Tahiti edged their way into their first ever FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup after winning 3-1 on penalties, following a keenly contested 6-6 draw with Italy.
Li Fung Kuee struck the winning penalty to secure the victory, after a pair of late Italian goals had forced extra-time. Paolo Palmacci had seen his effort saved by Jonathan Torohia before Kuee settled the first shootout of the tournament, with both sides remaining unbeaten in Portugal in open play. The Oceania side will face the hosts in the final.
Tahiti had found themselves ahead inside 30 seconds through Heimanu Taiarui in their bid to put the memories of their semi-final defeat on home soil two years ago behind them. Palmacci levelled only to see them fall behind 12 seconds later in a back-and-forth encounter between the Tiki Toa and the Azzurri.
Captain Naea Bennett extended that lead to two early in the second period and, while the Italians were biting at their heels throughout, they didn't taste parity again until the dying minutes. Torohia produced his first penalty save of the day, denying Gabriele Gori, only for rebound to be delicately chipped in. Ultimately though, penalties would prove to favour the islanders.