Europe now knows what the road to the continental trophy and the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2007 looks like, as the fixtures for this year's Euro Beach Soccer League (EBSL) season have been announced.
Athens, where a successful event took place in 2006, will once again host a decisive tournament, namely the Preliminary Event which is open to all European countries. The top four teams from this competition will earn the right to play in the four league events alongside France, Italy, Portugal and Spain, the host countries.
These eight teams are going to spend the summer playing in the knock-out tournaments of San Benedetto del Tronto (ITA), Portimao (POR), Tignes (FRA) and Mallorca (ESP).
Points will be awarded according to each team's final position in each of the stages, and an overall ranking will determine the six teams who qualify for the EBSL Superfinal in Marseille.
All to play for
Marseille will set the stage for the European extravaganza for the third consecutive year. The four best teams from the EBSL Superfinal will advance to the semi-finals and qualify automatically for November's FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Rio de Janeiro 2007.
Each of the other European teams, including the ones eliminated from the EBSL Superfinal, will have another shot at booking their tickets to Rio de Janeiro.
Alongside the Superfinal, another event open to all countries will be played in Marseille, namely the 'Last Chance' bracket.
The Euro Beach Soccer League has been giving the continent a summer-long opportunity to compete in the highest level since 1998. Last year's successful competition culminated with Spain snatching the European title in Marseille, after defeating Portugal.
Euro Beach Soccer League 2007
28 June - 1 July
Open to all European countries
The top four teams join France, Italy, Portugal and Spain in four league events:
13-15 July in San Benedetto del Tronto
19 to 21 July in Portimao
27-29 July in Tignes
3-5 August in Mallorca
The top six teams in the overall ranking of the four events qualify for the EBSL Superfinal. The other two enter the open-to-all 'Last Chance' Bracket.
EBSL Superfinal / FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2007
21 - 26 August 2007
The six Superfinal teams will be divided in two groups. The top two from each group advance to the semi-final and automatically qualify for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2007.
All European countries, including the two knocked-out of the EBSL Superfinal, may enter the 'Last Chance' Bracket, a tournament where the winner earns the last European berth at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2007.