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S-final - Preview: Japan vs Portugal

Asuncion: Japan will have to do what they haven't done before - defeat Portugal - if they are to advance to the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Paraguay 2019 final.

Saturday's meeting will be the fourth between the two at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, with Portugal having won all three previous encounters.

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Still, Japan are a team in form and the only side among the four semi-finalists with a perfect record of four wins.

Japan's strength in Asuncion has been their disciplined and balanced play both in attack and defence – as quarter-final opponents Uruguay can testify - and if the Asian champions can maintain their form, a place in the final isn't beyond reach.

Japan have already equalled their previous best by making the semi-finals - a feat they achieved in the inaugural edition in 2005.

They finished fourth then and have a burning desire to better that in this edition which has seen them win three of their four matches by single goal margins.

While they are the semi-finalists with the fewest goals scored (17), they are also the side with the fewest goals conceded (12).

Japan advanced past Group A with wins over Paraguay (5-4), USA (4-3) and Switzerland (5-3 and then saw off Uruguay in the quarter-finals 3-2.

Portugal will not be easy, especially as they have impressed with their experienced displays, something that was again in evidence against Senegal, and emphatic goalscoring, with seven different players sharing their 24 goals thus far (only Italy have managed more, with 26).

Portugal defeated Nigeria 10-1, lost 9-7 to Brazil and beat Oman 3-1 to advance as Group D runners-up. They overcame Senegal 4-2 in the quarter-finals.

Did you know?

Japan goalkeeper Shingo Terukina is appearing in his ninth FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.

Semi-finals (UTC -3)
Italy-Russia:16:15 (UTC -3 )
Japan-Portugal: 18:00 (UTC -3)

Photos: FIFA via Getty Images

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