With an all too familiar feeling, Portugal secured yet another third place at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup – as they did in both 2008 and 2009 - after beating El Salvador 3-2.
The Portuguese had completely outclassed the Central Americans in the group stages of Ravenna 2011, running out 11-2 winners, but it was a much tighter affair at Stadio del Mare today.
Many El Salvador fans were in attendance and their team got off to a strong start, taking an early lead through Wilber Alvarado’s left-footed strike. The advantage lasted four minutes, before goalscoring machine Madjer levelled with a typically powerful blast.
Roles were reversed in the second period as Portugal took their turn to go in front, Belchior converting a penalty kick. Again the game was tied four minutes later, when El Salvador’s Frank Velasquez finished a free-kick.
Highly motivated as El Salvador were, Portuguese class won out in the final period. Madjer ended a wonderful tournament for him personally with a chip over the goalkeeper just 19 seconds after the restart. The only blemish on an enjoyable encounter was a late red card for Portugal’s Marinho after a heavy tackle.
Despite the defeat, El Salvador were treated to the adulation of their supporters after the final whistle, capping a memorable tournament. Portugal were left pleased, if a little frustrated, with third place.