United Arab Emirates

The past
United Arab Emirates have some pedigree in beach soccer, twice being crowned Asian champions to qualify for the 2007 and 2009 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cups. The team finished fourth in their group at Rio de Janeiro 2007, before ending Marseille 2008 third in their section. UAE featured in a third tournament in 2009, although this time as FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup hosts. Again the west Asians were eliminated at the group stage but not before scoring a hefty win over Solomon Islands and giving European elite Portugal a fright.

The present
United Arab Emirates were forced to do it the hard way before ending a four-year drought from the world stage. It was a case of second time lucky for the Emiratis who, after topping their group, suffered an agonising 3-2 loss against Iran in the semi-final. The luck, however, went their way in their second and final tilt at qualification with an epic 3-2 win over Australia in the third-place play-off in Doha.

The future
The prospects are looking bright for the game on sand in the United Arab Emirates, with the game particularly strong in Dubai. The nation has organised four qualifying tournaments, as well as welcoming the world at Dubai 2009. Significantly too, a national league was established last year. A constant with the national team since 2007 has been respected beach soccer tactician Marcelo Mendes, former coach of Brazil. Under his tutelage the team have added a tactical aspect to their game, and when at their best play an attractive and effective style.