Italy overcame Japan in Monday's opening match at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2007. The Azzurri are now on course for a quarter-final slot, while Japan will be going no further in the competition.
With both teams facing an early exit from the competition in the
event of a defeat, the match got off to an understandably cautious
start. Things began to hot up when, in the space of a minute,
Roberto Pasquali hit the post before Paolo Palmacci opened the
scoring after Japan goalkeeper Shingo Terukna had failed to hold a
shot. Teruki Tabata got his team back on level terms from a free
kick and Ayuta Kamezaki all but gave them the lead, only for Daniel
Gigli to come to the Italians' rescue. And the
Azzurri it was who went into the break ahead after a
Damiano Maiorano free kick made the score 2-1.
Japan were level at the start of the second period when Shusei Yamauchi equalised from a free kick. He was on hand again to give the Asian team their first lead of the match - and the tournament - with a powerful strike ten minutes later, but Pasquali soon pulled Italy level with a right-foot blast.
Pasquali repeated this feat at the start of the final period to give the Europeans a lead that they would not relinquish. Michele Leghissa doubled their advantage a minute later and Pasquali would again write his name on the score-sheet, this time with a delicate lob which proved to be the icing on the cake in a 6-3 win for Italy.