The road to Portugal
Brazil lived up to their tag as favourites practically throughout the South American Beach Soccer Championship and head to Portugal as continental champions. After thrashing Peru 7-3, Uruguay 6-3 and Venezuela 8-1, the Canarinho suffered their only setback of the qualifying tournament in the shape of a 7-5 defeat by age-old rivals Argentina, but this loss was not enough to prevent them from moving through to the semi-finals as the winners of Group B. Having crushed hosts Ecuador 14-1 in the last four, the Brazilians were once again a cut above in the final, where they cruised past Paraguay 8-3 to claim the trophy for the fifth time in the competition's six editions.
Strengths and style
Since Alexandre Soares returned as coach, Brazil seem to have rediscovered their legendary swashbuckling style and will be hoping that this leads to more glory on the world stage after their frustration at the last two tournaments. Evergreen goalkeeper Mao is an assured presence between the posts, while fellow seasoned campaigner Bruno Xavier provides the main creative thrust alongside Datinha. Indeed, between them the two wide men scored 42 per cent of the team's goals in qualifying (20 of 48), with Datinha leading the way on 12. Another veteran, Sidney, also impressed in Ecuador, as did young pivot Rodrigo.
FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup record
Brazil and the game of beach soccer go hand in hand: Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro was not only the centre of the sport's emergence, but it also hosted the first three FIFA Beach Soccer World Cups. After surprisingly finishing third at the inaugural event in 2005, the Canarinho triumphed in the next four editions between 2006 and 2009. Most recently, they were runners-up in 2011 and came third again in 2013, with Russia lifting the trophy on both occasions.