Monday 25 November 2019, 18:51

First two quarter-finals confirmed as hosts bow out in style

  • Uruguay lose but advance on goal difference, 2017 runners-up Tahiti exit

  • Japan finish with perfect record in Group A

  • Gabriele Gori puts on finishing masterclass against Mexico

REVIEW OF THE DAY – The first two quarter-finals at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Paraguay 2019 have been confirmed. There will be an all-European tie when Italy face Switzerland, while Japan will take on Uruguay.

Italy started the day off with a dominant display against Mexico as Gabriele Gori scored five goals in a match for the second time in Paraguay to take a commanding lead in the race for the adidas Golden Scorer award, bringing his Paraguay 2019 tally to 13 and helping his side seal knockout-round qualification.

Japan and Switzerland's game was all about Group A supremacy, and it was the Asian champions who ultimately came out on top, jumping out to a four-goal lead and holding on despite a late Swiss surge. Uruguay followed that up by doing just enough to advance to the last-eight as they progressed on goal difference. The 2017 runners-up Tahiti, who needed a three-goal win to go through, head home earlier than expected.

The night wrapped up with hosts Paraguay ending their memorable campaign on home sand with a classy 5-1 victory over USA, who go home with zero points.

Group A Japan 5-3 Switzerland 🎥 USA 1-5 Paraguay 🎥

Group B Mexico 2-6 Italy 🎥 Tahiti 6-4 Uruguay 🎥

Moments of the day 📌

Quick off the mark To every opponent facing Gabriele Gori in the future: be warned from the first whistle! The lethal Italian forward has scored the first goal in all three of his games in Paraguay so far. In the very first match of the tournament it took him just 1'36'' to get off the mark with a long-range bicycle kick against Tahiti. Against Uruguay he tapped in Dario Ramacciotti's cut-back pass from close range after 3'04'' and in Gli Azzurri's final group game today he conjured up a bicycle kick on the 2'47'' mark. Gori is on course to defend his adidas Golden Scorer crown he won at Bahamas 2017, as he currently leads the goalscoring race with 13 goals.

Gabriele Gori of Italy scores a goal 

Injured but far from out Just three days before the start of the Beach Soccer World Cup, Takasuke Goto (the player holding the ball in the photo below) had to withdraw from the tournament due a serious knee injury suffered in preparation for Asuncion. Shusei Yamauchi may have replaced Goto in the official squad, but Goto isn't missing. He goes everywhere with the team in Paraguay, participates in the pre-match team talk in the dressing room and encourages his fellow players just moments before they go out on to the sand. You can bet on Goto being with them every step of the way, however long their journey lasts at Paraguay 2019.

Masayuki Komaki, Takasuke Goto, Ozu Moreira and Takaaki Oba pose during the Japan team presentation

A festive farewell Hosts Paraguay may have had no chance to advance to the quarter-finals before their game against the USA tonight, but that did not stop their supporters from turning up to fill the stadium to cheer on their beloved Los Pynandi (meaning 'barefoot' in the Guarani language). The team returned the favour by putting in a strong performance and scoring a couple of goals high on the style metre. After the final whistle, all of the players and staff waved to all corners of the stadium, thanking them for making this momentous tournament extra special.

Shots of the day 📸

What’s next 🗓

Matchday 6 - 25 November

Group C UAE - Senegal (16:15, local time) Russia - Belarus (19:25, local time)

Group D Oman - Portugal (17:50, local time) Nigeria - Brazil (21:00, local time)

Group C is the closest and toughest group to call heading into the final round of games. UAE-Senegal and Russia-Belarus are must-see TV. It's essentially already knockout football as the winners of each match will advance to the quarter-finals, whether they are decided in regulation time, extra-time or on penalties.

Over in Group D, there's one quarter-final place up for grabs and it will go to the winner of Oman-Portugal, after Brazil secured qualification with their 9-7 win over the Portuguese yesterday.

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