The quarter-finals produced four top-notch games. Brazil battled through at the expense of Italy in a repeat of last year’s final, while Portugal had a difficult time before eventually knocking out Asian champions Japan. In the other two games, Switzerland continued their rich vein of form by beating a strong Russia team and Uruguay needed extra time to see off European champions Spain.
Game of the day
Portugal-Brazil, 19:30 (local time)
The first semi-final brings together two teams that have played each other in every edition of the tournament so far. Excitement is virtually guaranteed as the previous encounters between the two have always produced thrilling spectacles.
This year Portugal will go into the game seeking revenge for their last three defeats by the South Americans, and hoping to repeat their success of Rio de Janeiro 2005 when they became the first and only team to beat Brazil in the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. That historic match was also at the semi-final stage and will invoke happy memories for Bruno, Madjer and Alan, all of whom were in the Portuguese team that prevailed in the penalty shoot-out that day.
Brazil have not lost a single match in this tournament since that day and will fight hard to ensure they maintain their impressive unbeaten record. Brazil are graced with the presence of Benjamin and Buru, who also featured that day and now intend to lead their team to a fourth successive victory over their European rivals. A win would go a long way towards confirming Brazil's superiority over Portugal in semi-finals, with four wins to one.
The other match
This is the third time Uruguay have qualified for the semi-finals of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, while Switzerland only made their debut at the tournament this year. The South Americans’ greater experience may play an important role in deciding the outcome of this match. Team captain Fabian will be hoping that his team can repeat their achievements of 2006, when they reached the final by defeating another European team, in the form of 2005 world champions France.
The Swiss will be aiming to become only the second-ever debutants to reach the final, following in the footsteps of Mexico in 2007, and they certainly seem to have the necessary talents at their disposal. Switzerland are led by prolific striker Dejan Stankovic, who is currently the tournament’s top scorer with 11 goals. He will be hoping to find the net again, but that will not be an easy task against Diego, one of the best goalkeepers in the tournament.
Player to watch
The Portugal-Brazil tie brings some of the biggest talents in the world together, but all eyes will be on one man for his goal-scoring prowess. Portuguese captain Madjer has scored an amazing 13 goals against Brazil and has scored at least once in the last four matches between the two.
12 – Out of 23 attempts, the Swiss players have scored 12 goals with scissor kicks, the largest number of goals scored in this way. The latest was by the current tournament top scorer Dejan Stankovic in the quarter-final against Russia. Will Switzerland continue in their acrobatic style against Uruguay goalkeeper Diego?
“I think we’ll have a hard match against Portugal, just as we did against Switzerland and Italy, but I hope that we will play better and get to the final. I remember our game in 2005. I scored the equaliser, but we had no luck in the penalty shoot-out. That’s football and that’s what makes it beautiful; the fact that any team can win. I just hope we win this one.” Brazil captain, Benjamin