Portugal beat USA with a last-second extra time goal to qualify
for the quarter-finals of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2007,
where they will face host nation and defending champions Brazil. It
is the end of the road for USA, however, but they can be proud of
their performance at the tournament which augurs well for the
As kick-off approached, both teams knew exactly what was required of them: the winner would qualify for the knock-out phase, the loser would go home. Favourites Portugal decided to take the game by the scruff of the neck with Madjer opening the scoring with an exquisite free-kick before there were even two minutes on the clock. Bruno then doubled the European champions' lead five minutes later and that was the score at the first break.
At the restart, Alan scored his fourth goal of the tournament and it looked as if Portugal were home and dry. In reality, it was the wake-up call that the Americans needed. Benyam Astorga got them off the mark two minutes later, and he and Alan exchanged further goals before the hooter. Despite what still seemed to be a comfortable lead, nerves were starting to creep into Portugal's play with Barraca being sent off.
These nerves carried over into the final period, with Portugal's Bilro getting cautioned and conceding a penalty. Keeper Bruno came to his rescue with a fine save but USA were not to be denied. Joshua Nolz's accurate shot halved the deficit before Mario Chimienti took advantage of a defensive mix-up to score into an empty net and draw Roberto Ceciliano's men level. There was more to come: Jevin Albuquerque thought he had scored the winner with a delicate lob from a free kick, but Madjer showed what a great player he is by getting the better of Luis Montanez straight from the kick-off to equalise.
Extra time began, with a place in the quarter-finals still at stake. Nolz and Albuquerque came close to winning it for USA, but fate, or rather Bilro, decided otherwise, the latter diving full-length in literally the last second of the match to fire the ball home and send Portugal through.