Defending champions meet familiar foe
Groups C and D enter the fray on 20 August
Group C: Repeat of 2009 World Cup final
Group D: Holders start title defence against Oman
Day two of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Russia 2021™ promises drama aplenty. Reigning champions Portugal kick off their campaign at the Luzhniki Beach Soccer Stadium against a familiar World Cup opponent. Elsewhere in Group D, Uruguay will look to put Senegal’s defence to the test.
In Group C, El Salvador return to the world stage after an eight-year absence, and there will be a rematch of the 2009 World Cup final in UAE.
The games (All times local)
Friday 20 August
Did you know?
Will Nico stop El Salvador again? El Salvador’s last match at the Beach Soccer World Cup came in 2013; their run to the quarter-finals was ended by Spain and their veteran captain Nicolas Alvarado, better known as Nico. After eight years away from the tournament, Nico again stands in the way of the Salvadorans, this time as coach of Belarus. La Selecta’s top scorer in qualifying, Frank Velasquez, is aiming to repeat the success of 2013 and qualify from the group.
Will Brazil rack up another opening win? Twelve years ago at the 2009 World Cup, Switzerland went all the way to the final, only to be beaten by Brazil. Dejan Stankovic, winner of the adidas Golden Ball at the tournament, is still a member of the squad and is eyeing up revenge. However, it looks a very tall order for the Swiss as Brazil have won their opening game in the previous ten editions.
Uruguay's coaching duo aim high In 2007, Uruguay narrowly beat Senegal and pipped them to second spot in the group on goal difference. German Parrillo scored on that day and is now coaching the team alongside Leandro Ortiz. However, times have changed, and La Celeste are no longer clear favourites. Senegal have emerged as Africa’s dominant team, while Uruguay only returned to the sport’s showpiece event two years ago after a lengthy absence.
Familiar opponent for defending champions The reigning world champions’ opening match in Russia is against a side they know well. This is Oman’s fourth World Cup and the third time they have drawn Portugal in the group stage. The sides’ previous encounters have all ended in wins for the Portuguese – 8-3 at the 2011 World Cup in Ravenna and 3-1 at Paraguay 2019. It is also hard to see past Portugal this time – qualification in Asia was cancelled due to the pandemic and we have not seen Oman in action for a while.
“The groups of four players that come on and off are pretty much at the same level, and rotations will be crucial in our opening match against Senegal. They’re a very physical team and had a great World Cup in 2019 too. We need to defend properly when they’re in possession and that can be tiring.” German Parrillo, Uruguay coach
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