The year's most colourful footballing spectacle has drawn the eyes of the world to the Stade du Prado in Marseille, where the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2008 is now well under way. As all involved revel in the sun-drenched show on France's Mediterranean coast, the question on everybody's lips is: who will take top honours at Marseille 2008?
The users of FIFA.com appear to have few doubts, with an impressive 40.19 per cent of those who voted in our latest poll backing the Seleção to hold onto the crown they won last year on Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach. Coach Alexandre Soares side were the clear winners in all four language versions of the website, all that remains is for the Auriverde to match these high expectations at the first edition of the tournament held away from Carioca shores.
The poll also threw up a couple of surprise results. While the overall third, fourth and fifth places went to Mexico (15.74 per cent), Spain (10.83 per cent) and Portugal (10.36 per cent) respectively, the second- and sixth-placed finishers were less predictable. Indeed, while host nation France picked up almost as many votes as Brazil in the French-language version of FIFA.com, overall Eric Cantona's side could only manage sixth spot with just 6.68 per cent of the total.
In contrast, second place in the voting went to the option "Other", with included national squads of the calibre of Russia, Uruguay or Senegal. The African outfit have already signalled their intentions with a shoot-out victory over France in their opening match, and never before have there been so many quality contenders with such a genuine thirst for success. Brazil, you have been warned...