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25 Jan 2013
Japan and Iran seal World Cup berth!
UAE and Australia will fight for the remaining ticket to Papeete in the match for the 3rd place in this Asian Qualifier
Japan will contest tomorrow?s final with Iran, after prevailing against a determined Australia in a close-fought encounter that only caught fire in the final period. And, most importantly, the victory secures the Nippon?s berth in Papeete.
Japan?s coach Rui Ramos always knew it would be a difficult match:
?We were not surprised by Australia?s strength because when you reach these stages of the tournament there are no easy teams. My dream is to win, thereby becoming the first manager to win three continental tournaments in a row. Our hope is to win the final, but the objective of qualification has been achieved.?
The game was the most keenly anticipated contest of the tournament so far, with the reigning Asian champions looking to continue their blistering form against the tenacious Socceroos. Raucous support for both sides contributed to a carnival pre-match atmosphere at the Katara stadium.
Australia kicked off, but in the early stages both teams struggled to find their rhythm, with clear-cut chances few and far between as a scrappy first period remained goalless, despite a spectacular late volley from star player Ozu almost breaking the deadlock for Japan.
In the stands the Japanese fans were outdoing their Aussie counterparts in the noise stakes, but on the pitch the cagey stalemate continued into the second period. On the seven minute mark Australia came close to opening the scoring when a long range effort deflected onto the crossbar, and their combative approach was illustrated moments later when their number 11, Panagiotis Nikas, piled into Japanese goalkeeper Terukina, conceding a free kick in the process.
Australia hit the bar for the second time two minutes later thanks to a long-range looping effort from Nikolas Tsattalios, as Japan were forced onto the back foot by their well-organised opponents. But they held out, heading into second break with the score remaining 0-0.
Japan were struggling to impose their usual dominance on a rugged Australian line-up, who fought hard for every loose ball. But their solidity was undermined with 10 minutes remaining, when Panagiotas Nikas?s lax pass was intercepted by Kawaharazuka Takeshi, Take, who fired home from close range.
The Australians were becoming frustrated, with Peter Crevani receiving a yellow card for a foul on Makino, and from the resulting free kick he made no mistake, with his effort dipping over the keeper to double their lead. Moments later Crevani had a chance to make amends, but could only strike the post from a tight angle on the left.
With a two-goal cushion established, the Japanese finally settled into their usual free-flowing possession football. But just as they appeared to be cruising to a comfortable victory, the Aussies hit back. With five minutes remaining, Tsattalios fired another shot onto the crossbar. But this time they were not to be denied, with Nikas following up to drill the ball home, netting his ninth goal of the tournament to make the score 2-1.
With just over three minutes left on the clock, Australia hit the bar once again following a towering header from David Zdrilic. The centre forward once plied his trade as a professional footballer, enjoying a spell with Scottish Premier League side Aberdeen and representing the national team. But his professionalism deserted him when, with seconds remaining, he was given a straight red card for hurling abuse at the referee in protest at the non-award of a free kick.
As the final horn sounded, a joyous Japanese squad celebrated wildly in front of their ecstatic fans. The Australians could count themselves unlucky, having hit the woodwork an incredible five times. Tomorrow, they will have the opportunity to make amends in the third-place play off against the UAE, with the victor assured a place in June?s World Cup Finals in Tahiti.
?We have another match tomorrow. We showed them we could play,? said Australia?s #10 Michael Matricciani after the match.
Meanwhile, Japan are just one game away from retaining their crown, with Iran their opponents in tomorrow night?s final.
Goals: 0-1: Take min. 9 (3); 0-2: Makino min. 7 (3); 1-2: Nikas min. 5
Iran reach the World Cup again!
Iran became the first Asian side to earn a ticket to the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2013 after edging the UAE 3-2 in an exciting, hard fought semi-final.
In a rematch of 2011's fight for third place in Muscat, the two sides faced off once more on Friday evening. After a slow start, the match exploded into life when Mesigar swept Iran ahead midway through the first half.
Early in the second period, Ali Karim leveled the score at 1-1, but Abdollahi fired the Persians back in front shortly thereafter.
Ali Karim completed his brace with a superbly executed overhead kick, to slash Iran's lead after Ahmadzadeh had given Iran a two-goal advantage But Ali Karim's amazing strike could not inspire any more goals for the Emiratis. Despite a last ditch effort from Humaid, whose pitch-length rocket smacked against the Iranian crossbar, there was not enough time for a comeback.
The final horn sounded, confirming Iran will be one of the three Asian sides to fly to the sport?s global showpiece in French Polynesia in September.
And, despite their loss, the UAE will have a second chance to seal a World Cup slot on Saturday, in the third place play-off against Australia.
Goals: 1-0: Mesigar, min. 5 (1); 1-1: Ali Karim, min. 10 (2); 2-1: Abdollahi, min. 6 (2); 3-1: Ahmadzadeh, min. 9 (3); 3-2: Ali Karim, min. 5 (3)
Yaqoob keeps Oman fighting for 5th place
Oman may not have been able to fulfill their dream of reaching a second FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, but they kept in the race for the fifth place with a narrow 1-0 victory over Lebanon.
One single goal by Yaqoob midway through the first leg was enough for Hilal?s side to prevail over Lebanon, for whom only 7th place is at stake now.
Goals: 1-0: Yaqoob, min. 6 (1)
Palestine tromps China to compete for 5th place
Palestine eased to a comfortable win over China in today?s playoff for fifth place. Although both teams came into the game knowing that they could not advance to the semi-final, the match was played out in a competitive spirit.
