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Italy out of beach soccer World Cup

(Xinhua)

10:28, September 09, 2011

RAVENNA, Italy, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- Hosts Italy crashed out of the beach soccer World Cup as they lost to El Salvador in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

Buoyed by a superb performance from Frank Velasquez, the Salvadorans, who, prior to this occasion had never progressed out of the group stage, made life hard for the Italians.

Italy assumed control of the match, scoring first through Paolo Palmacci, but slowing their pace, soon saw El Salvador draw things level through Velasquez in the first period.

A lively second period began, and though Italy snatched the lead on three different occasions, the hosts were unable to keep the Salvadorans from hitting back.

Franco Palma scored from a free-kick before Velasquez headed home his second. However, Palmacci was able to hit back just three seconds later, scoring with an overhead kick. Agustin Ruiz fired back from a free-kick, before Tomas Hernandez sealed a 4-3 lead for El Salvador at the second period's end.

Italy quickly knotted things at four apiece, with Paolo Palmacci netting his third from the spot to bring the crowd to their feet at Stadio del Mare. But celebrations were short lived as Velasquez matched Palmacci's tally to give El Salvador a 5-4 edge. Franco Palma missed a penalty, but Francesco Corosiniti ensured the Italians still had life as he bagged an equaliser at the end of normal time.

The Salvadorans sent Italy tumbling out, however, in extra time as Velasquez completed an outstanding performance with his fourth, dribbling past his defender to fire home and send El Salvador to the semifinals.

While Italy are left licking their wounds, no longer fighting for the title on home soil, El Salvador are poised to take on Russia on Saturday in the semifinals.

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