At the start of the tournament most pundits tipped Brazil to reach the final. Hardly anybody, however, gave new boys Mexico much of a prayer of joining them there. Nevertheless, once proceedings got underway down on the beach, El Tri's unlikely bid gathered irrepressible momentum, and by the time the semi-finals came around Ramon Raya's men were in unstoppable form. Patient, resolute in defence and highly effective up front, the Mexicans proved more than a match for 2006 runners-up Uruguay on Saturday.
If the surprise finalists are to hoist the trophy aloft on Sunday, though, they will need to be fully focused against the green and yellow machine. And focus was the one thing lacking when the Mexicans went down to the host nation in the group phase. Crammed with individual talent, the Auriverdes are not prone to giving second chances to their opponents, as France found out in the second semi-final, when Bruno and Sidney led their charge into yet another final.
Both sides should be at full strength for the big occasion.
This will be the two countries' third meeting on sand. Both previous encounters went Brazil's way, the first of them a crushing 23-3 win in the 2005 qualifying tournament, and the second coming just a week ago when Alexandre Soares' side edged home 6-4 in a much tighter affair. This is also the first time that two teams from the same first-round group have gone forward to contest the final.
Interestingly, the Aztecas are the only side who have ever led Brazil in the first two periods of a FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup match.
We worked very hard before coming to Rio but we've had success after success here, and my players are convinced they can go on and become champions. What can I say about Brazil that hasn't already been said? That we're going to beat them - Ramon Raya, Mexico coach.
Mexico's has been perhaps the greater achievement because no one expected them to reach the final. They're very solid at the back, they're tactically organised, they can hit quickly on the break and they're sharp up front. All in all I think it's going to be an exciting match - Alexandre Soares, Brazil coach.