Russia, Spain and Italy advanced to the semi-finals of Europe's qualifying competition for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup on Friday and as a result all three teams have reached Portugal 2015, joining Switzerland, who qualified yesterday, at the sport's largest event.
The Russians, current two-time world champions, convincingly beat a spirited Romania side 5-2 in a match that ended play in Group 3. The Spaniards, however, were three goals down against Ukraine, but La Roja made it 6-6 two minutes from time and confirmed their place in the top four of the tie by winning on penalties 4-3. Hat-trick hero Llorenc and goalkeeper Dona starred for the second-place finishers at Tahiti 2013 as Spain finished atop Group 2.
Hosts Italy were made to work extra hard to earn a tight 4-2 victory over Belarus. In a tense match, Italy took the lead in the final period behind a strong performance from Gori, who had two goals on the night. The three qualified teams from today action, along with Switzerland in the semi-finals. Spain face Switzerland, while Italy take on Russia.