arrived in Brazil being very disappointed about our performance at the European Championship 2010. Then step by step we improved and made better results. Now we are in the semi-final. Against Brazil we started well and could keep the lead, even when Brazil returned. It was a real fight until we had won.