THE DAY REPLAYED – Day four of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Tahiti 2013 produced the competition’s first three quarter-finalists, as the tournament hosts progressed along with Spain and Argentina. Three sides who will not be joining them are USA, United Arab Emirates and the Netherlands, all of whom were eliminated after losing for a second time.
The high point of the day was Tahiti’s extra-time defeat of a dogged American side, which took the nation through to the knockout stage of a FIFA tournament for the first time in its history. With Spain beating UAE earlier in the day to seal their place in the next round, all that remains to be decided in Group A is who wins the section. The Tahitians and the Spanish will settle that issue when they meet on Tuesday.
There is a similar picture in Group B, where Argentina saw off Solomon Islands and were then confirmed as section winners when El Salvador beat the Netherlands. The Central Americans will now face off against the Bilikiki for the right to join the Argentinians, who have beaten both sides and cannot be caught.
There’s a first time for everything
Patrick Tepa’s extra-time brace against USA triggered wild celebrations among his team-mates and jubilant scenes in the packed stands at the To’ata Stadium. They also ensured that the island nation would be taking its place in the knockout stages of a FIFA competition for the first time in four attempts, Tahiti having previously fallen in the group phase at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Egypt 2009, the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Italy 2011 and the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013.
In the blink of an eye
There are not that many things you can do in a single second but, as Argentina’s Lucas Medero showed, that is all the time it takes to score a goal. The Albiceleste wide-man proved the point by volleying home straight from the kick-off in the third period of his side’s match with Solomon Islands.
A fleeting visit
Attracted by the light, moths are a very common sight at night in Papeete at this time of year. Yet for some reason, they were conspicuous by their absence in the first three days of the competition, a mystery that puzzled local people. The moths returned in their hundreds during Argentina’s match with Solomon Islands, however. But no sooner had they put in an appearance, than they fluttered off into the night sky, staying away from the action for the rest of the evening.
12 - In scoring once and twice respectively against Solomon Islands, El Salvador’s Frank Velasquez and Agustin Ruiz took their overall FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup goal tallies to 12, putting them level with Mexico’s Morgan Plata as the CONCACAF Zone all-time top scorers in the competition.
“We were a little bit out of it at the start and we can’t let that happen in a World Cup, where the level is so high. Luckily the players managed to calm themselves down, play some good beach soccer and turn the game around,” Hector Petrasso, Argentina coach.
Next up, Sunday 22 September (local time)*
Japan-Côte d’Ivoire (16:00, Group D)
Iran-Ukraine (17:30, Group C)
Russia-Paraguay (19:00, Group D)
Brazil-Senegal (20:30, Group C)
*All matches to be played at the To’ata Stadium in Papeete.