In a game of the highest quality, Portugal beat Brazil on penalties to reach the final of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2005. Having scored four breathtaking goals during the game, it was fitting that their No 7 Madjer stepped up to score the winning penalty.
"I've been involved in beach soccer for eight years and this was one of the best matches I have ever seen," said Portugal coach Ze Miguel after the game. "I was the keeper when we last beat Brazil in the World Championship (in 2000), but now we are at the beginning of a new era of Portuguese beach soccer."
Before the game the FIFA Beach Soccer Tribute Awards ceremony took place honoring five former players for their contribution to the sport over the past decade. The awards to Edinho, Claudio Adao, Paulo Sergio Lima, Zico and Junior were presented by FIFA General Secretary Urs Linsi, Ricardo Terra Teixeira, President of the Brazilian Football Federation, and Luis Felipe Tavares, Board Member of FIFA Beach Soccer, S.L.
Brazil appeared in their blue change strip for the first time, but Indio continued with the same starting five for the third match in a row - Robertinho, Junior Negao, Benjamin, Jorginho and Romario. Ze Miguel began with Bruno, Hernani, Alan, Madjer and Marinho. With captain Hernani and the fair haired Marinho, Portugal possessed two formidable defensive bulwarks. In Madjer they fielded a player who proved he not only had the skill and technique to equal any of the Selecao, but also the deadly finishing to beat them.
There was almost too much quality in the first period for the crowd to cope with. It ended 3-3 but chances and goals didn't arise from mistakes so much as bewildering attacking movement and technique. Portugal raced into a 2-0 lead - Bruno spilling a shot for Madjer to drive home, then Marinho's long shot rearing off the sand into the top corner.
Indio then changed the course of the first 12 minutes by withdrawing the ineffective Romario and bringing Buru on. A hulking presence, he showed what an all-round player he is with a hat-trick before the buzzer sounded - the first player to score one in a single period. His third - a lightning left foot volley from a clearance was the pick. Madjer had made it 3-2, taking Alan's pass an executing a perfect bicycle kick from around the penalty spot.
Brazil gained the ascendancy in the second period, but Ze Miguel's team refused to lie down in the face of Nenem's trickery and the raucous crowd. The Selecao went ahead at 4-3 when Benjamin dribbled up the right and his bobbling shot beat Bruno into the far post. Their fifth goal raised the noise level still further - Chumbinho chipping to Nenem whose extravagant overhead flashed past the rooted Portuguese keeper. At this stage Brazil looked like overwhelming the Iberians, but in a pivotal moment Madjer volleyed the re-start straight in for his team to only trail by one at the break.
If that was a pivotal moment, there was no doubt who was the pivotal player. Madjer scored the only goal of a tense third period - his fourth of the match - to send the game into extra-time for the first time in this tournament. The No 7's importance to his team could be seen by the difficulty they had in creating chances with him on the bench.
With three minutes of tension left before penalties, Alan caused a stadium-wide intake of breath when his free-kick from half-way beat Robertinho's dive. But with just seconds remaining Benjamin was fouled and his fierce drive from inside his own half sent the tie into sudden death penalties.
First, Juninho fired left-footed high to Bruno's left. Alan replied, high into the opposite corner. Up stepped crowd favourite Jorginho, only for his shot to strike the post. It was left for Madjer to crown the game of his life, sending Robertinho the wrong way and his team into the final.
Referees: Carlos Robles (CHI), Christian Hauben (BEL), Mohamed Saeed (UAE).