The best futsal coach to ever emerge from Canada is one step away from reaching the UEFA Futsal Euro Final.
Jorge Braz is one game away from leading Portugal to the championship match when they face Italy on Thursday afternoon (12pm EST). Although he is Portuguese through and through, many people will be surprised to learn that he is was born in Edmonton and lived here for the first eight years of his life.
The 41 year old has been at the helm of both the Portuguese men's and women's nationals teams for a few years now and a win today would see him take the men's side to their first tournament finals since the 2010 Euro.
Portugal defeated the Netherlands 5-0 in their opening match before drawing against Russia in a game chock full of highlight reel goals. Finishing second in their group by a goal difference, the Seleção moved onto the quarter-final stage and edged out a tough 2-1 result against Ukraine, courtesy of a pair of goals from star player Cardinal.
Italy have never lost to Portugal in competitive play and last met in a tournament at the 2012 FIFA Futsal World Cup in the quarter-finals in which Italy mounted a remarkable comeback from 3-0 down in the 2nd half game to take the win in extra time. Braz and the entire team were devastated after that game and are certainly hungry to avenge it.
Be sure to catch the epic rematch of the 2012 finals between Spain and Russia which kicks off soon after at 2:30pm EST. You can watch both semi-finals live online by livestreaming EuroSport 2.