- Tenth edition of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup begins on 21 November
- Holders Brazil are overwhelming favourites to win back-to-back titles
- Register for tickets today
Paraguay is ready to host its first-ever FIFA event when the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup kicks off tomorrow, 21 November 2019, in Asuncion.
The tenth edition of the Beach Soccer World Cup will be the first to be held in a landlocked country, with the tournament taking place at the headquarters of the Paraguayan Olympic Committee.
The originators of beach soccer, Brazil, are overwhelming favourites to repeat as winners as they did in the Bahamas two years ago.
Brazil are very much the leaders with the 15 other participating teams as chasers. The likes of Rodrigo, Datinha and Mauricinho will lead the frontline with the experienced Bruno Xavier and Mao to rely on in the back. It also helps that they have one of the most respected coaches in the discipline in Gilberto Sousa.
Two-time champions Russia and 2015 champions Portugal will be expected to mount a serious challenge to lift the trophy, while Tahiti, who finished as runners-up at the past two editions, will be hoping to go one step further in the sand of Asuncion.
The dark horses
Hosts Paraguay are considered in many circles to be the second-strongest team from South America, and the added boost of having home support will go a long way for Gustavo Zloccowick's (commonly known as Guga) side.
Other teams with pedigree in beach soccer include Italy, Asian champions Japan, African champions Senegal and perennial knockout stage-qualifiers Switzerland.
Did you know?
Belarus are the only team to be making their debut at the Beach Soccer World Cup in Paraguay. They begin their Group C campaign against the United Arab Emirates, before taking on Senegal and Russia.
Matchday One (all times local)
16:15: Italy-Tahiti (Group B)
17:50: Switzerland-USA (Group A)
19:25: Uruguay-Mexico (Group B)
21:00: Paraguay-Japan (Group A)
The opening matchday really does hold a lot of intrigue. The tournament opens with a fixture that is too close to call between Italy and Tahiti, followed by USA's return to the Beach Soccer World Cup for the first time since 2013, as they take on Angelo Schirinzi's Swiss side.
Uruguay open against Concacaf champions Mexico. Paraguay 2019 represents La Celeste's first appearance at the world finals in a decade. The day concludes with an exciting nightcap between hosts Paraguay and Asian champions Japan, and it's expected to be played in front of a full stadium; surely an occasion that will live long in Paraguay's sporting memory.