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Cosimo SibiliaPresident of Lega Nazionale DilettantiFifteen years of beach soccer in Italy
Dick WhalenNASSC Tournament DirectorThe North American Sand Soccer Championships turn “Silver”
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Joan CuscóBSWW PresidentClosing a successful season with the next FIFA Beach Soccer world Cup in our mind
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18 May 2019
El Salvador, USA, Panama and Mexico to contend for World Cup qualification
The quarter-finals have cut eight teams to just four but only two will make it to the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup!
A day of quarter-final ties has once again cut the number of teams competing for qualification to the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Paraguay 2019 in half.
El Salvador, USA, Panama and Mexico continued their perfect campaigns to steam into the semi-finals, but tomorrow, two of their runs must come to an end, while two of them will continue all the way to Paraguay.
This is how the day’s quarter-finals bouts were fought…
El Salvador v Bahamas
El Salvador had stormed their way to the quarter-finals with an unbeaten run through the group stages, sweeping aside all three opponents. The Bahamas had enjoyed great form too, but had been defeated the previous day by a single goal against the USA.
The Salvadorians started just where they’d left off, as Ramirez belted a freekick right into the top corner to open the scoring.
Ruiz then took his tournament tally to seven, doubling the El Salvador advantage. Bahamas pressed but couldn’t find the back of the net and just before the end of the period, Velasquez found space to squeeze in number three.
It was a flying start for the men in blue, but at the start of the second period, the Bahaman number ten, St Fleur, ended a penetrating run with a powerful shot to pull the score back to 3-1 . At the game’s midpoint, Robles flicked the ball up to volley in number four, but just before the second break Thompson netted to take the score 4-2.
Batres found himself one on one with the keeper and calmly curled it into the bottom corner. Soon after, he netted another to create a four-goal cushion but Bahamas were not giving up easily, as St Fleur brought one back to claim a brace.
El Salvador moved the ball well though, and managed to score three more before the final whistle, with Ruiz completing his hat-trick, to confirm their semi-final status, with a winning score of 8-4.
The journey ends here for the hosts of the last FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, but Rudis Gonzalez Gallo’s men are one win away from qualifying for the 2019 edition in Paraguay.
Goals: 1-0: Ramirez, min. 10 (1); 2-0: Ruiz, min. 5 (1); 3-0: Velasquez, min. 0 (1); 3-1: St Fleur, min. 11 (2); 4-1: Robles, min. 5 (2); 4-2: Thompson, min. 0 (2); 5-2: Batres, min. 8 (3); 6-2: Batres, min. 6 (3); 6-3: St Fleur, min. 4 (3); 7-3: Ruiz, min. 4 (3); 7-4: Williams, min. 3 (3); 8-4: Ruiz, min. 1 (3);
USA v Guadeloupe
The battle to join El Salvador in the semi-finals got underway almost immediately. Even though it had been the United States who had topped their group taking nine out of nine points, it was Guadeloupe who drew first blood.
Phirmis spun away from two defenders to smash in the opener. They could have had more but the American defense held strong and when Nick Perera was taken down in the box, he calmly punished the opposition by slotting away the penalty.
This is how the first 12 minutes ended and it was clear that passage to the semi-finals would not come easily for either team.
The USA upped their attacks in the second period but they struggled to take the lead despite controlling much of the possession. Eventually Akol snatched the lead with a sublime first-time overhead, netting his tenth of the tournament.
Then another overhead, this time from Mondragon, made it three and Perera added the third bicycle kick in as many minutes, as the US went into the final period with a comfortable lead.
The goals stopped coming in the last third of the match but Guadeloupe desperately needed to pull themselves back. As much as they increased the pressure it wasn’t enough to find the net again, and a final strike from Akol put the game to bed in the final minute.
USA will play El Salvador in tomorrow’s semi-finals in a straight play-off for one of the two precious Concacaf berths in at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Paraguay.
Goals: 0-1: Phirmis, min. 11 (1); 1-1: Perera, min. 7 (1); 2-1: Akol, min. 4 (2); 3-1: Mondragon, min. 2 (2); 4-1: Perera, min. 1 (2); 5-1: Akol, min. 1 (3);
Panama v Guatemala
There were just two wins between one of these teams and a place at the 2019 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. It was Panama, perfect in their campaign so far, who got the match started with an early goal.
Luis netted the opener, managing to get a shot away as he fell backwards, getting Panama off the mark half way through the first period.
