The road to Bahamas
The reigning world champions were in devastating form in the first group phase of the European qualifiers, which were held in Jesolo, Italy. In recording three wins out of three, they scored 34 goals and conceded just the one, against England. In the second group phase they made sure of their place at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Bahamas 2017 with three more wins out of three, defeating Greece 8-0, France 5-3 and Belarus 5-4. Though the Portuguese went down 3-1 to Switzerland in the semi-finals, they gained some consolation with an emphatic 8-3 defeat of Italy in the match for third place.
Strengths and style
Portugal boast some of the best players in the world. Leading their pack is the experienced Madjer, who has picked up no fewer than ten individual awards at world finals: three adidas Golden Boots (2005, 2006 and 2008), two adidas Silver Boots (2011 and 2015), two adidas Golden Balls (2005 and 2006), two adidas Silver Balls (2007 and 2009) and an adidas Bronze Ball (2015). Also worth watching out for are the extraordinarily talented Belchior, Jordan Santos and Rui Coimbra.
FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup record
Though long-established as a force in beach soccer, Portugal had to wait until 2015 before finally winning their first FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup title, defeating Tahiti 5-3 on home sand to lift the trophy. Their previous best performance came when they finished runners-up at Rio de Janeiro 2005, while they claimed third place at Marseille 2008, Dubai 2009 and Ravenna/Italy 2011, where they lost to Brazil in the semis before defeating El Salvador in the match for third place. The Portuguese missed out on a place at Tahiti 2013.