To say that Brazil are the dominant force in world beach soccer is something of an understatement. The sport has its very roots on Copacabana beach and its first standard bearers were Brazilian football legends such as Zico, Junior and Edinho. After winning the now-defunct World Beach Soccer Championships on nine out of ten occasions, Brazil hosted the first three editions of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, surprisingly exiting the first of them, held in 2005, at the semi-final stage. A Seleção have reigned supreme since then, however, winning the next four world finals.
Blessed with a seemingly inexhaustible supply of talent, Brazil are aware of the need to blood exciting young players. However, with experienced campaigners such as Benjamin and Buru still at their peak, finding a place for them in the team is no easy task. A changeover has been taking place, though, with a sprinkling of new stars making their way into the squad that will seek to continue Brazil’s domination of the sport at Ravenna 2011.
The four-time world champions face quite a challenge in Group D, where they will come up against Japan, Mexico and Ukraine, all of whom won their continental qualifying competitions. As overwhelming favourites to win not just the group but the competition as a whole, Brazil face the pressure of having to deliver. Anything less than their fifth world crown will be a major disappointment for the kings of beach soccer.
Junior, Zico, Edinho, Claudio Adao, Paulo Sergio, Magal, Junior Negao
Benjamin, Buru, Bruno Malias, Andre, Mao
Though the standard of the South American qualifying competition reached new levels in 2011, Brazil were in a class of their own on Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana beach. After sweeping to four wins out of four in their group, beating Paraguay 14-1, Peru 13-1, Chile 10-4 and Venezuela 7-0, the Brazilians recorded back-to-back 6-2 wins in the semi-finals and final, brushing aside Colombia and Argentina respectively.
The numbers game
215 - The number of goals scored by Brazil in 29 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup matches, an average of 7.4 per game. A Seleção have never lost a world finals match in normal or extra-time, their only defeat to date coming on penalties against Portugal in the 2005 semi-finals.