Portugal

The past
It has been a case of diminishing returns for the talented Portuguese at the last three FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup finals. In 2005 a thrilling penalty-shootout win over hosts Brazil in the semis was followed by a spot-kick defeat to France in the Final. The Lusitanians checked into the last four again the following year only to lose 7-4 to the Auriverdes and then go down 6-4 to the French in the match for third place. And the 2007 event saw Madjer and his cohorts bow out at the quarter-final stage following a memorable 10-7 loss to holders and eventual winners Brazil.

The present
Armed with the most potent strike force at the European qualifying tournament in Benidorm, Portugal racked up 45 goals in seven games to coast through to the finals in Marseille. That said, Ze Miguel's men once again came up short on the big occasion, succumbing 4-3 to their Spanish hosts in the final. It goes without saying, though, that the Portuguese will once again be in the frame come the main event in July.

The future
For the best part of three seasons now Portugal have lacked strength in depth. Pointing to a shortage of talent outside the starting five, coach Ze Miguel has spoken of the difficulties he faces in turning the situation around. Even so, new faces such as Alvaro, Sousa, Tiago and Bilro are continuing to progress.

Facts
Former stars
Jonas (2005), Andrezinho (2006), Ricardo Loja (2007)

Key players
Hernani (defender), Alan (midfielder), Belchior (forward), Madjer (forward)

Qualifying statistics
The Selecção das Quinas won their opening six matches in Benidorm before tripping up in the final. Over the course of the tournament they notched an average of 6.43 goals a game, while conceding just 12.

The numbers game
44:
The age of veteran skipper Hernani, an institution in the global game.