With just a week to go before the start of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Tahiti 2013, the 16 participating teams have announced their official 12-man squads for the tournament, which is being staged for the seventh time. In total 192 players will be hoping to fulfil their dreams of glory on the idyllic sands of Papeete between 18-28 September.
Despite the retirement of some famous names, such as Brazilian twosome Benjamin and Buru and Spain’s Amarelle, and the absence of the likes of Alan and Madjer following Portugal’s failure to qualify, the roll call of nearly 200 players includes several stars of beach soccer.
Defending champions Russia will be lining up once again with Andrey Bukhlitskiy and Ilya Leonov, the respective winners of the adidas Golden Glove and Golden Ball at Ravenna 2011.
Four-time champions and the runners-up two years ago, Brazil return with the experienced goalkeeper Mao and the deadly Andre, the top scorer at Ravenna 2011. Masterminding the Canarinha challenge on this occasion will be coach Junior Negao, a star performer in three of their four world title wins.
Among the other big-name players on show in Tahiti will be Argentina’s Luciano Franceschini and Marcelo Salgueiro, both of whom are braced for their sixth world finals. Matching that achievement will be Spain’s Nico and the Japanese duo Shinji Makino and Masahito Toma, the only survivors of the Japan side that reached the semis at the inaugural FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in 2005.
Making his fourth appearance in the competition is Senegal’s Pape Koukpaki, who has scored more goals than any other African player in the finals, while El Salvador’s Frank Velasquez will be back for his third world finals. The scorer of the 1,000th goal in the tournament’s history at Dubai 2009, Velasquez picked up the adidas Bronze Ball and the adidas Bronze Scorer award at Ravenna 2011.
Click on the link on the right to see the 16 squad lists.