– Second day of matches at Russia 2021
– Group C: Belarus win on penalties, Brazil lose
– Group D: African champions impress, Portugal avoid a slip-up
As two of the favourites for this year’s title, defending champions Portugal and five-time winners Brazil got their FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Russia 2021™ campaigns underway on the second matchday.
The South Americans faced a tough task against 2020 Euro Beach Soccer League runners-up Switzerland, trading goals right to the final whistle in a fascinating encounter that the Seleção ultimately lost on penalties. Earlier in the day, Belarus defeated El Salvador on spot-kicks in the first match in Group C.
While Portugal expected Oman to pose some problems in their Group D opener, they showed enough flashes of class to claim the win. African champions Senegal will be keen to have their say in the battle for top spot, having given Uruguay few opportunities to score in the most resounding victory of the tournament so far.
Belarus 5–5 (5-4 PSO) El Salvador
Switzerland 5–5 (4-3 PSO) Brazil
Senegal 6–1 Uruguay
Portugal 5–3 Oman
The teams from Senegal and El Salvador boasted the biggest support on the second day of matches. Kitted out with flags, shirts, caps and a whole repertoire of chants, the fans cheered their teams on with varying levels of success. While the African champions eased their way to victory, the Concacaf champions eventually lost on penalties.
There are no draws in beach soccer!
You can only win or lose a match in beach soccer. When the game between Belarus and El Salvador ended 5-5 after extra time, penalties were needed to find a winner. The resulting shoot-out was the first to apply the new rule that each team must select five penalty-takers instead of the previous three. The Belarussians ultimately prevailed 5-4 from the spot to claim a point.
Payback for 2009 final
Brazil defeated Switzerland in the final of the Beach Soccer World Cup 12 years ago. The adidas Golden Ball recipient from that tournament, Dejan Stankovic, is still part of the Swiss team and scored against the South Americans again today during both open play and the eventual penalty shoot-out. Switzerland’s victory marks the end of a remarkable run for the Brazilians, who won all 11 of their previous opening matches in this competition.
Life comes at you fast, part 1
A throw out from goalkeeper Andrade, a shot from Be Martins… parried away, but only as far as his brother Leo Martins for a tap-in. Goal! In their opening game against Oman, defending champions Portugal gave an impressive demonstration of how to score in a matter of seconds. The opposition defence barely had a chance to collect themselves before the ball hit the back of the net. This lightning-fast attack worked several times against the Asian side. The result marked Portugal’s third victory in three World Cup matches against Oman, having previously won 8-3 in Ravenna in 2011 and 3-1 at the 2019 edition in Paraguay.
Life comes at you fast, part 2
Ze Lucas scored in the first second of the third period to give Brazil a 4-2 lead over Switzerland, collecting the pass from kick-off before firing the ball past helpless goalkeeper Eliott Mounoud.
“I’m only doing my job. I’m the last line of defence; I’m expected to make saves and that’s exactly what I tried to do. It’s always good to start off with a win, particularly when it turns out the way it did today. We can now breathe a little easier heading into the other games, and hopefully we can keep this run going.”
Senegal goalkeeper Al Seyni Ndiaye
Text and Photo: FIFA