The pathway to glory for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Tahiti 2013 has been unveiled following the Official Draw held at the Maison de la Culture (Te Fare Tauhiti Nui) in Papeete, Tahiti.
The event, marked by a dash of typical Polynesian flavour, was an important milestone for the September event which will be the first FIFA tournament to be held in a Pacific Islands nation.
Assisting in the draw process were some special guests including Jaime Yarza, Senior Manager FIFA Beach Soccer; Joan Cusco, General Manager FIFA Beach Soccer; Hinarani Longeaux, Miss Tahiti 2012 and Tahitian football legend Errol Bennett.
The 16 participating nations were drawn into the following four groups:
Group A: Tahiti, United Arab Emirates, Spain, USA
Group B: Netherlands, OFC qualifier, Argentina, El Salvador
Group C: Brazil, Iran, Senegal, Ukraine
Group D: Russia, Japan, Paraguay, Côte d'Ivoire
The only remaining qualifier to be determined is the Oceania representative with the OFC qualifying tournament to be held in August.
Much interested at the Official Draw focussed on host nation Tahiti, who will open the tournament against AFC qualifier United Arab Emirates.
Elsewhere champions Russia must face Japan, Paraguay and Côte d'Ivoire. Four-time champions Brazil, for their part, were dealt a tough challenge after being pitted alongside Iran, Senegal and Ukraine.
The FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Tahiti 2013 will be played 18-28 September in Papeete.