Brazil or Italy for gold?

The South Americans are very much the favourites to win the Marseille 2008 final on Sunday 27 July on Prado beach, but they will nevertheless have their work cut out against Italy if they are to win their third consecutive FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.

Brazil-Italy, 19h00 (local time)

This is the first time that these teams will have met in the final, making it all the more difficult to call. On paper, the Brazilians will be very much the favourites against an Italian team which had never previously got beyond the first round until this year. The Squadra Azzurra, however, have absolutely nothing to lose, having gone much further that they expected, and will no doubt play open football without any pressure on their shoulders.

The key
Whenever a team puts Brazil on the back foot, they rely on their defenders to build up the pressure from the back. Roberto Pasquali and his team-mates will have to try their luck from all angles and distances if they are to emerge triumphant.

Players to watch
Buru was suspended for the semi-final against Portugal but will be back for the final. Brazil will be relying on his experience, ball control and of course fresh legs, having missed the last match. Italian striker Massimiliano Esposito, meanwhile, will be hoping to keep up his run of form, with four goals in as many matches so far.

What they said
"Beach soccer has given me all the moments I've enjoyed the most. Nobody could be happier than I am. Regardless of the result of the Final, I've had some great times with Brazil alongside some of the best players on the planet," Junior Negao, Brazil player.

"It's a real surprise for us to have made it to the final. We really weren't expecting it. In a way, you could say that we've already won our World Cup. Brazil are on a totally different level to us - their players were born on the beaches," Giancarlo Magrini, Italy coach


Portugal - Spain, 17h30 (local time)

These two teams both came so close to making it to the decider and will definitely be looking to sign off with a win to secure third place in the competition. This Iberian peninsular derby will give the Prado fans a last chance to see stars Amarelle and Madjer. Portugal will probably be in a better state mentally, since their semi-final defeat was against favourites Brazil. Spain went out on penalties to Italy and will have to clear their heads of any regrets before the game.