THE DAY REPLAYED – Day three of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Dubai 2009 saw eight matches played out on Jumeirah Beach, at the end of which the quarter-final line-up was decided.
The standout tie in the last eight will surely be the repeat of last year’s final between Brazil and Italy. In the other quarter-finals, Portugal play Asian champions Japan, Spain face Uruguay, and tournament debutants Switzerland hope to continue their progress against the dark horses of the competition, Russia.
Today, Group A leaders Portugal ran out comfortable winners against Solomon Islands to ensure Madjer and Co reach the knockout stages for the fifth time in succession. Second place in the group was taken by Uruguay who showed great courage in beating the hosts 4-0.
Japan completed their smooth progress through Group B with their third win of the tournament, this time over El Salvador. The Asian champions are now hoping to better their achievements of 2005, when they reached the semi-finals. Spain, meanwhile, managed an unconvincing win against newcomers Côte d’Ivoire to take second spot, but Amarelle and his colleagues were a shadow of their former destructive selves.
In Group C Argentina came from behind to draw in the final seconds against Russia before going on to win on penalties. Sadly, it was a hollow victory for the South Americans who bid farewell to Dubai after missing out on the quarter-final berth to Italy, who qualified thanks to the head-to-head result between the two sides.
Dejan Stankovic stunned Brazil by scoring twice to put Switzerland in the lead in Group D but the experience of the world champions showed in the end, and they took maximum points from the group. African champions Nigeria grabbed the biggest win of the day, beating Bahrain 9-3 in an end-to-end game, after both sides had already been knocked out on Day 2.
Spain 9-6 Côte d’Ivoire
Japan 7-2 El Salvador
Russia 3-3 Argentina (3-4 after penalties)
Costa Rica 1-3 Italy
Portugal 6-1 Solomon Islands
Nigeria 9-3 Bahrain
United Arab Emirates 0-4 Uruguay
Brazil 4-2 Switzerland
Goal of the Day
Amarelle, 14’10” Spain-Côte d’Ivoire
The honour today goes to Amarelle’s first goal against Côte d’Ivoire, which not only showed excellent technique but was also vital in the context of the game. With the European champions trailing by two goals in the first period, Nico played a high ball to Amarelle, who scored with an overhead kick to haul his team back into the match.
Protest: Although his team won 7-2 against El Salvador to top the group, Japan coach Ruy Ramos left the substitutes bench to complain about his team’s performance. There is no doubt that Ramos will demand more from his team in their quarter-final against Portugal.
Nervous moment: The Italy-Costa Rica match played on pitch 2 saw the most nervous moment. Gli Azzurri had won 3-1 but then had to wait for the result of the Russia-Argentina game. The tension was clear on the Italian faces when they heard Argentina celebrating the equaliser. Then it was Italy’s turn to celebrate as they qualified thanks to their result against the South Americans.
Farewell party: Nigeria bade farewell to Dubai in style by scoring nine against Bahrain, with seven different players finding the net. Every time they scored the players had a different celebration, the best being by the youngest man in the tournament, Azeez Abu, who performed 'Elanda', a Nigerian dance.
Unwavering support: A large crowd gathered and were unwavering in their support of United Arab Emirates in their match against Uruguay. The visitors ignored the pressure and noise of the crowd though, and inflicted a defeat on the valiant hosts that saw them bow out of the tournament.
Family support: The Jaeggy parents were there to support their three sons, Valentin, Kaspar and Mo who made it difficult for the world champions. Goalkeeper Valentin stood firm time and again against the Brazilian attack lead by Benjamin and Bruno, and the happiness on his parents' faces was plain to see even after Switzerland had lost the match.
Have your say
Can European champions Spain find their form of old in the knockout stages?