Admin December 1, 2019

Italy, who defeated Russia after extra time, and Portugal, who overcame Japan via a penalty shoot-out, will go head-to-head in the final of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Paraguay 2019 on Sunday.

The Italians will be going in search of their first-ever global crown, while the Portuguese intend on lifting the illustrious trophy for the second time, after claiming the title at home in 2015.

THE FINAL

Italy-Portugal (18:00, local time)

It was a case of third time lucky for Italy, who had lost at the semi-final stage in the last two World Cups. Gli Azzurri have stood out for their attacking prowess at Portugal 2019: they have averaged 6.8 goals per match, with less than 50 per cent possession.

Their group-stage defeat by Uruguay appeared to serve as a wake-up call for players such as Emmanuele Zurlo and Dario Ramacciotti, who have, since then, ably supported goal machine Gori up front. In addition, goalkeeper Simone del Mestre has also been a key component in a team that tends to allow their opponents a significant number of shots on goal.

Facing them will be a Portugal side that has performed impressively thus far, controlling the pace of the game through extended periods of possession.

Even in their only loss of the tournament, against Brazil, the Lusitanians performed creditably as a unit throughout. Individually, goalkeeper Andrade, the Martins brothers, Coimbra, and Jordan have all been instrumental in their run to the final.

Did you know?

  • Portugal will play in their third Beach Soccer World Cup final: they lost to France in 2005 and beat Tahiti in 2015
  • As for the Italians, they will play in the showpiece match for the second time, having lost to Brazil in 2008
  • This will be the countries’ second World Cup clash: in the 2008 group phase, Portugal emerged victorious in extra time (5-4)

Match for third place

Russia-Japan (16:15, local time)

Russia have had an up-and-down tournament, but if they see off Japan, they will secure a top-three finish for the fourth consecutive edition – a not insignificant achievement for the nation that will play host to the 2021 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.

Japan, meanwhile, will have to recover quickly from their painful reverse on penalties versus Portugal. Third place would represent the Asians’ best-ever performance in the competition, after they finished fourth in 2005.

  • The stat: In the only previous World Cup encounter between the two nations, during the 2013 group stage, Russia defeated Japan 4-1.

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