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Cosimo SibiliaPresident of Lega Nazionale DilettantiFifteen years of beach soccer in Italy
Dick WhalenNASSC Tournament DirectorThe North American Sand Soccer Championships turn “Silver”
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Joaquín AlonsoSpain National Coach and FIFA InstructorWomen’s beach soccer has evolved greatly
Gilberto CostaBrazil National CoachThe road to a perfect World Cup
08 Nov 2018
Already qualified Brazil knock out hosts as Egypt also make the semis
UAE knocked out of Huawei Intercontinental Cup as Brazil shine and Egypt fill last spot
The final day of the group stages saw a third win for Brazil and Iran as Egypt take the last qualification place.
USA and Spain failed to pick up a win in Dubai, despite coming painfully close, but finish bottom of their groups.
Here’s how the day unfolded…
Tahiti v USA
After losing their two opening games to their powerhouse group rivals (Russia and Iran would play later on in the day), both Tahiti and the USA were unable to qualify for the next round. However, this match up would act as the third-place play-off for Group B.
Before the whistle, the Tahitians performed the Haka and the intimidation tactics may have worked as it took just a minute for Taiarui to strike a sweet volley past the American keeper.
But when Silveira suddenly found himself with an open goal following confusion in the Tahiti defence, the score was almost immediately level again. Until Labaste claimed his third of the tournament to retake the lead for Tahiti.
Then, two quick-fire goals from Canale put his side in control and at the first break the US were ahead. Then things got even worse for Schirinzi’s side as Canale netted his third after dispossessing the keeper. With the score at 2-4, Tahiti needed an answer, and it came when Li Fung Kuee scored a penalty, then slotted home from close range to level up.
This match was turning out to be thrillingly close and the stalemate persisted deep into the final period as neither team were willing to slip up so late in the game. Suddenly, big American captain, Nick Perera, stepped up to snatch the lead, setting himself up to drive a low volley home, his first goal of the tournament.
But that man Li Fung Kuee netted for a third time to draw level, only to see the US go ahead once more when keeper, Toth, scored. Normal time ended as it started with each team scoring seemingly at will. A last minute Tavanae goal forced extra time.
The first scorer would also be the last as, Taiarui ultimately clinched the tie, with Tahiti taking two points to finish in third in the group, and USA finish in fourth.
Goals: 1-0: Taiarui, min. 11 (1); 1-1: Silveira, min. 10 (1); 2-1: Labaste, min. 9 (1); 2-2: Canale, min. 5 (1); 2-3: Canale, min. 4 (1); 2-4: Canale, min. 11 (2); 3-4: Li Fung Kuee, min. 8 (2); 4-4: Li Fung Kuee, min. 5 (2); 4-5: Perera, min. 5 (3); 5-5: Li Fung Kuee, min. 4 (3); 5-6: Toth, min. 1 (3); 6-6: Tavanae, min. 1 (3); 7-6: Taiarui, min. 1 (ET);
Egypt v Spain
Although both Egypt and Spain had lost to Brazil, who sat at the top of Group A, there was still one more place in the next round of the tournament left. There was everything to play for and sure enough, the match didn’t take long to get going.
It took a sweet strike from the Egyptian number five, Sasa, to open the scoring. But La Roja soon had a reply when Javi Torres got the game back on level terms, nodding in from close range. However, the Egyptians struck again, leading 2-1 at the first break.
They extended their lead to three goals to one after the restart but then the Spanish seemed to wake up and a flurry of goals from the Joaquin Alonso’s side saw them burst into the lead.
Javi Torres got a second to equalize once more, then Chiky made it 3-4. Two more, as well, as a fine hit from the Egyptian number two, H. Mohamed, meant that Spain had turned things around in impressive style before the second whistle, and enjoyed a two goal cushion. At the second break Spain enjoyed a 4-6 advantage.
In the third period, having taken the lead, Spain seemed to back off a little and did well to defend their lead for the majority of the final period. But Sasa was in prolific form today, and scored twice to bring the Spain back to 6-6.
