Nenem dazzles in Rio sunshine
The sun was out, glinting on the famous yellow shirts. The stadium was full, the drums were beating. The ball hardly touched the sand. The FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Rio de Janeiro 2005 really got underway. A 9-2 Brazil victory over Thailand has put the other eleven teams on notice. This is, after all, the home of Beach Soccer.
Brazilian coach Jorge Ferreira Alves was content with the win: "Overall the performance was good. I started with three very technical players and was then able to change to a side with more strength and mobility. So we have options to change our tactics when needed. I am always happy to play Nenem - he is happy and he makes all the other players happy. He is fantastic."
Brazil started with Robertinho in goal, Junior Negao, Benjamin, Jorginho and Buru, Thailand with Vilad, A Polasak and Y Polasak, Pongsak and Sanea. The Selecao raced into a 3-0 lead in the first period through Junior Negao, Nenem and Bruno. But it was not all flicks and feints. With diligent and obdurate defenders like Buru and Betinhio, Brazil have steel with the silk. But the crowd came for the skill and they weren't disappointed. This team play Beach Soccer like no other.
While Jorginho is said to be the finest player in the world, he was often casual today, perhaps saving himself for the Spain game on Tuesday. It was Nenem who stole the show - scoring a hat-trick of fine goals. His first was probably the best, an extended bout of head tennis between Junior Negao and Jorginho finally found its way to Nenem at the far post as the crowd rose to its feet.
Brazil's other strikes came from Betinho, Benjamin, Juninho and Bruno, while Thailand's consolations both came in the third period through Pongsak and the hardworking Sanea - who also hit the post twice late on.
"I'm not too disappointed. It was always going to be a very difficult first match against Brazil. They are in a very good physical condition," Thailand's Brazilian coach Marcelo Silveira Mendes said afterwards. "We don't have their strength in depth - when we change our team our performance drops a little - they have such quality on the bench. But for us to score two goals is very important."