Brazil rule, Uruguay salvage bronze
THE DAY REPLAYED - Brazil, Mexico and Uruguay were the sides mounted on the podium at the end of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2007. European hopefuls France came in just out of the medal places as the leading trio gave the tournament a Latin American finish.
One champion, two winners
Brazil successfully defended their global title by dominating the final just as they had dominated the entire competition. Buru found the back of the net yet again and Bruno put in a scintillating performance to lead the Seleçao to a victory their ecstatic fans were never given reason to doubt. Captain Junior Negao was therefore able to hoist the trophy aloft for the second time in two years.
As for the runners-up, Mexico can hardly be considered losers. Making their first appearance in the tournament, they were considered rank outsiders for the crown and overcame some serious obstacles on their way to reaching the showpiece match. In the end, they lost twice to the fearsome Brazilians in one week, but they return home as heroes, and with the silver medal around their necks.
Uruguay slip back but add a medal
The match for third place reunited two sides who met at the semi-final stage last year. The Celeste got the better of Les Bleus on that occasion and they repeated the feat by the same score-line, edging the penalty shoot-out 1-0 after extra-time finished 2-2. Runners-up last time out, the Charruas were unable to match their exploits from 2006, but they leave Rio de Janeiro with another medal for their growing collection.
France also slipped a notch after finishing third in 2006, and they will regret never quite reaching their usual standard.
Player of the day
Brazil's Buru will have to start making room in his trophy cabinet. Scorer of another goal in the final, he lifted the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup and also goes home with the adidas Golden Shoe and Golden Ball awards. With Brazil picking up the Fair-Play award as well, the world champions ended the tournament carrying off every single prize on offer.
The numbers game
2. The number of global titles won by Brazil in two years. Two also represents the number of times Uruguay have beaten France in two years, after the South Americans added their third-place play-off triumph to their semi-final win in the 2006 edition.
What they said
I knew I just had to save a penalty to win. Ricar would do the rest - Diego, Uruguay goalkeeper.
A huge party on Copacabana beach for Brazil's fans! The competition itself returns in July 2008, when Marseille will play host to the world's best.