Photo by Aitor Alcalde – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

Despite a quick-fire start, Tahiti has been beaten 5-2 by Italy in their quarter final at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup™ in Dubai.

The Italians have come from two nil down early in the opening period to score three times in the final period to seal their place in the semi-finals at the Beach Soccer extravaganza.

Teva Zavarone’s OFC champions had got off to the perfect start, scoring twice in the first three minutes to shock the Italians. First Heimanu Taiarui opened the scoring with a powerful volley in the 3rd minute, his second goal of the tournament. Then 30 seconds later the Tiki Toa doubled their lead thanks to another super strike, this time from Tamatoa Tetauira.

Tahiti appeared fresh and hungry and were quicker to the ball in the opening stanza with Italy largely reduced to long range efforts. And it was a long-range shot that got the Italians back into the game just before the end of the first period. Marco Giordani caught Jonathan Torohia off his line and lobbed the ball into the back of the net.

(Heimanu Taiarui celebrates after scoring his goal against Italy. Photo by Aitor Alcalde – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Giordani scored his second goal in the 17th minute with an overhead kick after a mistake from the Tahiti defence. And he almost had a hat-trick two minutes later, but Torohia produced a brilliant diving save to his right to deny him.

Then Tahiti captain Raimana Li Fung Kuee made an incredible clearance off the line as Italy stepped up the pressure, but there was no further scoring in the second period.

The Italian keeper made two massive saves to deny Li Fung Kuee and Patrick Tepa in quick succession early in the final period. It proved a turning point as seven minutes from full-time Luca Bertacca fired Italy in front and with just over two minutes remaining Josep Junior Gentilin, with a magnificent bicycle kick sealed the win. But there was still time for Alessandro Remedi to add a fifth goal fort Italy and a place in the semi-finals against Belarus who stunned two-time world champions Portugal 4-3.  The other semi-final features Brazil against Iran.

Italy: 5 (Marco GIORDANI 12’, 17′, Luca BERTACCA 29’, Josep JUNIOR GENTILIN 34’, Alessandro REMEDI 35’)
Tahiti: 2 (Heimanu TAIARUI 3’, Tamatoa TETAUIRA 3’)