Russia, Brazil and Spain completed the line-up for the quarter-finals of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Marseille 2008 on a day when United Arab Emirates, Mexico and Japan came up short. FIFA.com reflects on the conclusion to an appetizing group stage.
The big match
Spain 6-1 Japan
Goals - Amarelle (3), Cristian Torres, Nico, Javi Alvarez for Spain; Tomoya Uehara for Japan.
Almost 15 minutes had gone. Spain were struggling to break down their opponents, and only the reactions of Roberto Valeiro had denied Japan the opener. But cometh the hour, cometh the man. That man, when Spain are concerned, is perennially Amarelle. The inventive No10 produced a stunning overhead-kick to break the deadlock, scored again from the penalty spot, and then added his side's fifth goal with another sublime bicycle-kick as they clinched their place in the last eight.
Benjamin's phenomenal shooting from distance made absolutely sure of Brazil's place in the quarter-finals, and condemned Mexico to elimination after their repeat of last year's final. The Seleção No10 struck the first from a free-kick taken close to his own goalkeeper, and added another long-range set-piece as the defending champions eased to a 7-1 success. Earlier, Argentina had become the first team to advance with maximum points, sending Cameroon home pointless in the process. However, it was the battle to join the Albiceleste that took precedence in Group C, and it was Russia who emerged with the runners-up ticket following a convincing 5-0 win over United Arab Emirates. Andrey Bukhlitskiy kept an unprecedented second successive FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup clean sheet to aid this result, and Egor Shaykov played his part with two goals.
Facundo Minici (ARG)
Argentina are not just about goalkeeper Marcelo Salgueiro and the impressive Hilaire brothers. Minici's three-goal performance against Cameroon will have certainly underlined this to Spain.
What they said
"We now have two days to rest and prepare for our next game, which will serve us well. We'll do our best to reach the semi-finals. It will not be easy but we believe we can do it. We'll have to be even more efficient than we were today against the UAE," Nikolai Pisarev, Russia coach.