Romario got off the mark in the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Rio de Janeiro 2005 to send Brazil into the semi-finals as Brazil swept past Argentina 9-3. Disjointed on Tuesday, this Brazil combined flair and organisation and Saturday's match with Portugal will be very special.
"Brazil have a certain way of playing and we have to play that way - with flair, with joy," said a satisfied coach Jorge Ferreira Alves. "We have to know how to defend and how to attack and use all our players wisely. When we have the chance we have to give our crowd a spectacle and we did that today."
Charged with gelling a group of talents, the Brazilian coach - known as Indio - again started with Robertinho, Junior Negao, Benjamin, Jorginho and Romario. Against Spain they suffered the worst possible start when Amarelle volleyed in from the kick-off. Tonight they gave the dose to Argentina - Romario opening his account for this tournament within five seconds.
This was exactly what a capacity crowd - with many watching from the beach a giant screen - had come to see. The Argentinians suffered a torrid first period, finally reaching the break 5-1 down after Jorginho, Juninho and two from Nenem showed the crowd the best that beach soccer has to offer. Santiago Hilaire's long free-kick was the Albiceleste's only moment of cheer in an otherwise supremely bleak half.
The pace slowed in the second period with the impressive Ezequiel Hilaire wresting some level of parity from Indio's team. But the only goal of the 12 minutes came from Benjamin - a delightful chip over Salgueiro which arced slowly into the far corner.
The Selecao upped the pace in an entertaining last period Romario scoring twice more - one a left footed shot under the keeper, the other a volley after he had chest trapped Pierre's throw. Buru grabbed the ninth with a drive into the corner. Argentina scored twice through Ezequiel Hilaire and Acosta to keep the score respectable, but by then thoughts had turned to Saturday - and Brazil v Portugal in the semi-finals.
"We lost to two very special teams in France and Brazil," said Argentina coach Carlos Suarez afterwards. "I still think we are in the top four beach soccer teams in the world and I am proud of my players. They didn't fold in the atmosphere - on the contrary it motivated us."
Referees: Lakhdar Benchabane (FRA), Perdo Infante (VEN), Mohamed Saeed (UAE).