Golden Madjer scoops both Ball and Shoe
After the penalty shoot-out drama of the final and the medals ceremony for the top three teams, the FIFA individual honours presentation took centre stage.
One player reigned supreme: Portugal's magical Madjer took both the adidas Golden Ball as player of the tournament, and the adidas Golden Shoe as leading scorer with 12 goals, while Japan proved popular Fair Play award winners.
Golden, Silver and Bronze Ball for the outstanding players of the tournament
Golden ball: Madjer (POR)
Silver ball: Nenem (BRA)
Bronze ball: Amarelle (ESP)
Unable to watch the penalty shoot-out, Madjer waited for the crowd reaction to Alan's fateful penalty. As the realization of defeat sank in, he too sank to his knees before pressing his forehead into the sand. It was an ending ill-befitting Madjer's performances this week where he has proved this tournament's outstanding talent.
"I'd rather have got the collective rather than the individual awards, but I would like to dedicate them to my family, my team-mates and my coach," said an exhausted Madjer after the final.
His four goals and winning penalty in the thrilling semi-final against Brazil will live with all who witnessed them as he proved the most effective player of his generation. Tall, wirily slender, the power generated by his left foot cannot be explained by muscle but by timing. In beach soccer he is an almost impossible proposition for defences because that left-foot can arrow shots into the top corner from his own penalty area as it did on many occasions here. This was a great Portugal team, but it's a tribute to their finest player that their collective creativity dropped noticeably when he took a rest.
Nenem, Brazil's tiny box of tricks, took the Silver Ball. Crowd favourite Jorginho had a quiet tournament, so it was often left to the impish No 7 to raise the volume with his darting runs and tricks.
Amarelle's Spain may have left the tournament at the quarter-final stage but the Spanish captain had already made a big impression. The only man whose left foot could possibly rival Madjer, the Brazilian public enjoyed an extra helping of Amarelle as his side won the last qualification spot with wins in the two days prior to the tournament start.
Golden, Silver and Bronze Shoe for the leading scorers in the tournament
Golden Shoe: Madjer (POR) - 12 goals
Silver Shoe: Nenem (BRA) - 9 goals
Bronze Shoe: Mendy (FRA) - 8 goals
The best player also scored the most goals. Madjer's goalscoring increased during the tournament until it hit the French buffers. Two goals in a routine opening win over Japan was repeated in their group sealing win over USA. A hat-trick against the impressive Ukraine side sent Portugal into the semi-finals where the No 7 was irresistible. Four strikes included a crucial re-start volley into the top corner to bring the score back to 5-4 when the Brazilians looked like disappearing over the horizon. For good measure he then netted the winning penalty in the shoot-out. In the final he was outscored by the similarly lanky Mendy, but by that stage the Golden Ball was his.
With much of the focus on Romario and Jorginho, it was the tiny Nenem who emerged from the Brazil side with the most credit - although Buru's performance in the last two games deserve mention. Brazil's most effective attacker, Nenem must be the closest beach soccer has to the great Garrincha. Nine goals in a team heavy on rotation signals a successful tournament, but no Brazilian could be satisfied with third place.
Not the most elegant player, but certainly one of the most effective was France's Mendy. His hat-trick in the final took his tally to eight goals for the tournament, many of them vital strikes stabbed home from close range.
FIFA Fair Play Award - Japan
The tournament took Rui Ramos' team to their hearts. They never knew when they were beaten - illustrated perfectly during their astonishing comeback against Uruguay when they turned a 3-0 deficit into a 4-3 victory inside the last five minutes. The Brazilian fans took to chanting keeper and captain Kato's name in homage and anyone who saw the Brazilian-born coach giving interviews in Japanese while his incisive No 10 Kawaharazuka stood next to him speaking in Portuguese couldn't fail to be impressed by the Selecao-Nippon melting pot.
Never less than sportsmanlike in each game and displaying a tremendous team-spirit throughout the whole week the tournament was held, the Japanese were worthy and popular winners of the FIFA Fair Play trophy.
"I'm very pleased with our award - we needed that and together with our performances to develop beach soccer in Japan. Our results were a surprise even for us because our preparation has been hard. But we gave everything we had in each game. We have built something here."