Russia have well and truly proven that their shock win two years ago in Ravenna was no fluke with a deserved, and ultimately comfortable, win against Spain in the Tahiti 2013 finale. Their level of professionalism and single-minded approach is undoubted and was on display in Papeete on Saturday night as they overpowered the Spaniards.
They were made to work hard throughout the tournament to ultimately claim the spoils. They had two single-goal wins plus a hugely challenging comeback victory against Tahiti in the semi-final when the hold on their crown hung in the balance.
This time, however, Russia dominated once they took the lead in the second period, and the retention of their crown was rarely in doubt from the moment Anton Shkarin hit the opener 30 seconds into the second period.
Little wonder then that Russia coach Mikhail Likhachev was of the view that they left their best to last. “It was our best match of the tournament and we are so happy to take home a winner’s medal,” he said. “Perhaps the Tahiti game in the semi-final was our most difficult.”
A recurring theme throughout the tournament for Russia has been the goalscoring form of Dmitrii Shishin. A tireless and powerful figure all over the park, Shishin collected the adidas Golden Scorer Award edging out Brazil’s Bruno Xavier.
“I’m so happy to win the World Cup for a second time,” Shishin told FIFA.com in the bowels of the To’ato stadium with his winner’s medal hanging proudly around his neck. “I think this proves that last time was not an accident.
“The level of all the teams have grown a lot, especially teams like Tahiti and Japan. They have really developed quickly and it shows that beach soccer is growing rapidly.”
Shishin scored in every match, although it took until the final ten seconds of the final to complete the full set. That eleventh hour strike was enough to claim the coveted goalscorers’ award.
“I’m so happy, I honestly could not ever dream that such an award would come my way,” he said. “I have scored in many games and when I entered the field today I was hoping to score, but most of all I wanted the team to win.”