Japan reclaim crown, Iran miss out on Paraguay 2019
Japan secure first continental title since 2011
UAE and Oman also advance to Paraguay 2019
IR Iran, third at the last Beach Soccer World Cup, eliminated in last eight
Japan once again confirmed their status as a regional powerhouse over the weekend, winning the AFC Beach Soccer Championship for the third time in their history. In doing so, they also guaranteed themselves a well-earned berth at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Paraguay 2019
The other two teams who will represent Asia on beach soccer’s greatest stage are the United Arab Emirates, who were runners-up in Pattaya (Thailand), and Oman, who defeated surprise package Palestine in the match for third place.
Eyebrows were also raised in Thailand by the premature elimination suffered by IR Iran, who lost to Japan in the quarter-finals and will now no longer have the chance to emulate their remarkable run at Bahamas 2017, where they finished third.
Japan’s path to Paraguay
Matches: six (six victories, one in extra time and one via a penalty shoot-out)
Goals scored: 32 (5.33 per match)
Goals conceded: nine (1.5 per match)
Top goalscorers: Ozu Moreira (eight), Shusei Yamauchi (eight), Takuya Akaguma (five)
Did you know?
Japan are the first team to land three Asian Championships
Their two most difficult matches were won in extra time (3-2 over IR Iran in the quarter-finals) and via penalties (3-1 over UAE in the final, after a 2-2 draw)
Japan’s Brazil-born captain, Ozu Moreira, finished as the tournament’s top goalscorer and picked up the Most Valuable Player award for the third time (2013, 2015 and 2019)
The Japanese have never missed a Beach Soccer World Cup, and they will make their tenth appearance in Paraguay
UAE’s path to Paraguay
Matches: six (five victories, one defeat on penalties)
Goals scored: 28 (4.66 per match)
Goals conceded: Ten (1.66 per match)
Top goalscorers: Waleed Beshr (four), Walid Mohammad (four), four players on three
Did you know?
UAE finished as runners-up for the second successive tournament. It is the fifth time they have sealed a top-three finish
The Emiratis also won the Fair Play award
Their 28 goals were distributed among 12 different players
Paraguay 2019 will represent the sixth time they have competed at the World Cup, and the second time in a row, after Bahamas 2017
Oman’s path to Paraguay
Matches: Five (four victories – one via a penalty shoot-out – and one defeat)
Goals scored: 19 (3.8 per match)
Goals conceded: 14 (2.33 per match)
Top goalscorers: Sami Al Bulushi (six), Khalid Al-Oraimi (four), three players on two
Did you know?
Oman made a welcome return to the Asian podium, after lifting the trophy in 2015 and losing in the final in 2011
In the battle for third place, they came back from 2-0 down, notching an equaliser with eight minutes to go to eventually win on penalties
This will be their third World Cup appearance – all under the tutelage of coach Talib Hilal