The day replayed - Brazil reached the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup final for the fourth year in succession after easily disposing of Portugal, and will now meet the tournament’s surprise package Switzerland, who enjoyed a comfortable win over Uruguay in the other semi-final.
Brazil strolled into a 4-0 lead at the end of the first period before running out 8-2 winners over the Europeans. Those backing Portugal were to be disappointed, as Madjer and his team failed to repeat their exploits of 2005 and will have to settle for a third-place play-off.
In the other semi-final, Dejan Stankovic was again the key man for Switzerland, hitting four goals against a team renowned for their defensive qualities. Uruguay were powerless to stop the Swiss attack put seven goals past Diego, one of the best goalkeepers in the tournament.
The final is all set to be a thrilling encounter between the well-oiled Brazil and unheralded Switzerland. The South Americans have shown all their experience so far, while the Swiss have used the surprise factor to their advantage. The game also brings together the best two attacking line-ups of the tournament, led by Bruno (8 goals) and Stankovic (15).
The partnership between Benjamin and Buru proved crucial. A perfect example was Brazil’s second goal scored by the former. He received the ball from a Buru corner and hit a right-footed shot which Bruno, the Portuguese goalkeeper, had no chance of saving. Buru later explained his almost telepathic understanding with Benjamin: “I’ve played with Benjamin for the last 11 years, he knows where to find me and I know where he’ll be.”
Time for the Samba: Thirty seconds before the end of the first period of the Portugal-Brazil match, with the South Americans leading by four clear goals, the Brazilian players began to dance with the ball, amazing the crowd who cheered every touch they made.
Hard luck: Portugal captain Madjer is the lynchpin of his side and very often the instigator of their best moves. He was hoping to score past the Brazilians today, like he always seems to do in games between the two teams, but luck deserted him and despite numerous shots he failed to make the scoresheet.
For whom the bell tolls: The bells in Dubai belonged to the Swiss supporters, who had brought them along as a symbol of their country’s heritage. The fans rang them a total of seven times, once for every goal they scored, thus creating a unique atmosphere at the game, just as they have done at all of Switzerland’s matches so far.
Lost expectations: When Uruguay captain Martin scored 35 seconds before the end of the second period to reduce the deficit to 3-1, many believed the South Americans would come back strongly in the final period. Dejan Stankovic extinguished those hopes by restoring the three-goal gap at the start of the final period.
Have your say
Will Brazil vindicate their favouritism in the final or will Switzerland cause another upset? Will Portugal or Uruguay seize bronze? Simply click on 'Add your comment' to share your views.