Brazil and Iran remain unbeaten in Dubai to top groups
– Paraguay and Iran win to reach final four
– Brazil edge hosts in tight final group game
– UAE to face Iran in semis
The final four of the Emirates Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup Dubai 2022 were decided on Thursday as Iran and Paraguay beat Japan and the USA in Group B to join the hosts and Brazil in the knockout stage. Paraguay’s Carballo currently leads the scoring with five goals.
Spain will take on USA in the battle for fifth place tomorrow, while japan will play against Saudi Arabia.
The semi-finals will be played on Friday, where Iran will go up against the Emirati hosts and the final of the Copa America will be replayed, as Brazil take on Paraguay…
Iran edge out Japan to reach semis
In Group B, both Japan and Iran could still qualify for the semi-finals of the Emirates Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup Dubai 2022.
The 2019 champions were quickest off the mark when Shir calmly converted the first goal of the match. In the second period Iran doubled the lead, but shortly after Masoumi, who has been in inspired form in this edition, misplaced a back pass to gift Japan their first of the match.
Akaguma then levelled midway through the second period, keeping the game tight.
Iranian keeper Hamid bounced a powerful shot off the sand and into the top corner, and the mainly-Iranian crowd thought the match was over until his opposite number, Kawai, fired in an even more impressive strike.
The match went to the first period of Extra Time in this edition, and just when penalties looked to be on the cards, Amir Akbari, the Top Scorer of the 2019 competition, rifled in the winner to take two points and the topspot in Group B.
Their victory means that Iran and Paraguay reach the knockout stages.
Brazil down hosts in tight final group match
As he did in the previous two matches, captain Catarino was the one to open the scoring in Brazil’s match, but a calm freekick saw the hosts equalise through Haitham before the first period ended.
The hosts were proving hard to break down, but Marco Octavio’s men found a way through once more in the second period, as Brazilian keeper Bobô fired past his opposite number.
At 2-1, Brazil only had a slim lead and looked nervy as the Emirati asked questions, but Mauricinho turned in a third from close range to extend the gap, and from that point on the men in blue controlled the game until the final whistle to top Group A undefeated.
Both sides will play in the semi-finals, which is only the third time that the UAE have ever reached the final four. Brazil, meanwhile, are on track to take their fourth title, but they haven’t won the Intercontinental Cup since 2017.
Paraguay edge USA in tight match on Day 3
Both sides had won and lost a game going into their final group match, sitting on three points each, and both still with a chance of making the semi-finals for the first time ever.
The Stars & Stripe stuck first as Chaves burst into the box to turn home a corner, but La Albirroja levelled through a Carballo freekick. Navas retook the US lead but Benitez pinned them back once more before captain Carballo took his tally to two with a second left of the second period.
Rezende made it 3-3 at the very beginning of the final 12 minutes, but when Tande claimed the lead one last time, Paraguay dug deep to maintain the narrow advantage and see the match out, ending US hopes of their first ever qualification to the knockout stage.
Spain put four past Saudi Arabia to take third in Group A
Both sides had been knocked out of the running for the 2022 Intercontinental title, but in the match for third, Chiky put away a signature bicycle kick to open the scoring.
That was all that separated the teams heading into the second period, but the Saudi goalkeeper Saleh was taken off with an unfortunate injury. In the final minute of the period Antonio drove a low shot home after making space for himself before Chiky made it three with his second of the match.
Joselito netted his first of the campaign in the last period, as Spain took their first win in Dubai and third place in the group.
USA 3-4 Paraguay
Saudi Arabia 0-4 Spain
UAE 1-3 Brazil
Iran 4-3 Japan *AET
For full details on the Emirates Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup Dubai 2022, including fixtures, results and standings, head to beachsoccer.com.