Portugal pass opening test
In a relatively low-key encounter, Portugal saw off Japan 4-0 to give their FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Rio de Janeiro 2005 campaign an ideal start. A solid all-round display, punctuated by the odd touch of excellence from their stars Alan and Madjer, was enough to see off the valiant Japanese.
"First games are always hard, but I think we coped pretty well," said a relieved Zé Miguel after the game. "We were patient and mentally strong. We all know that Alan and Madjer are two of the very best beach soccer players in the world and they proved that again today. But my team is set out in such a way that all my players have a vital job to do."
The Lusitanians were first to threaten the Japanese goal. Alan's free-kick was kept out by Kato in the second minute. The game then developed into a tight affair, with chances at a premium.
The opener, when it finally came, was one of the best goals of the day. Alan converted Madjer's corner with a spectacular overhead kick and the Portuguese were ahead (1-0). Rui Ramos and the small group of Japanese supporters in the stands did their best to encourage their side, but the Asians were finding it hard to carve openings in the resolute Portugal back line.
Madjer and Alan, deadly duo
The Europeans doubled their lead early in the second period through Madjer (2-0). Buoyed by their two goal advantage, Jose Miguel Mateus' men began to make their greater technique pay. After great work from their captain Hernani, Alan was on hand to dispel any remaining doubts (3-0).
The third period was a little drab for the few remaining fans. Madjer did manage to bag a brace of his own before the final whistle rang out (4-0).
Japan coach Rui Ramos refused to be downcast at the end of the match: "We have been waiting for this competition for a long time and I would like to thank FIFA for inviting us. It was a good experience to play against this Portugal side as we have a lot to learn from them. I hope we will use the experience in our next game."