The event will take place between 17 and 27 June and will include a preliminary round and final stage
Europe’s national teams finally know where the battle for the World Cup places is to take place. Beach Soccer Worldwide have confirmed that Nazaré (POR) will be the host of the coming edition of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2021 – Qualifier Europe, to take place between the 17 and 27 June.
With the final number of teams still to be confirmed, the competition this year will consist of a preliminary stage (17-19 June), open to all European teams from 12th position or below in the BSWW ranking, plus a final stage (21-27 June), where 11 of the 12 top-ranked teams (excluding World Cup hosts Russia), will join, after having been competing at the first stage of the EBSL the week before.
The best five teams from the preliminary round, which will take place between 17-19 June, alongside the EBSL, will progress to the final stage, beginning 21 June, where a total of 16 teams will participate.
In the final stage, teams will be drawn into four groups of four. The two best sides from each group after the round robin stage will advance to the quarter-finals, the winners of which will be joining the hosts Russia at the 2021 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.
This is how the competition calendar looks:
17-19 June: Preliminary phase
20 June: Rest day
21-23: Group stage
24 June: Playoffs for 9th-16th place
25 June: Quarter-finals & playoffs for 9th-16th place
26 June: Semi-finals & Playoffs for 5th-16th place
27 June: Final & Playoffs for 3rd-8th place
Walter Chicharro, mayor of Nazaré, highlighted the great feeling it has for the city to host such a big event: “It is always fantastic to welcome a new beach soccer competition in our beach, as it goes in line with our ambition to become the epicenter of beach soccer in Europe. Being able to combine the Euro Beach Soccer League with the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Qualifier, we are making a new step in our relationship with a sport we adore, at the time we are giving our people the chance to witness a new and thrilling top-class competition. Nothing less than the entrance hall to the World Cup”, he said.
After weighing up all the options, the idea of hosting the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Qualifiers in Nazaré stood as the best outcome, with BSWW considering that minimising the amount of international travel by teams and players was the most responsible way to organise the events, as the world still struggles to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. It will also help ensure the participation of as many teams as possible, owing to the improving situation in Portugal and travel restrictions still being in place in several countries.
This means that the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup – Europe Qualifier will immediately follow the first Euro Beach Soccer League stage, with one extra rest day so that the teams can begin the competition in prime condition. Beach Soccer Worldwide has also decided to increase the number of players per team roster from 12 to 14, another decision intended to assist teams in these unusual circumstances, and to offer more rotation options for coaches.
In turn, Beach Soccer Worldwide president, Joan Cuscó, went further on the suitability of that decision. “We know that Nazaré will offer the perfect stage for such a thriller. Both Beach Soccer Worldwide people and players and coaches feel like at home here, and it made full sense to us to host the FIFA Beach Soccer Qualifier here. Not only for the prime venue Nazaré is, but also considering what was best for the teams, reducing their travels and reducing any potential additional risks“, he explained.
The draw for the competition, to take place on the 9/10 June, will outline the final configuration of the groups.
Keep an eye on beachsoccer.com and our social media channels for further updates.