Goals aplenty as hosts stumble
No fewer than 41 goals rained in on the opening day of Marseille 2008, and there was a shock result as Senegal defeated the host nation France on penalties. FIFA.com looks back at the highlights of the opening games in Groups A and B.
France 5-5 Senegal (1-2 on penalties)
Goals - Didier Samoun (2), Jeremy Basquaise, Stephane Francois and Sebastien Perez for France; Pape Koukpaki (2), Gomis Mbengue, Malick Dieng and Ngalla Sylla for Senegal
The city of Marseille was looking forward to seeing Les Bleus' opening match on Thursday night, and what a game it was. The only problem as far as the crowd were concerned was the result of the contest, one that swung back and forth and was in doubt right up until the last kick. Eric Cantona's men got off to a terrible start before pulling their socks up, showing their fighting spirit and equalising in the last second of normal time. As is often the case, however, the team that was never behind during regulation time came out on top in the penalty shootout, and thus it is Senegal that are now sitting pretty with two matchdays to go in Group A. The host nation, on the other hand, will have their work cut out to avoid the ignominy of falling at the first hurdle.
The other games
In the opening match of this first day at Marseille 2008, Italy showed no pity in winning 7-4 against a Solomon Islands team that at times seemed overawed by the stage they were on. Gibson Hosea, nevertheless, stood out, scoring two of his team's four goals only to be sent off soon afterwards. Uruguay, meanwhile, made light of the absences of Pampero and Matias (both suspended) against Iran, with Venancio Ramos' men storming home 6-1 to prove that they are not as defensively minded as some would make out. In the second Group B match, Portugal struggled in the opening period before inflicting an 8-2 defeat on FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup newcomers El Salvador, for whom goalkeeper Luis Rodas had an excellent game and certainly kept the score down to single figures.
Uruguay have always been ahead of the competition when it comes to being solid in defence, and today the South Americans finally showed any future opponents that they have a trick or two up their sleeve in attack. Not for the first time, playmaker Ricar showed what incredible talent he has, and he now sits on top of the scoring charts with three goals to his name already.
11 - The number of FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup games that it took Uruguay to score more than three times in one match.
What they said
"We began the match really well, even though I have to admit that everything El Salvador tried seemed to come off. You have to say though that we were the ones dictating the tempo throughout the match. As of tonight, we're just looking to win our next game. And that's the way it'll be until we lift the trophy," Ze Miguel, Portugal coach