The final day in Dubai saw Russia top Tahiti for the Cup while Iran claimed 3rd over Egypt after a penalty shoot-out
Russia reclaims Cup by taking care of Tahiti
The 5-2 victory for Russia over Tahiti was thorough and showed how great the Russians are when they have the right matchup and are at their best. Russia burned out of the gates and Tahiti could not do anything but sit back and watch the Russians take control. Before Tahiti knew what to do, the score was 4-0, all in the first period. Tahiti tried to claw back into contention but the two goals were not enough to steal a win from the very solid Russian team. The win is the first major win of the season for the Russians and it caps a year in which they just fell short in the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup and the Euro Beach Soccer League. The win also gives Russia the Samsung Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup Dubai for the first time since 2012. Tahiti finished second in the last two biggest competitions of the year, the World Cup, against Portugal and the Intercontinental Cup to Russia.
Some people may have doubted Russia’s dominance or thought their talent pool was dwindling but that was not the case, as the first period and opening minutes of the Samsung Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup Dubai final proved. Tahiti came into the match feeling good about themselves, as well they should, but the Russians showed the grit that won them two straight FIFA Beach Soccer World Cups in 2011 and 2013. The Russians opened up the scoring early and did not falter as they jumped out to a 4-0 lead after two goals from Krash, to go along with some superb team play that gave them their other two goals. The second began by looking a lot like the first period, as the Russians were in control of everything, but the Tahitian defense were trying to respond and early in the second they yet to cede any more goals. The crowd could sense a slight shift in momentum as the Tiki Toa scored their first goal on a strike from Angel, which brought Tahiti to within three at 4-1 going into the final minutes of the period. The wave of emotion was not as big as the Oceanic team would have hoped for but the three goal disadvantage was better than the four they faced at the beginning of the period. The second 12 minutes came to a end with Russia still commanding the 4-1 lead.
It may have been a conscious effort, or maybe not, but the Russian squad started the final period with a very defensive mindset and they decided to put more pressure on their defense and stellar goalie, and in the first minutes of the period it worked, as they kept the score at 4-1. The Russians looked determined and were playing some of their best beach soccer over the past year, and the Tahitians, as great as they have been, were the ones receiving the punishment. Russia scored again, their fifth goal, on a rebound from Gorchinskiy and that put the score at 5-1 late in the match. Tahiti tried to come back but the deficit was too big and the Big Red Beach Machine was too good and their second goal was not of much consolation and the final whistle sounded with Russia winning by a score of 5-2.
Goals: 1-0: Bukhlitskiy, min. 10 (1); 2-0: Krash, min. 4 (1); 3-0: Krash, min. 3 (1); 4-0: Makarov, min. 3 (1); 4-1: Angel, min. 5 (2); 5-1: Gorchinskiy, min. 3 (3); 5-2: Taiarui, min. 3 (3).
Iran relies on defense and clutch penalties for 3rd Place
The 2(3)-2(2) penalties win for Iran over Egypt was stressful for the fans of each country and the players, but the general population were thrilled with a cracker of a match. Neither team scored in the opening frame, adding to the on the sand drama. To make the match even tastier was the fact that regular time and an extra three minutes could not provide a winner. The victory was breathtaking for the Iranians and heartbreaking for the Egyptians as Egypt led throughout but a last minute goal from Iran sent the game into an extra frame, then the penalty shoot-out went the way of Iran. The triumph puts Iran in 3rd Place after a great Samsung Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup Dubai. Egypt clawed their way to 4th Place and they very well could have earned 3rd or even higher.
The Iranian and Egyptian rivalry goes beyond the pitch but all that was forgotten when the players stepped on the pitch, though the high-energy desire to win did not leave the players’ minds. Egypt began mounting their attacks very early and they had the Lions of the Atlas scared, but the Pharaohs did not get the initial goal or goals they were hoping for, in part because of the stellar play from Hosseini, the Iranian goalkeeper. Things settled for Iran, though not the pace, and they pushed Egypt to the brink of ceding a goal on many ocassions, but the back-and-forth play made for a spectacular viewing experience. The goalies made sure and put on a show for the fans and the score was 0-0 when the clock struck zero, signifying the end of the first frame. The next goal, which would be the first in the match would be a huge advantage for the scoring team but the African side and the Asian side were not able to get that elusive goal in the first minutes of the middle frame. The goal came it was a perfect strike from M. Samir just before the halfway point in the match, and the score sat at 1-0 for the Egyptians going into the final minutes of the period. Iran found their equalizer shortly after the Egyptian goal but the rest of the period went scoreless and the match went into the final period tied at 1-1.
The tension was everywhere as the final frame began with no clear cut winner, not even an advantage for either team, and the fans and players were feeling the tension. The score sat at 1-1 until M. Abdelnabi scored his first on the day and put the African side up 2-1 early in the frame. Egypt was not intimidated by the very established Iranian side, who many of which had selected to win this tournament, and they, Egypt, stuck to their game plans and were able to hold down the Asian team. The score did not shift as the clocked moved towards the middle of the frame and the Egyptians were getting anxious that the number were moving too slow. Egypt needed their keeper to keep Iran off the board again, and in the first half of the period he did a splendid job and kept the score at 2-1 for his team with the end of the match drawing near. All that changed when Iran erupted for their second goal, tying the game at 2 with one minute left. The teams rushed the net on both ends, looking for the deciding goal but the goal did not come and the game went into the three minute extra frame. The rapid extra period went scoreless and the teams headed into a penalty shoot-out.
Goals: 1-0: M. Samir, min. 7 (2); 1-1: A. Akbari, min. 5 (2); 2-1: M. Abdelnabi, min. 10 (3); 2-2: F. Boulokbashi, min. 1 (3).
