Who would have thought? New kids on the block Senegal are
already through to the quarter-finals of the FIFA Beach Soccer
World Cup 2007, while the experienced Italians have still got it
all to do. Based on the matches played so far, the African
vice-champions are worthy group leaders having played consistently
effective and occasionally sparkling football. The
Azzurri however are kicking themselves at having missed
out on the three points against Uruguay in their opening match,
despite leading for long periods.
Senegal - Italy, Wednesday 7 November, 11:00 (local time)
Senegal can approach this match in a serene state of mind. The Lions of Teranga have done all that was asked of them, winning in impressive fashion against Japan and Uruguay. With their quarter-final berth already secure, they will be looking to keep their 100% record intact and win the group.
The Italians will be hoping that their opponents are already concentrating on their last eight match. Whatever happens, Italy will have to make fewer mistakes than they did against Uruguay and hope that Roberto Pasquali is as goal-hungry as he was against Japan. A win would see them through to the quarter-finals, but should Giancarlo Magrini's team lose, then they would be reliant on Japan beating Uruguay, which would keep Italy in second spot in the group.
The Italians have a full squad to choose from, while Senegal will give late fitness tests to Modou Thioune and Bou Dioum, who were injured against Uruguay.
While Senegal have two wins in as many FIFA World Cup matches, it took Italy five games until they finally got their first win under their belts, against Japan on Monday.
We want to win our match against Italy at all costs. It would be great for team spirit to go through to the quarter-finals having won all three matches. - Pape Koukpaki, Senegal player
Senegal are a good team with some big players. It will be tough, and we know we'll have to perform with guts and strength if we are to win. - Giancarlo Magrini, Italy coach