But the comeback was completed, when Elshahat pounced to net the crucial goal, denying La Roja even the chance of extra time and winning the game for Egypt in normal time. They would now have to wait and see if they had a place in the next round following the UAE versus Brazil game…
Goals: 1-0: M. Sasa, min. 7 (1); 1-1: Javi Torres, min. 6 (1); 2-1: Mohamed, min. 5 (1); 3-1: M. Sasa, min. 10 (2); 3-2: Edu, min. 10 (2); 3-3: Javi Torres, min. 9 (2); 3-4: Chiky, min. 7 (2); 3-5: David, min. 3 (2); 4-5: H. Mohamed, min. 3 (2); 4-6: Llorenç, min. 3 (2); 5-6: M. Sasa, min. 2 (3); 6-6: M. Sasa, min. 0 (3); 7-6: A. Elshahat, min. 0 (3);
UAE v Brazil
The hosts had a job on their hands to get past the world champions and attempt to earn a place in the next round. Brazil were already through to the next stage after winning their first games and their title retention campaign was on track.
The Emirati started strongly and managed to keep the Brazilian stars at bay for most of the first period, as well as creating goal-scoring opportunities of their own. But the deadlock was broken when Filipe side-footed home to take the lead.
At the first break Brazil lead but their advantage was slender and, with the home crowd behind them, the UAE were very much still in this tie. However, when Filipe struck once more to double the lead, the local side were in danger of the tie slipping away from them.
But, with just two goals separating them, and still a whole period to go, Brazil were in sight. The UAE pushed for a goal to get them back on track but it didn’t come and then Igor struck a fine shot to make it three to Brazil.
Four became five when Mao blasted the ball into his opposing number’s net and suddenly the match looked less recoverable and UAE morale took a real blow.
Suddenly, the floodgates seemed to open and Brazil moved into another gear, racking up a grand total of nine goals to put the game to bed, despite a last-minute consolation goal from Abbas. Three games and three wins for Brazil who will be seriously eying up a third consecutive trophy in the Huawei Intercontinental Cup 2018.
Goals: 0-1: Bruno Xavier, min. 4 (1); 0-2: Filipe, min. 9 (2); 0-3: Igor, min. 7 (3); 0-4: Mao, min. 7 (3); 0-5: Mauricinho, min. 5 (3); 0-6: Antonio, min. 3 (3); 0-7: Rafinha, min. 2 (3); 0-8: Igor, min. 2 (3); 0-9: Bruno Xavier, min. 1 (3); 1-9: Abbas, min. 0 (3);
Iran v Russia
Iran against Russia was one of the day’s more competitive games as neither had lost and a winning streak was at stake. On top of that, both of these teams were previous winners of the tournament and had already qualified for the next round.
It took a while for the sides to break the stalemate and it was obvious from the kick off that neither wanted to blink first in this clash of beach soccer giants.
The 2013 competition winners, Iran, drew first blood as Akbari knocked the ball home from a corner with just a minute of the first period to go. The Russians mounted aggressive attacks in response but almost immediately after the first came a second Iran goal when Piramoun also got on the scoresheet.
The second period began with the Russian trailing and with a task on their hands to get back into the tie. The prolific Russians that had scored so many in the previous games could not break through. It wasn’t until the third period when Romanov pounced to cut the deadlock to just one that Russians came alive.
Then, who else but Zemskov - scoring his eighth goal of the tournament! – equalised and the Russian supporters exploded in celebration.
However, the level-pegging didn’t last long as the Iranian men in red found their champion in Behzadpour, who netted what would be the winner, and the other half of the stands, with just four minutes to go, started a party of their own.
Russia thought they’d equalised late on when Zemskov scored again but the referee, deeming that he had pushed the goalkeeper to the ground in the build-up, discounted it, and Iran, after having a goal of their own disallowed earlier on, were saved.
The Persians top the group while Russia finish in second.
Goals: 1-0: A. Akbari, min. 1 (1); 2-0: S. Piramoun, min. 0 (1); 2-1: Romanov, min. 8 (3); 2-2: Zemskov, min. 7 (3); 3-2: Behzadpour, min. 4 (3);
Remember that you can watch all of the games in the Huawei Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup Dubai 2018 live and free at https://beachsoccer.com/schedule.
You can also keep up with all the fixtures, results and standings right here.