Uruguay leave it late
© Foto-net

Uruguay will appear in their second consecutive semi-final after beating Nigeria 3-1 in the last quarter-final at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2007. The Celeste take on Mexico in the next round. No doubt nervous given the high stakes, the two sides began the match a little tentatively. By the time the first period had come to an end, in fact, only seven shots had been taken in all, with Nigeria hitting four of them and Uruguay three. None of those found the back of the net, so whether due to poor finishing or good goalkeeping, the official manning the stadium scoreboard was allowed a particularly laid-back opening 12 minutes.

The second period was much the same, despite an effort from Uruguay's Matias that struck the crossbar within 60 seconds of the restart. The Celeste were then handed an excellent opportunity to take the lead from the penalty spot, only for Coco to send the ball sailing over Abdullahi Isa's goal. The Nigerian goalkeeper was hardly a spectator, though, and he pulled off a series of top-class saves that earned him the approval of the locals in the stands. But although they were able to hold firm at the back, the Beach Eagles seemed to have misplaced the attacking instincts that helped them take the group stage by storm. As a result, another period went by without a goal to report.

Not wanting to be left out, Uruguayan goalkeeper Diego made an impressive save at the start of the third period, turning Isiaka Olawale's powerful strike around the post. Then, at last, a breakthrough came. Isa could only parry a shot from Pampero at the other end of the pitch and Matias stole in to bury the ball for the first time in the match. Ricar followed his example five minutes later and Parillo sealed the result with an audacious lob, sending the South Americans through to the last four for the second time in two years. Idoko Ibrahim managed to fire in a consolation effort for the African champions, and despite the result he and his team-mates can be proud of their fantastic tournament.