Mexico hold their nerve
© Foto-net

The opening match of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Rio de Janeiro 2007 went all the way to a penalty shootout, with Mexico holding their nerves to steal the win.

Ricardo Villalobos showed what he can do right from the kick-off, firing in a long drive to make sure Andrey Bukhlitskiy was awake in the Russian goal. The Europeans immediately adopted a safety-first approach and left lone striker Ildar Aliev to hold the ball up for his colleagues or go for goal on his own.

After a tight, goalless opening, the game sprang to life in the second period when Villalobos gave Mexico the lead. The Russians should have hit back straightaway but Egor Shaykov saw his penalty pushed away by Miguel Estrada.

Despite controlling possession, Russia fell even further behind when Oscar Gonzalez tapped in from close range halfway through the third and final period. Refusing to accept their fate, Nikolai Pisarev's side were rewarded for their efforts when late strikes from Anton Shkarin and Egor Shaykov pulled them level.

Shaykov then had a golden chance to grab the points in extra time but somehow missed with the goal gaping. And when it came to the shootout, the Mexicans made him pay dearly to claim an unexpected win.