THE DAY REPLAYED - Portugal and Mexico qualified for the quarter-finals of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Rio de Janeiro 2007. USA and Russia were forced to bow out, but not without giving their more experienced opposition something to think about.
In their first ever participation, Mexico got the win they needed to make it through to the last eight, handing the Solomon Islands their third defeat. In the first match of the day, Iran notched a consolation win over a Spain side who had already qualified and decided to rest a number of their regulars.
Group C:Mexicocruise,Russiaout with a bang
Some mistakes you live to regret. The ones made by Russia in their opening match against Mexico doubtless cost them a place in the quarter-finals, as Nikolai Pisarev's men proved against Brazil that they are among the top teams in the world of beach soccer. Russia ran the world champions perilously close in a match which was a wonderful advert for the sport. They even had two chances to win the penalty shoot-out but finally crashed out when Rustam Shakhmelyan missed his spot-kick.
Russia then needed the Solomon Islands to beat Mexico in the other match of the daymake it to the quarter-finals. The North Americans had other ideas though, with Gustavo Rosales and Morgan Plata each bagging a brace to secure the three points. El Tri thus finish in second place three points behind Brazil and will face Spain in the quarters.
Group B: USA fall in the final second
In the opening match, Iran pulled off a surprise win over Spain in the only game of the day where nothing was at stake, with the Furia Roja already through and assured of top spot and Team Melli out of the competition. Joaquin therefore decided to give his stars a rest, with Amarelle for example taking no part in the match other than to sing the national anthem. The fact that Spain sent out a "B team" should not detract from Iran's first win at a FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. Keeper Hamed Ghorbanpour was the hero, scoring two of his team's five and finishing the tournament on three goals - quite a feat for someone who stands some 35 metres away from the opposition goal.
The other match in the group more than made up for the lack of suspense in the first encounter as USA took on Portugal. The latter are unaccustomed to facing winner-take-all situations this early in a competition and were on the brink of elimination during extra time, only for Bruno to save the day against Joshua Nolz and Jevin Albuquerque. The Americans then had their minds on a penalty shoot-out as the stop-watch ticked onto the last second when suddenly Bilro surged forward to notch the winner and send his team into the quarter-finals. Jose Mateus' men will have to take matters in hand a lot earlier if they expect to win their next match against the mighty Brazil in a tie worthy of gracing the Final.
Player of the day
Portugal's Bilro sprang like a jack-in-the-box in the last second of extra time to knock the US out, just when the North Americans were hoping to make it through to the knock-out phase for the first time in their history. The goal also set up a mouth-watering quarter-final clash between Brazil and Portugal.
The numbers game
14 - the number of penalties it took to find a winner between Brazil and Russia in the second match of the day. Russia missed two chances to secure the win that would have seen them through to the next round, and Shakhmelyan was the unfortunate player who sent the 14th and final effort wide of the target.
What they said
Jevin Albuquerque, USA player
The tournament may be over for us, but there's no way I'm going home. You'll find me out here on the beach still playing football!
France and Argentina will square off on Wednesday for second place in Group D and a place in the quarter-finals. In Group C, Italy and Uruguay will fight it out separately, the former playing Senegal who have already qualified and the latter facing Japan who have been knocked out.