- Italy, Russia and Switzerland qualify for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup
- The trio will join Belarus at Paraguay 2019
- Iberian showdown looms for final European place
Italy, Russia and Switzerland became the latest three European teams to reach the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Paraguay 2019 on the penultimate day of European qualifiers in Moscow.
The three countries join Belarus – who secured their place in Paraguay the day prior – as the top-four finishers at the qualifying event. Italy and Russia are due to face off for continental supremacy on Saturday, 27 July, while Belarus and Switzerland will battle for bronze.
With five Beach Soccer World Cup places allotted to Europe, just one berth remains undecided. Iberian rivals Portugal and Spain will settle that in their fifth-place contest, as two decorated nations vie to reach another global finals.
Two-time Beach Soccer World Cup winners Russia return to the big stage with aplomb, having won every qualifier thus far while outscoring their last three opponents by 15 goals cumulatively.
Italy's lone defeat in qualification came on penalties to Belarus after a 3-3 end to regulation time. The Italians will eye a podium spot in Paraguay after finishing fourth at the previous two Beach Soccer World Cups.
Switzerland scored crucial back-to-back wins over Spain and Azerbaijan at the Moscow qualifiers to ensure their advancement to the world finals.