The third FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup will get underway in Durban (South Africa) on 3 July with the African qualifying tournament. The competition on the beaches of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ Host City will be the first of six qualifying events in all confederations, culminating in the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2007 from 2 to 11 November 2007. The final competition will see the top 16 teams battle it out on the sands of the Copacabana beach, possibly for the last time. In 2008, the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup will leave its birthplace and will be hosted for the first time elsewhere, the host country yet to be decided. Ecuador, France, Mauritius, Thailand, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates are bidding to stage either the 2008 or the 2009 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.
The qualifying format remains the same as last year, but the enlarged field of 47 participating teams reflects the increasing interest in this latest addition to the FIFA calendar. Brazil, unlike in previous years, will not participate in the qualifiers as they have automatically qualified as the hosts of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.
From 3 to 8 July, eight teams including hosts South Africa and newcomers Mozambique and Senegal will play for two African berths at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2007. The qualifying campaign will then continue with two more tournaments for the North, Central American & Caribbean zone and the South American zone in Acapulco (Mexico) from 8 to 12 August. The North, Central American & Caribbean and South American teams will compete on the Mexican beaches for just two tickets per zone to Rio. Four days later, the Asian qualifiers will start in Dubai (United Arab Emirates) with three of the eight teams advancing to the final tournament. Thailand will be appearing in their first ever Asian FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup qualifiers. Oceanian teams, meanwhile, will be looking for the one ticket to Rio de Janeiro, the precise date of the qualifiers yet to be defined.
The draw for Rio de Janeiro will be conducted following the climax of the European qualifying event in Marseilles from 21 to 26 August, which will see Europe's best battling it out for five tickets to the finals.
Casting an eye towards to the qualifiers and the final tournament itself, the official website for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2007, http://www.fifa.com/, will once again offer the most extensive coverage of all the action en route to and during the event in Rio de Janeiro in November. For full details on the competition, including updated team profiles, the match schedule, host country information, qualifying competition reports, results from previous competitions and much more, please visit the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup section of FIFA.com.