- Belarus are Europe's first entrant into Paraguay 2019
- They qualify for their first Beach Soccer World Cup
- Four more European teams will join them
Belarus have become the first European side to qualify for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Paraguay 2019. The Belarusians reached their first global finals by locking up a top-two finish in Group 1 at the European qualifiers in Moscow.
After edging Italy 3-2 on penalties following a 3-3 scoreline in their second qualifying match-up, Belarus watched Portugal dispatch Poland 8-3, which punched the eastern European outfit's first ticket to the Beach Soccer World Cup. Belarus defeated Portugal 3-2 in their first Group 1 match.
The second World Cup spot for Group 1 will be contested on Friday when Portugal and Italy square off. A win for either side would have them packing their bags for Paraguay 2019.
Europe's qualification competition began with 20 teams vying for five World Cup places. The number of participating teams has been whittled down to eight following the group phase. The remaining sides were reclassified into two groups.
Group 2 features Russia, Spain, Azerbaijan and Switzerland. Russia overwhelmed Azerbaijan 6-0, while Switzerland topped Spain 9-6, leaving the group undecided heading into the final matchday. Russia lead with six points, while Spain and Switzerland sit on three apiece, with Azerbaijan yet to get off the mark.