Two teams who have both been runner-up twice at FIFA Beach Soccer World Cups are preparing to square off in Dubai early tomorrow morning in the quarter-finals.

Group B runners up Tahiti with wins over World heavyweights Argentina and Spain face Group A winners Italy who have the best defensive record at the tournament.

The Tiki Toa rested a quartet of players for their final Group match against Iran, (lost 5-3) but they had already qualified for the quarters.

The team’s Technical Advisor, Swiss Beach Soccer guru Angelo Schirinzi says it was a good decision to rest some players ahead of the quarters.

“It was a tactical move by us because they are important players like Heimanu Taiarui and Heirauarii Salem who were on yellow cards, and we didn’t want to risk losing them for the quarter finals. So, we are happy that we can go with a full squad against Italy.”

Schirinzi is more than satisfied with the side’s performances so far at the tournament.

“Yes, we are very happy indeed. Argentina and Spain are two big football countries and Spain is also in Beach Soccer, an absolute powerhouse. And beating these two countries, it was fantastic. We lost against Iran, but we did a good match. And now we have the full team behind us to face Italy.” Schirinzi said.

Italy is ranked 7th in the world with Tahiti 20th but Schirinzi scoffed at suggestions his side could be considered underdogs.

“Here we are surely no underdog. We are not considered in Dubai as an underdog, this is for sure but to the Dubai around the dog. This is for sure. But of course, Italy is a fantastic team. They have a lot of experience in the sport, the place they know how to play. And you know, Italy is always good for a win, of course. But you know, this Tahiti team, as I see them, we also prepared very well. We are now for the last two months we have stayed together; we have a good atmosphere of quality players, and we try our best to go to the semi-finals.” Schirinzi said.
Italy has the world’s top-rated goalkeeper in Leandro Casapieri who is efficient with his feet and exceptional with his hands while Josep Jr has scored two goals, two assists, and has had two Player of the Match awards at the tournament.

The match is the last of the quarterfinals, kicking off at 9pm Dubai time with the winner to meet Belarus or Portugal in the semi-finals. The other quarter finals have Brazil against Japan and Iran playing the host nation the United Arab Emirates.