- Last day of the group stage at Russia 2021
- Group C: Switzerland unbeaten, Brazil march on
- Group D: Defending champions Portugal crash out, delight for Uruguay
The last matchday in the group stage of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2021™ ended with a bang as defending champions Portugal finished third in Group D to make a shocking exit from the tournament before the knockout stage. Uruguay will join Senegal in the quarter-finals instead.
In Group C, Switzerland emerged victorious once again in their third match, joining their Russian hosts as the only teams to come through the group stage completely unscathed. Meanwhile Brazil showed their class emphatically against Belarus to secure second place behind the Swiss.
El Salvador 7-8 Switzerland
Brazil 5-0 Belarus
Oman 3-2 Senegal
Uruguay 7-6 Portugal
Brazil gathering momentum
By following up a loss to Switzerland and a laboured win over El Salvador with a dazzling performance against Belarus today, the record champions showed they are finally getting up to speed after a slow start. The South Americans did not give their European opponents a chance in their final group match en route to the first clean sheet of Russia 2021.
Fighting to the end
While Oman were the only team with no hopes of progressing after two matches, this did not stop them from delivering a committed performance in the final game of their fourth Beach Soccer World Cup. The Asian side defeated the previously unbeaten Senegalese 3-2 to record their third-ever win in the competition, having previously tasted victory in 2015 (7-2 against Costa Rica) and 2019 (6-5 against Nigeria).
Pure excitement in winner-takes-all fixture
Portugal and Uruguay traded goals in the most dramatic match of the day. With both teams aware that the winner would progress while the loser headed home, the resulting game was of the highest quality, with neither side able to put the match beyond doubt. In the end it was the South Americans who prevailed to send the defending champions home after the group stage for the first time in the history of the competition.
From corner to goal in one kick
Frank Velasquez was El Salvador’s best player in their 8-7 loss to Switzerland. The 31-year-old scored three times for the Concacaf champions, including an early contender for goal of the tournament when he found the back of the net directly from a corner.
Stat of the day
45 – By scoring goals 42 to 45 of his FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup career in his side’s 8-7 win against El Salvador today, Switzerland’s Dejan Stankovic passed Italian Gabriele Gori (41 goals) to become the competition’s second-highest scorer of all time. The record is held by Portuguese beach soccer legend Madjer, who has an incredible 88 goals to his name.
“We weren’t expecting a result like this because we came here to win, but that’s life. There were several moments when we could have scored but the Uruguayan team were quicker.” Portugal captain Torres.
Text and Photos: FIFA