World's best to contest beach crown
The world's top 16 beach soccer teams will once more be competing for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup crown from tomorrow, 2 November, when the third FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup kicks-off on Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana beach. The opening match is an exciting duel between two newcomers, Russia and Mexico (9.30h local time/12.30h CET), and is followed by hosts and defending champions Brazil against the Solomon Islands, also known as the Brazilians of the South Pacific.
Boasting an impressive run of over two years without a defeat, the Brazilians are confident of retaining their title. In a media conference at the event stadium the day before the start of the competition, Brazil coach Alexandre Soares and captain Junior Negão both indicated that they were relishing the prospect of stepping out in front of the home fans to prove that they are still the best team.
"Everyone is here to beat Brazil, but with hard work I am sure we will be able to succeed and not only win but also please the home fans", said Negao.
However, French coach Eric Cantona, who led his team to victory in 2005, and Portugal's Madjer, best player and top goalscorer of the past two tournaments, stressed that they would not be settling for second place.
"Having won in 2005 and reaching the semi-finals in 2006, we know France is one of the best in the world. Like the others we are here to win. Brazil is the best, but in 10 days minor details will play an important role and the team that takes care of details will be champion," indicated Cantona.
"We have been working very hard to prepare ourselves, and we are sure that, if we focus game by game, we will reach our goal of becoming world champions," said a confident Madjer.
This will be the third time that the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup has been played in Rio de Janeiro before the tournament moves on to Marseilles (France) in 2008 and Dubai in 2009. The event has now reached full FIFA competition standard and the rights to broadcast the 32 matches have been sold in a record 203 countries and territories across the globe, underlining the growing importance of this young sport.
The official website for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2007, FIFA.com, will once again offer the most extensive coverage of all the action, including video highlights, match reports, interviews and more.