Sea, sun, sand, music, spectacular skills, an electric atmosphere and top-class athletes: the qualifiers for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2009 are set to kick off!
Tomorrow, 11 March, CONMEBOL will host the first qualifying tournament for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Dubai 2009 in Montevideo, Uruguay. The CONCACAF, OFC, UEFA, CAF and AFC tournaments will follow close on its heels.
Having been held in Brazil, the birthplace of beach soccer, in 2005, 2006 and 2007, and in France in 2008, the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup will again move continents in 2009, and the fifth edition will take place on Jumeirah beach in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from 16 to 22 November. Sixteen teams, including the United Arab Emirates who qualify automatically as hosts, will battle it out for the title that was claimed for the third time by Brazil in 2008.
AFC: Two teams will participate in the final competition, as well as the United Arab Emirates who as hosts automatically qualify. The dates and location of the tournament will be confirmed at a later date.
CAF: On the beaches of Durban in early July, South Africa will face seven other countries (Cameroon, Cape Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt, Mozambique, Nigeria and Senegal)* at home in a bid to secure one of the two spots available to African teams at the final competition in Dubai.
CONCACAF: Puerto Vallarta (Mexico) will play host to the qualifying tournament from 29 April to 3 May. Two of the six teams participating (Bahamas, Canada, Costa Rica, USA, El Salvador and Mexico) will go through to the final competition.
CONMEBOL: The qualifying rounds will be played out in Montevideo, Uruguay from 11 to 15 March. Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Venezuela, Peru and Uruguay will go head to head to secure the three spots open to the South American confederation.
OFC: Fiji, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Tahiti will be playing for Oceania's spot in the final competition on the beaches of Moorea in Tahiti from 19 to 23 May.
UEFA: The 2008 adidas Golden Ball winner, Ramiro Amarelle, will play the European qualifiers at home. Castellon, Spain, will play host to the 28 teams who will be playing for the five European places in the final competition from 7 to 14 June.
* participation of teams to be confirmed