Eliecer Garcia then beat his defender to squeeze away a shot and double the lead. As a result, Guatemala went into the second period with work to do if they wanted a to join the USA and El Salvador in the semi-finals.
But things got worse for them as Luis netted his second and just a minute later, Rafael Garcia made it four with a dummy and then a sweet finish into the bottom corner. Bachez gave Pablo Jose Rodriguez’s men a glimmer of hope when he leapt to head in the opener for Guatemala early in the second period.
When Moran put away a penalty in the last minute of the second period it looked as if that hope had become more than just a glimmer, but then a sublime finish by Xavier Garcia saw the difference between the teams cruelly restored to three goals.
Deep into the last 12 minutes, Zaldaña thumped a rocket into the sand where it bobbled to fly into the net and then within seconds Bachez scored his second of the match with a fine chip. From being 4-0 down, Guatemala were now just a goal behind!
The next goal came but it went to Panama, as Eliecer Garcia tucked away number six from close range. After coming so close to completing the comeback, it was clear to see the disappointment of the Guatemalan players, as Panama celebrated wildly at the final whistle.
Panama join USA and El Salvador in the semi-finals, but now had to await the result of the next match to discover who their opponents would be…
Goals: 1-0: Luis, min. 7 (1); 2-0: E. Garcia, min. 2 (1); 3-0: Luis, min. 9 (2); 4-0: R. Garcia, min. 8 (2); 4-1: Bachez, min. 3 (2); 4-2: Moran, min. 0 (2); 5-2: X. Garcia, min. 0 (2); 5-3: Zaldaña, min. 4 (3); 5-4: Bachez, min. 4 (3); 6-4: E. Garcia, min. 1 (3);
Mexico v Trinidad and Tobago
There was only one place left in the final four, and whoever won this match between Mexico and Trinidad and Tobago would then have to see off Panama if they wanted to get to the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.
The hosts were off the mark first, when Villa rose high to guide in a header and just minutes later they had another, when Hernandez struck low from the right to find the bottom corner and double the Mexican advantage.
After that, a bizarre pitch invasion stopped the match for several minutes, as a swarm of bees covered the field and the players had to leave the sand.
After the bees moved on, the match continued until the whistle for the end of the first 12 minutes. After the restart Trinidad and Tobago wasted no time in getting themselves right back in the tie, when Bobb lost his marker in the box to nod in a corner at the far post.
They spent the rest of the period with just a goal between them and their hosts but with just 25 seconds on the clock Hospedales pounded in the equalizer. The was now one 12-minute period to separate these side.
Bobb grabbed his second of the match with a stinging shot that fizzed into the top corner to edge Chapman Yuri’s team ahead for the first time in the match. But the sides were equal again almost immediately, when Villa also completed a brace as he flew in to beat the defender to head in a throw from the sidelines.
The Mexicans in the crowd regained their enthusiasm, and even more so when Vizcarra netted a pair of beautiful strikes to put Mexico two ahead in the space of just 60 seconds!
With just nine seconds on the clock there was still time for Woodley to head in a fourth for Trinidad and Tobago but it wasn’t enough as the final whistle went to the delight and relief of the gathered fans.
It was a close shave but Mexico complete the final four and will face Panama in Saturday’s semi-final.
Goals: 1-0: Villa, min. 10 (1); 2-0: Hernandez, min. 7 (1); 2-1: Bobb, min. 11 (2); 2-2: Hospedales, min. 0 (2); 2-3: Bobb, min. 11 (3); 3-3: Villa, min. 5 (3); 4-3: Vizcarra, min. 4 (3); 5-3: Vizcarra, min. 3 (3); 5-4: Woodley, min. 0 (3);
Thursday 16th May
10:45 - Belize 2-3 Guyana (Group D)
12:00 - Antigua and Barbuda 9-4 Bonaire (Group C)
14:15 - USA 3-2 Bahamas (Group C)
15:30 - Turks and Caicos Islands 6-8 US Virgin Islands (Group B)
16:45 - El Salvador 8-1 Guadeloupe (Group D)
18:00 - Panama 4-3 Trinidad & Tobago (Group B)
Friday 17th May
14:15 – El Salvador 8-4 Bahamas (Quarter-final)
15:30 - USA 5-1 Guadeloupe (Quarter-final)
16:45 - Panama 6-4 Guatemala (Quarter-final)
18:00 - Mexico 5-4 Trinidad and Tobago (Quarter-final)
Saturday 18th May
16:45 – USA v El Salvador (Semi-final)
18:00 – Mexico v Panama (Semi-final)