Russia reached their first-ever FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup semi-final with a convincing 5-3 defeat of Mexico. The reigning Euro Beach Soccer League champions will now take on the winners of the Italy-El Salvador tie for a place in the decider.
Russia swiftly took the lead, with Ilya Leonov catching goalkeeper Miguel Estrada off-guard, but Antonio Barbosa capitalised upon some hesitant defending to equalise before the first 12 minutes were up.
But if the first period had been fairly balanced, the second was dominated by Russia. Leonov’s throw-in allowed Egor Shaykov to restore their lead from close range, Yuri Krasheninnikov extended the advantage after robbing Morgan Plata of possession, and a fine team move was finished off by Yury Gorchinskiy to make it 4-1.
Mikhail Likhachev’s team effectively put the contest out of their opponents’ reach two minutes into the third period, Egor Eremeev their fifth different marksman, and though goals from Ricardo Villaloos and Plata made the scoreline respectable, they proved insufficient to keep Mexico alive in the competition.