Beach soccer is often seen as a laid-back, carefree version of the beautiful game, with cheerleaders, outrageous acrobatics and goals galore helping to form the popular portrayal.

However, as this picture shows, the discipline isn't all smiles and scissor kicks. For the players involved, the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup represents the pinnacle of their sporting careers and, as such, is deadly serious.

There is certainly nothing laid-back or carefree about Italy's Dario Ramacciotti as he cajoles his colleagues in a team huddle before their group match with Switzerland.

But while Ramacciotti's roar had the desired effect against the Swiss, and Italy went on to reach the last four, it was hosts Portugal who had most to shout about.

They, after all, took gold for the first time in yesterday's final, capping a tournament that was as intense as it was entertaining.