- Emmanuele Zurlo reflects on Italy’s runners-up performance
- adidas Silver Scorer provided one of the moments of Paraguay 2019
- “Portugal are deserved champions, but we’ll be back”
Emmanuele Zurlo’s buzzer-beater against Switzerland that sealed Italy’s place in the semi-finals was one of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Paraguay 2019’s unforgettable moments.
Zurlo was one of the standout players of the tournament, and alongside team-mate Gabriele Gori, the two form one of the deadliest pair of forwards in international beach soccer.
The adidas Silver Scorer spoke with FIFA.com moments after Italy’s 6-4 defeat by Portugal in the final to reflect on what was an outstanding tournament for him and the Azzurri.
“This is the biggest competition out there, so we are proud of what we have done,” Zurlo said. “I am really, really proud of my team-mates. In the end, we have the bitterness of not having won the final - it will always be there - the truth is that we had a great tournament and we need to be happy to have gone all the way to the final.”
Italy showed they meant business with an opening statement win over 2017 runners-up Tahiti. After a slip-up against Uruguay, they strung together three dramatic and spirited wins to reach the decider.
“The amount of messages of appreciation we’ve received over the last days has been amazing. It means that what we were doing was getting to the people and they were appreciating that.”
Zurlo scored in all three of Gli Azzurri’s knockout stage matches. His performance at the end of the Switzerland quarter-final will live long in Beach Soccer World Cup history.
“That was a demonstration that we believed until the very end. It was a really tough game and we managed to win. It’s something I still think about; it’s in my head all of the time.”
Italy returned to the Beach Soccer World Cup final for the first time since 2008.
“We’ve shown the world what kind of team Italy is, that we are capable of beating anyone, but in the end Portugal were deserved champions and were better, but we demonstrated that we’re there and we will be there and are ready to take on anyone.
“(Gabriele) Gori and I joked before the game that we would exchange the first and second top scorer awards for the World Cup trophy, but in the end, the opposite happened.”
Perhaps in two years' time in Russia, Gori and Zurlo will get their wish.