Russia have reached their first-ever FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Final after defeating well-supported El Salvador 7-3 in their semi-final at Stadio del Mare today.
El Salvador have proved to be the surprise package at Ravenna 2011 but their terrific winning run was halted by an impressive Russian side, who have won each of their five games at the tournament in regulation time.
Both sides had hit the post before Russia took an early two-goal advantage, Dmitry Shishin and Ilya Leonov scoring in quick succession. The Central Americans reduced the deficit a couple of minutes later, when Agustin Ruiz missed a penalty but quickly converted the rebound.
Russia found two more goals in the first period, however. Egor Shaykov’s header gave them a 3-1 lead before Alexey Makarov caught El Salvador goalkeeper Jose Portillo cold to make it 4-1 at the 12-minute mark.
The two sides traded goals in the second period. El Salvador’s star man Frank Velasquez scored his side’s second goal with a smart left-footed drive, but Shaykov soon restored the Russians’ three-goal advantage.
Velasquez found the net again as he tried to inspire El Salvador to an impressive comeback but again the Euro Beach Soccer League champions pulled clear, Egor Eremeev’s sweet volley ensuring they held a 6-3 lead at the second interval.
With El Salvador tiring, they could not mount a late charge in the final period and the remaining goal came from Yury Gorchinskiy as Russia continued their march towards tomorrow’s Final.