Brazil and Portugal face off early
Make no mistake about it, Portugal versus Brazil is a match-up worthy of the final itself. The two great rivals certainly have experience of gracing the showpiece game at a FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. Brazil lifted the trophy last time around while the Portuguese finished as runners-up in 2005, but this year one of these beach soccer giants is destined to fall two hurdles short of the finish line.
Brazil-Portugal, Thursday 8 November, 11:00 (local time)
Expected to take first place in Group A, Brazil did not disappoint. The world champions pulled rank with victories over the Solomon Islands, Mexico and Russia, but they have failed to recapture their best form since their opening game against the Solomons produced fireworks.
Portugal's qualification was even more laborious, and not too far short of miraculous. Taken into extra-time by the United States, the Lusitanians only narrowly avoided the lottery of penalty kicks when Bilro scored with the very last touch of the game. Still, Portugal will not be favourites for the first time and that could take the pressure off Madjer and Co as they aim to stun the hosts in front of their own fans.
Brazil welcome Buru back from suspension, while the Portuguese are free to field Belchior again. Barraca must serve a ban for the Europeans, though, and Alvaro has returned to Portugal for family reasons.
Brazil saw off Portugal at the semi-final stage in 2005, but despite the loss Madjer was still able to fire in a hat-trick.
I don't like hearing how we need to avoid such and such a team. If you want to be world champions, you have to win every game, no matter who you're playing. Junior Negao, Brazil captain