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10 Jul 2015
First-day winners eye next round
The second day of Group play for Groups A and B will be more dramatic than the 1st
Day three of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Portugal 2015 sees Groups A and B back in action. Portugal, Italy, Argentina and Switzerland are sitting pretty after winning their opening matches in normal time and can each check into the next round if they win and the other result in their respective sections goes their way.
Aiming to stop them from achieving that are first-day losers Senegal, Oman, Japan and Costa Rica, none of whom have any intention of throwing in the towel.
FIFA.com looks ahead to Saturday’s four games in Espinho.
Match of the day
Japan-Argentina, 16:00 local time
This duel between two of the three teams to have appeared at every FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup since its inception will be key to the final outcome in Group A. Strangely enough, for all their world finals pedigree, these two quarter-final aspirants have never met before. Argentina have more room for error following their narrow but confidence-boosting win over Senegal. Never easy to break down and always willing to fight, the Japanese make for tough opposition, as hosts Portugal found on the opening day of the competition.
The other matches
In the other game in Group A, the experienced Portuguese, who have the highest average age in the competition, take on the youngest team in Senegal, with the hosts entertaining hopes of moving another step closer to the knockout phase. Only once have the two teams met before, at Ravenna 2011, where the Europeans prevailed after penalties.
Italy created a good impression on their tournament debut, putting six past Costa Rica. Tactically astute and impressive on an individual level, the Italians boast a talented squad, giving them the option of rotating on a regular basis, another area in which they look to have the edge over their next opponents Oman. Concentration will be key for the inexperienced AFC side, who paid dearly for their lapses in their opener against Switzerland, while still managing to make life difficult for them.
The Swiss take on the Costa Ricans in the day’s final game. Indebted to flashes of individual brilliance for the three points against Oman, the Europeans may need to show more against Los Ticos, who were very interested spectators at that game and will no doubt be making changes at the back in a bid to blunt the Swiss threat.
Player to watch
Noel Ott (SUI)
Tipped to be one of the stars of the tournament, the 21-year-old Swiss did not disappoint on his world finals debut, scoring a hat-trick against the Omanis. Though not one of the strongest pivots around and standing only 5’10 tall, the skillful Ott has already showcased his ability to evade opponents and find the target.
24 years and 11 months - the average age of the Senegal squad, the lowest of the 16 participating nations. The Senegalese also have the youngest player in the tournament in their ranks: Hamad Diouf, who is 17 years and seven months old.
“The Switzerland game will be different to the first match. They play another type of beach soccer. Even so, it’ll be just as tough,” Franklin Zuniga, Costa Rica coach.
Costa Rica-Switzerland (17:30)
All times local