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26 Jan 2018
New-look Iran out to defend Persian title
The hosts take on Azerbaijan, Spain and Ukraine in the first event of the 2018 calendar.
The Persian Beach Soccer Cup kicks off on Saturday, with a youthful and much-changed Iran side looking to defend their 2017 title in Bushehr.
Last year, the Asian champions clinched silverware in a competition that featured Italy, Poland and Ukraine with Marco Octavio’s men once again going up against the latter over the next few days as well as Spain and Azerbaijan.
In what is the first official event of this year’s beach soccer calendar, Octavio has offered opportunities to a number of younger players as they seek to take on experienced opposition and stake a claim for a regular spot in one of the world’s most talented teams.
“Without a doubt, all participants in the competition are strong and we respect all of them,” Octavio told the Tehran Times.
“The Mundialito de Clubes was held in Brazil in December and I attended the tournament. Now, I have a good knowledge of the teams in the competition. For example, I studied Levante who represented Spain in that event and it was a good opportunity for me to know more about our rivals.
“Spain, Ukraine and Azerbaijan will participate in Persian Beach Soccer Cup with their main teams, while we take part in the tournament with a mix of experienced and young players.
“Persian Beach Soccer Cup will be a high-level tournament, with a spectacular atmosphere. I invite people of Bushehr to attend the competition and help us win the title,” Octavio stated.
In front of Iran stands a confident and talented Spain squad, fresh from a fourth-place finish at the Euro Beach Soccer League Superfinal last year as well as victory at the Copa Lagos in December.
Ukraine - despite a disappointing campaign that saw them relinquish their European title in Italy - remain dangerous opponents while Azerbaijan’s investment in the sport has seen them improve rapidly over recent seasons.
Stay up to date with all the results and standings at www.beachsoccer.com!