From 8 to 15 May, we will be swapping grass for sand, and boots for bare feet as 12 of the world's leading sides go head to head in Rio de Janeiro in the first FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. As the sport's undisputed kings, hosts Brazil enter the competition as hot favourites, although if the qualifiers are anything to go by, they will not have it all their own way. 

The prospect of watching such footballing legends as Romario and Cantona showcase their silky skills to the backdrop of Rio's magnificent shoreline is one you will not want to miss. So check out FIFA.com for the best of the action. 

Young guns battle on
While some of the game's elder statesmen are competing for the beach soccer crown in Brazil, their teenage counterparts will be battling it out for coveted places at another showpiece tournament: the FIFA U-17 World Championship Peru 2005.

Europe's three qualifying berths will be decided between 3 and 14 May in Italy. With some of the continent's top sides like Spain, Portugal and France having already fallen by the wayside, the trio set to represent the old continent in South America this September will come from Belarus, Croatia, England, Israel, Netherlands, Switzerland, Turkey and Italy.

Then, from 7 to 21 in Gambia, it will be the turn of Africa's youngsters to fight it out for their continent's places at Peru 2005. As in Europe, three berths are up for grabs for the eight sides that have made it through to the final qualifying phase. In Africa's case this is Ghana, Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, South Africa, Cote d'Ivoire, Zimbabwe and Gambia. 

Meanwhile, in the CONCACAF Federation, the USA are already through to Peru, while Costa Rica are assured of a play-off berth against the runners-up from Group B, to be decided between 17 and 21 in Mexico. Canada, Honduras, Haiti and El Tri are the four teams that will be competing in the land of the Aztecs, where the group winners qualify directly for Peru and the second placed side get a second bite of the cherry against the Ticos.

Staying with youth football, the 24 sides through to the FIFA World Youth Championship Netherlands 2005 will begin their final preparations this month for June's eagerly awaited spectacle. FIFA.com will be posting the official squad lists towards the end of the month and will keep you abreast of all the news as the countdown to the year's biggest FIFA tournament gets underway.

All roads lead to Japan
This week we will know the names of two teams that will contest the prestigious UEFA Champions League Final in Istanbul's Ataturk Olympic Stadium on 25 May. At stake is not only the continental crown, but also a place at the FIFA Club World Championship Toyota Cup Japan 2005. 

Just as exciting will be the Final of the CONCACAF Champions Cup, also being played this month. The two-legged play-off on 4 and 11 May will decide if it is Costa Rica's Deportivo Saprissa or Mexico's Pumas UNAM who take the region's premier club competition and the ticket to Japan. 

May will also provide a clearer picture of the situation in Asia as the group phase of the Asian Champions League comes to a conclusion.

And a lot more besides
On 18 May, the publication of the monthly FIFA/Coca-Cola World Rankings, where you will find out who has been punching above their weight and who has been flattering to deceive over the last 30 days. If you cannot wait until then to see your side's progress, then log onto FIFA.com, where every Friday our experts provide analysis and reports of the some of the most improved teams from around the globe with reaction from staff and players.

Plus, there is our in-depth interview of the week, fascinating and informative articles as well as our daily-updated photo gallery. So if you want to stay up to date on all the action on planet football this and every month, connect to FIFA.com.