Qualifiers learn their fate

The 14 nations that have so far qualified for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Dubai 2009 today discovered their first-round destiny when the competition draw was made at the Dubai World Trade Center. The qualifiers will be joined by the two finalists from the AFC qualifying competition, to be held shortly.

Conducted by Joan Cusco, a member of the FIFA Futsal and Beach Soccer Committee, the draw also featured some big names from the football world. Joining France 1998 and UEFA EURO 2000 winner Christian Karembeu on the stage was Spain's hugely talented beach soccer captain Ramiro Amarelle, the adidas Golden Ball and Silver Shoe winner at Marseille 2008, and local hero Backhit Saad, a former professional footballer and now a key member of the UAE team.

Portugal coach Jose Mateus, Russia boss Nicolai Pisarev and Marcelo Mendes, the coach of host nation United Arab Emirates, were in the audience at the Sheikh Rashid Hall, as was Brazilian beach soccer idol Bruno Malias, three times a world champion with A Canarinha.

The FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2009 will take place on Jumeirah Beach from 16-22 November.

The draw for the group phase is as follows:

Group A
A1-UAE
A2-Portugal
A3-Uruguay
A4-Solomon Islands

Group B
B1-Spain
B2-Asia 1
B3-Côte d'Ivoire
B4-El Salvador

Group C
C1-Russia
C2-Costa Rica
C3-Argentina
C4-Italy

Group D
D1-Brazil
D2-Nigeria
D3-Switzerland
D4-Asia 2