THE DAY REPLAYED - The latest FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup ended in familiar fashion on Sunday, with Brazil seeing off Switzerland to collect the trophy for the fourth year running. The European newcomers had no answer to a hugely experienced Seleção, containing six players - namely Benjamin, Betinho, Buru, Mao, Sidney and Andre - who were contesting their fourth decider.
The Swiss battled bravely, but with their goalscorer-in-chief Dejan Stankovic having an off-day by his standards, they were unable to match the South Americans’ superior finishing power. Faced with the competition’s best goalkeeper in Brazil’s Mao, Stankovic was restricted to just the one goal in his side’s 10-5 defeat.
By way of consolation, however, the Swiss striker collected the adidas Golden Ball as the outstanding player of the tournament and also made off with the adidas Golden Shoe, awarded to the top scorer.
For the second consecutive year, Portugal finished third, overcoming Uruguay in a high-scoring match for third place. The Portuguese were inspired by another one-man show from the magnificent Madjer, who struck seven goals to beat the previous scoring record of six in one game, which he himself set against Cameroon in 2006.
Andre gave Brazil an important psychological edge when he scored the opening goal of the final in the most spectacular manner, delighting the fans with a trademark overhead-kick that set his side on the road to victory.
Ten goals in 12 minutes
Portugal’s match for third place with Uruguay turned out to be something of a goal feast, with the two sides sharing a tournament-record ten goals in a thrilling second period.
Super Stan fails to fire
Dejan Stankovic’s goals have been one of the main reasons behind Switzerland’s sensational surge. Further proof of his importance to the side came in the final. The tournament’s top scorer had netted a minimum of two goals in each game to date and had scored in the first period of every match. Stankovic failed to keep that record going against the Brazilians, however, and his team suffered for it. By the time he finally got his name on the scoresheet 24 seconds from the end, the A Seleção were already out of sight. Fortunately for him, his team-mates had managed to keep the score respectable.
As Brazil eased off towards the end of the final, Switzerland took advantage to make the scoreline a little more respectable. The five goals they eventually scored were more than the Brazilians had ever conceded in the final before, each strike being celebrated enthusiastically by the European underdogs, and each strike being dedicated to their loyal fans.
Say it with lights
Showing their appreciation for a fantastic evening’s entertainment, with 36 goals being scored in the day’s two games, the tournament organisers laid on a superb fireworks and lights show, filling the beach with lasers recreating a beach soccer match. The spectacle was so good that even the celebrating Brazilian contingent set aside their samba drums for a few minutes to take it all in. Thanks Dubai for your magnificent hospitality.
What they said
“It’s a delight to play in this side and have so many team-mates who have done so much to help me score goals and to break another record. Our aim was to at least come away with a medal for the Portugal fans, and it’s always an honour for me to win an individual award. One day, though, we hope to go on and become the champions,” Portugal captain Madjer.
“First of all I’d like to congratulate Brazil because they have been the best side. I’m also very proud of my team. We kept fighting till the end and we managed to put five past Brazil, which is not easy. It has been a great tournament and we’ve done a really good job. We can be proud of ourselves,” Switzerland captain Angelo Schirinzi
“Thanks to God and this wonderful group of players we have been able to win our fourth title. We won because of our togetherness, our respect for each other and the love that there is in the camp, and this fourth title is reward for all our hard work. We’d like to dedicate it to our families, the people of Brazil and to everyone who has supported us along the way,” Brazil captain Benjamin