Penalties were needed to decide the two most important matches in Groups A and B of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Bahamas 2017 on Monday.
Switzerland defeated Senegal from the spot to win their section from the Africans, while Iran defeated Nigeria to advance to the last eight at their expense.
Meanwhile, the tournament hosts went out on a high note by recording their first ever World Cup victory.
Group A: Switzerland 6-6 Senegal (Switzerland win 3-1 on pens) | Bahamas 4-1 Ecuador
Group B: Italy 8-1 Mexico | Nigeria 4-4 Iran (Iran win 2-1 on pens)
Iran hold nerve: Three times Iran took the lead against Nigeria, and three times the Africans came back before moving in front themselves towards the end of the third period. The Asian side drew on all their experience to level the match and then win on penalties to reach the last eight for the third time running, with captain Mohammad Ahmadzadeh scoring two of their four goals.
Swiss don’t miss: Switzerland had to play catch-up for most of their match with Senegal and came within 19 seconds of losing in extra time. With Dejan Stankovic in majestic form, however, they eventually came away with the shoot-out win they needed to avoid Italy in the quarters. La Azzurra beat Mexico to win Group B with a perfect nine points out of nine and send their latest victims home pointless.
Taking stock: In cruising to a comfortable win over Ecuador, the Bahamas bowed out of their maiden world finals with a smile. “It’s time for a rest, and then we’ll get back to work again. We’ve got something we can build on now,” their captain Gavin Christie told FIFA.com. Though they departed without scoring a point in their three games, the South Americans also picked up some very useful experience.