France take consolation from third
While 6-4 third-place for Les Bleus will not make up for the disappointment of failing to retain their title, it should certainly help soften the blow of their devastating semi-final defeat yesterday by Uruguay. Equally hurt by their own elimination at the hands of Brazil, Ze Miguel's Portugal have at least proved they are among the beach soccer global elite with this fourth-place finish.
"This position is a long way short of what we were hoping for when we came here, but the players only have themselves to blame. They should have worked harder to make sure that Lady Luck didn't desert them…This last match was difficult for both teams to face after yesterday's disappointment, but France coped with it better than we did."
As expected, the game got off to a rip-roaring start, with an incredible five shots on goal in the first fifty seconds. Alan and Jair Cardoso found the back of the net with their efforts (1-1), provoking a further passage of skilful and action-packed play, which left the score tied at 2-2 at the end of the first period.
Madjer may have shaved his head yesterday, but he has lost none of his talent. Will anyone ever work out how to contain the best player on the planet? What with back-heel flicks, acrobatic volleys, long-range rocket shots and bicycle kicks, the Portuguese number 7 possesses the full repertoire of the text book beach soccer exponent.
But today, it was the French who were most intent on proving that their rightful place was in the second match of the day rather than this one. Controlling the game, Les Bleus awaited the right moment to make their dominance count.
And it duly came in the early stages of the final period, courtesy of two headers from Didier Samoun and Laurent Castro (5-3). Madjer then had just enough time to make a further deposit in his goal account for the tournament with an amazing 21st strike, but France were the stronger side by some distance on the day (6-4).
"It wasn't easy to pick the players up in just 24 hours," declared Eric Cantona after this win. But I'm happy because under difficult conditions, they've proven they are men. Even though we didn't come here for the bronze medal, we've had an amazing time here today."
Referees: Antonio Buaiz (BRA), Jose Luis Da Rosa (URU), Renato De Carlos (BRA)