Amarelle supershow gives Spain the last ticket
Spain booked their place in the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Rio de Janeiro 2005 after a straightforward 7-2 victory over Italy. They will play in Group A, taking on Thailand on Monday before facing the daunting prospect of the hosts Brazil on Tuesday.
Spain's coach Joaquin Alonso was confident of progressing further in the competition: "The difference between teams is really slim now in beach soccer, and we thought that it was going to be difficult for us tonight. We know that playing Brazil at home in the first round is going to be difficult. But I think we are better than Thailand, so we can qualify."
As expected it was Spain's superb Amarelle who was the game's outstanding player. He scored four times (the first after just 18 seconds) and set up another for Eloy. His third and Spain's fifth was probably the pick of the bunch - a virtuoso left-foot volley straight from the keeper's throw.
Italy offered perspiration throughout, especially through their target man Agostini who scored the best goal of the night to equalize Amarelli's early strike. He received the ball from the keeper, then juggled four times before swivelling to volley past Scalabrelli.
But Juanma quickly restored Spain's lead and the result never looked in doubt from that moment. Alonso's men moved into a 6-1 lead as Italy chased the game. Their finishing was so clinical at times as to be almost cruel on the Italians. They will need to display similar ruthlessness against the hosts on Tuesday.
Prior to the Italy-Spain play-off, the two losers from yesterday played off for third place. Switzerland came out on top - beating Austria 7-3 in an entertaining encounter. The teams had warmed up to the singing and dancing of the South African team who had brought the party with them to the stadium.
The Austrians, outplayed by Italy yesterday going down 4-1 started with Troll in goal, Trauner, Oberhammer, Kondert, Brandstetter and Stieglitz. Nico, Baumi, Mo, Schirinzi and the impressive Leu started for Switzerland.
Schirinzi and Meier set the tone early with two goals for the Swiss. But for those who assume Beach Soccer might be the preserve of the smaller, lighter players, it may be a surprise that Austria's Oberhammer has been his country's best player over the two games. He showed his power straight from the restart, his fierce volley dipping under the bar to bring the score back to 2-1.
Switzerland had too much quality for the Austrians though, Schirinzi with three more, Davor and Frueh put them out of reach to take third place.