And it was Palestine who seized the initiative in the first period, racing into a 4-o lead thanks to a brace from and a goal apiece from Husam Wadi and Mohammed Barakat.
A goal from Cai Wei Ming three minutes into the second period gave China some hope of mounting a fightback. Both teams continued to fight tirelessly but, as the seconds ticked away, no further goals were added before they headed into the second break.
In the match?s third period Palestine further pressed home their advantage, with Hamada Eshbair netting a fifth. Yet despite the likely loss awaiting China, the team refused to accept defeat and earned its second goal with seven minutes remaining, to make the final score 5-2.
Palestine will now take on Oman for fifth place.
After the game a clearly delighted Imadeldeen Hasim, the Palestinian coach, expressed his belief that the team can build on the victory. ?We are so happy that we have achieved our goal of advancing to the fifth place match,? he said. ?Our team has great potential, and we really hope that this potential turns into success for us in the next game.?
Goals: 0-1: Sami Salem, min. 10 (1); 0-2: Husam Wadi, min. 8 (1); 0-3 Sami Salem, min. 5 (1); 0-4: Mohammed Barakat, min. 3 (1); 1-4 Cai Wei Ming, min. 9 (2); 1-5 Hamada Eshbair, min. 10 (3); 2-5 Han Xue Geng min. 7 (3)
Afghan dream ends
After Thursday?s narrow 6-4 loss to Australia, Afghanistan were looking to recover with a victory in their ninth place playoff match against Bahrain.
It was the 2006 Asian Champions, Bahrain who got on the scoreboard first.
But, the Afghans struck back instantly, with a kick-off goal by their captain Mohammadi - his 8th of the tournament.
The stalemate wouldn?t last, though. Ayoob rifled Bahrain ahead late in the first period and Isa made it three for Bahrain minutes later.
It looked like Afghanistan would drop out of ninth-place contention until Baran brought the Afghans back to a goal down in the second period.
Afghanistan then began to turn up the pressure, only for Husain and Isa to rifle in their second respective goals of the match and send Bahrain through to the ninth-playoff match on Saturday - Bahrain 5 - Afghanistan 2.
Goals: 0-1: Husain, min. 10 (1); 1-1: Mohammadi, Min. 10 (1); 1-2: Ayoob, min. 5 (1); 1-3: Isa, min. 3 (1); 2-3: Baran, min. 11 (2); 2-4: Husain, min. 7 (3); 2-5: Isa, min. 1 (3)
Qatar slump to fourth successive defeat
Although both Qatar and Thailand finished bottom of their groups, pride and rankings were at stake in Friday?s sixth match.
And it was Thailand who struck first and often, storming to a 3-0 lead after two periods.
They added another, two minutes into the third to make it 0-4.
Qatar finally awoke seconds later and began to mount a comeback with goals from Ibrahim Al Romaihi and Hamad Al Sharqi.
But, it was too little, too late for the Annabi. Thailand struck a fifth and the match ended 2-5.
Qatar now places the Philippines for 15th place on Saturday and Thailand plays Uzbekistan for 13th place.
Goals: 0-1: Nanan, min. 8 (1); 0-2: Khongkaew, min. 2 (1); 0-3: Madtoha, min. 1 (2); 0-4: Muibong, min. 10 (3); 1-4: Ibrahim Al Romaihi, min. 10 (3); 2-4: Hamad Al Sharqi, min. 9 (3); 2-5: Tapinna, min. 6 (3);
Uzbekistan registers first win
Uzbekistan defeated the Philippines 8-2 courtesy of five goals by Azizov. The result means Uzbekistan will play for thirteenth place tomorrow and the Philippines will contend for fifteenth.
Goals: 0-1 min. 8 Azizov (1); 0-2 min. 3 Azizov (1); 1-2 min. 2 Gener (1); 1-3 min. 10 Azizov (2); 1-4 min. 9 Azizov (2); 2-4 min. 9 Alvarez (2); 2-5 min. 1 Irismetov (2); 2-6 min. 1 Azizov (2); 2-7 min. 7 Yunusov (3); 2-8 min. 5 Yunusov (3)
FIFA BEACH SOCCER WORLD CUP 2013 ? ASIA QUALIFIER QATAR
14:00 ? Philippines 2-8 Uzbekistan (Play-off for the 13th place)
14:00 ? Iraq 3-0 Saudi Arabia (Play-off for the 9th place)
15.15 ? Afghanistan 2-5 Bahrain (Play-off for the 9th place)
15.15 ? China 2-5 Palestine (Play-off for the 5th place)
16:30 ? Oman 1-0 Lebanon (Play-off for the 5th place)
17:45 ? Qatar 2-5 Thailand (Play-off for the 13th place)
19:00 ? IRAN 3-2 UAE (SEMIFINAL 1)
20:15 ? AUSTRALIA 2-3 JAPAN (SEMIFINAL 2)
Matches for tomorrow
14:00 ? Iraq vs Bahrain (Play-off for the 9th place)
14:00 ? Uzbekistan vs Thailand (Play-off for the 13th place) ? pitch 2
15.15 ? Philippines vs Qatar (Play-off for the 15th place)
15.15 ? China vs Lebanon (Play-off for the 7th place) ? pitch 2
16:30 ? Palestine vs Oman (Play-off for the 5th place)
17:45 ? UAE vs AUSTRALIA (3rd/4th place)
19:00 ? FC BARCELONA vs AC MILAN
20:15 ? IRAN vs JAPAN (FINAL)