Portugal put on a show
Unsurprisingly, Portugal did not have to hit top gear to see off a Cameroonian side that still have a lot to learn about discipline. The Europeans were able to easily orchestrate a second success and in the process all but guarantee themselves a place in the quarter-finals. As for the Indomitable Lions, they will soon be heading back home with their tails between their legs.
"The key was to get ahead quite early and then control what happened after," said Ze Miguel after this encounter. My players still needed to sharpen their reflexes, especially as it's the first World Cup for three of them. They still need to get playing time under their belts, so it's even more of a squad success than usual."
It only took one and a half minutes for the Portuguese fireworks to begin. And it was their star player Madjer who lit the blue touch paper by firing home a splendid volley from a central position. By the end of the opening third, the mercurial Lusitanian No7 had already chalked up three goals, giving the helpless Lions plenty of reason to fear the worst.
After indulging in some major squad rotation, Portugal were then content to play well within themselves. But that did not prevent the world runners-up from going further ahead. Two more goals for Madjer, followed by one apiece for Alan and Marinho, meant that the Selecao went into the final twelve minutes under zero pressure.
The sizeable crowd who had come to bask in the sunshine that had just returned to Copacabana were then treated to something of an exhibition. What with flicked passes from Alan and attempted nutmegs and acrobatic overhead kicks from Belchior, Madjer and Co, the Portuguese were exploiting all facets of beach soccer for the sheer fun of it.
But the Africans were not prepared to roll over and play dead, and Medrano Yamen produced his own moment of magic when he controlled the ball with his right before volleying home with his left. By the time the final whistle went, the diminutive No9 had found the target again, thereby offering some slight consolation to his coach Joseph-Antoine Bell.
"The aim in coming here was to enjoy ourselves," said Bell. "We didn't really have any particular target in mind. And I'm happy that my players were able to play with a bit more freedom today. They're good enough to have a future…But I won't be part of it."
Referees: Marcelo Cantti (ARG), Faisal Sallam (UAE), Ivo Santos (BRA)