Penalties: A. Naderi: Make; M. Samir: Make; M. Morshedi: Make; A. Aboserie: Make; A. Akbari; Make; Hassane: Miss.
The UAE rolls and sends Portugal reeling in 5th Place match
The 4-1 victory for the UAE over Portugal was the exact opposite of what many people expected, but the Emirati are more than happy with the result. The current FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup champions have lost three of their last four matches, including a two-game losing streak in the Group Stage. The Portuguese won nearly every tournament you can win in one year and while this was disappointing, they could not reign forever. The Emirates dominated almost the entire match, but as it is the Portuguese, no lead is safe and you always have to play cautious of their stars. The win gives the hosts 4 wins in five matches and they impressed throughout and this victory puts them in 5th Place overall and they can hang their heads high after the beat the last two teams to win the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, Russia in 2011 and 2013, and Portugal this year. Portugal finishes this tournament in 6th Place after winning two of five games.
The UAE was able to start a nice winning streak within the Samsung Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup Dubai 2015, winning their last three and they could not be considered underdogs going into the match with Portugal. The Portuguese missed out on the semi-finals after earning three points in the Group Stage but they began this match eager to finish fifth and not sixth. No one was doubting the Emirati coming into this match and the late first period goal from Walid gave the hosts even more confidence and the 1-0 lead. The UAE wanted to a statement and they did when they scored their second goal of the period against the World Champs, and the score stood at 5- 0 going into the first break. The Europeans came to play in the second and they looked like a team possessed and it led to many scoring opportunities, the first of which was capitalized by Coimbra and as the midway point of the match came and went, the score was 2-1 for the UAE but the hosts tacked on their goal with just over five minutes left in the frame, to make the score 3-1. W. Beshr took it upoin himself to score again and his second straight goal left the score at 4-1 for the hosts after two periods.
Portugal started the final 12 minutes with high hopes of gaining some traction and making the match a little tighter but it was the UAE who stayed in control and maintained their 4-1 lead as the game progressed into the final minutes. The lead strengthened the resolve of the Asian side and it made the Portuguese into a listless team, looking as though they had resigned and checked out of the game. The last minutes changed though, and the Portuguese began playing their brand of beach soccer, but it was too little too late as the UAE was prepared and had trained for these kinds of moments, leading in the last minutes against the World Champions. When the final buzzer sounded, the UAE had delighted their home town fans with a 4-1 win.
Goals: 0-1: Walid, min. 3 (1); 0-2: A. Zizo, min. 1 (1); 1-2: Coimbra, min. 7 (2); 1-3: W. Beshr, min. 5 (2); 1-4: W. Beshr, min. 1 (2).
Mexico determined in 7th Place victory
The 6-2 win for Mexico over Argentina was a long time coming for the Mexican team as they played each match tightly, but until today were not able to get a win. Mexico started extremely quick, scoring three times in the first, only to see their lead dwindle. The Mexicans had enough energy left and had built a large enough lead to fend off the Argentine Selection and er the win. The triumph was the first of the week for Mexico and it gives them outright 7th Place in the Samsung Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup Dubai 2015. The event included eight of the best teams across the globe so a 7th place finish is very admirable. Argentina was unable to leave Dubai with a win but they finished in 8th and they will be thirsty to find a win at the Intercontinental Cup in the coming years.
The two Spanish speaking countries were winless coming into the days’ match but they both could have had a much different tournament, for the better, had a few small things gone their way. As it stood, they both were hungry for a victory and the 7th place finish that came with it. Mexico took the first step when A. Rodriguez netted his third goal of the event and first on the day. Ch. Hernandez decided to get in on the act and scored on a beautiful overhead kick where he had to contort his body just to connect with the outside of his foot and that was only the first goal of the period for him. The Mexican striker added a late bicycle kick goal to put his side up 3-0 but th Argentine side scored a last second goal to make the score 3-1 for Mexico going into the second period. The lead was with the Tri Color but the Albiceleste were asking all the questions and had all the momentum in the early minutes of the middle frame. The North Americans grabbed the momentum again when A. Villa scored his first but the Argentineans did not waste a second getting the next goal, as they scored on the restart, putting the score at 4-2 for Mexico, which is how the second period would end.
Argentina was not able to get their offense going in the first two periods and the final frame began with the same problems, however, their defense and goalkeeping for keeping the score as close as it was, but Mexico was constantly running down the pitch trying to find more awe-inspiring goals. The next goal did come from the Tri Color as D. Rodriguez scored his first on the day to make that five goals from four different players. As the match progressed into the final minutes, the score stood at 5-2 for Mexico. Things began getting heated as Argentina was trying to breath life into their players and Mexico was intent on keeping the score the same, or at the very least shutting down Argentina for the rest of the match. When the last whistle blew, the final score was 6-2 for Mexico
Goals: 0-1: A. Rodriguez, min. 10 (1); 0-2: Ch. Hernandez, min. 6 (1); 0-3: Ch. Hernandez, min. 1 (1); 1-3: De Ezeyza, min. 0 (1); 1-4: A. Villa, min. 4 (2); 2-4: De Ezeyza, min. 4 (2); 2-5: D. Rodriguez, min. 9 (3); 2-6: Cati, min. 2 (3).
SAMSUNG BEACH SOCCER INTERCONTINENTAL CUP DUBAI 2015
12:15 – Argentina 2-6 Mexico (7th Place)
13:30 – Portugal 1-4 UAE (5th Place)
14:45 – Egypt 2(2)-2(3) (pso) Iran (3rd Place)
16:00 – Tahiti 2-5 Russia (Final)
Third Place: Iran
Fourth Place: Egypt
Individual Award Winners:
Best Goalkeeper: Humaid (UAE)
Top-Scorer: M. Gamal (Egypt)
MVP: Krash (Russia)