One by one, Brazil have picked off their rivals here at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2007 as they bid to retain their title. And in today's semi-final the Selecao were again unstoppable as they brushed aside France 6-2 to set up a date with Mexico in the Final.
The fans were expecting an explosive game, and they got a taste
of things to come after just four seconds, when Sebastien Perez
Les Bleus ahead with the fastest goal in the tournament to
date. From the re-start, Buru equalised for Brazil scoring his
eighth goal of the competition. A minute and a half later, he made
it nine, putting him ahead of Portugal's Madjer and
Mexico's Miguel Estrada at the top of the goal scoring charts
and more importantly giving the hosts the lead.
The Auriverde were looking to stretch their lead but Jean-Marie Aubry pulled off some impressive saves from Buru then Junior Negao, while at the other end, Mao had to be at his best to keep out a deflected cross from Didier Samoun. The match looked as if it was settling into a rhythm when Bruno gave his marker the slip inside the box and beat Aubry from close range with a left-footed strike, giving the 2006 champions a two-goal lead over the 2005 winners at the end of the first third.
The second period was a quieter affair, with the Brazilians happy to sit back and the French having trouble getting the ball through to forwards Castro and Jeremy Basquaise. Bruno scored his second and his side's fourth, much to the chagrin of Eric Cantona, who was getting more and more agitated by the lack of accuracy of his strikers.
On the rare occasions that they found the target, it merely gave Mao another opportunity to showcase his talent, while his opposite number Aubry was also proving his worth, particularly from a powerful Benjamin free kick. Nevertheless, Brazil were well clear at the second interval.
The final period began much along the lines of the second, with both teams finding it tough to keep their shots on target. Keeper Mao tried to give his outfield colleagues a lesson in finishing but his effort was a yard off target. Buru danced down the left wing, to the delight of the already passionate home crowd, but Thierry Ottavy managed to intervene at the last second. The French defence finally cracked and it was Betinho who twice took advantage to bag a brace of his own.
Despite all their efforts, Les Bleus could only manage one more goal in reply, from Basquaise, and were powerless to stop Brazil making it to their second consecutive Final. History is also repeating itself for the French, who will feature in the third place match on Sunday for the second year running.