Defending champions Brazil edged Portugal in a 16-goal thriller to book their place in the quarter-finals of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Asuncion.
Brazil, chasing an unprecedented 15th world crown, defeated their rivals 9-7 in their Group D tie. It was their seventh consecutive win over the two time champions in eight World Cup meetings.
The South American giants are the third team to book their berth in the quarter-finals, joining Asian champions Japan and Switzerland.
Portugal gave the holders a run for their money, but ultimately the beach soccer kings had too much for their opponents on the evening.
Portugal clawed their way back into the game after being down 7-3 at one stage, to draw level at 7-7, but a Filipe penalty (29:13) and a late, long-range Datinha strike (35:52) proved to be the difference.
Portugal, in fact, had more look at the goal, with 51 attempts on goal compared to 40. They had also hit the woodwork in the first period. An own goal by Coimbra (18:13) did not help Portugal’s cause either. Coimbra made up for his mistake with two goals for Portugal (11:54, 27:16).
The European giants scored their other goals through Belchior (22:59), Jordan (8:22, 27:53) and Leo Martins (15:58, 21:17).
Brazil opened accounts in the first minute Mauricinho (0:43). Bokinha picked up a brace (16:24, 17:39) while the other Brazilian goals came from Catarino (12:43), Rodrigo (19:49) and Bruno Xavier (12:01).
The match was also the 350th cap for Brazil’s 40-year-old goalkeeper Mao. In recognition of this feat, the five-time World Cup winner was presented with a goalkeeper jersey with that number on the back.
In another Group D match, Oman collected their second-ever win in the history of the tournament at the expense of Nigeria, who are now eliminated.
With Oman winning the match 6-5, the tie between the middle east side and Portugal later this week would be a do-or-die battle for their quarter-finals hopes
While Emeka Ogbonna shined with a hattrick (10:19, 14:55, 25:21) for Nigeria, Oman relied on teamwork to gain the upper-hand.
Oman jumped into a two-goal lead thanks to Eid Al Farsi’s (4:40) left-footed, curling rocket into the far corner from distance and Jalal Al Sinani’s (7:48) impressive scissor kick. Emeka responded to the early letdown by scoring two goals and bringing the Super Sand Eagles level early in the second period.
However Oman just had too much for Nigeria as goals from Mushel Al Araimi (19:15), Al Farsi (19:28) and Sami Al Bulushi (23:18) had them 5-2 up at the end of the second period.
Ogbonna added another to complete his hat-trick before Adams Taiwo (26:06) scored with a low drive into the bottom corner to bring Nigeria back to within one. Oman captain Khalid Al Oraimi (27:06) scored once again to build a two-goal cushion before Godspower Igudia (30:20) finished off a well-worked team move to score for Nigeria.
Group C, meanwhile, is very much up for grabs, following the victories recorded by United Arab Emirates and Senegal. The Emiratis led the way by seeing off two-time champions Russia, while the Africans, propelled by an inspired four-goal performance from Mamour Diagne, disposed of Belarus.
United Arab Emirates shocked two time champions Russia in a 4-1 win to throw Group C wide open.
UAE caught Russia off guard from the start with keeper Mohamed Aljasmi (1:11) scoring from well over 30 metres with a well-executed low drive that caught a hard angle in the sand, before evading Russia keeper Maksim Chuzhkov.
Artur Paporotnyi (18:14) equalised for Russia when Boris Nikonorov teed him up to unleash a powerful curling shot into the bottom corner midway through the second period.
That was before Ali Mohammad (22:15) put UAE back in front from the penalty spot, going into the interval once again.
Hesham Muntaser’s (31:20) penalty and anotyher goal from Waleed Beshr (32:10) put the result beyond doubt. It was their first win over a European team at the Beach Soccer World Cup.
In the other Group C match, Senegal dismantled Belarus 7-2.
The Senegalese opened the scoring through Raoul Mendy’s (5:02) long-range free-kick, which took a bounce past Belarus goalkeeper Valery Makarevich. Ninou Diatta (6:09) doubled the African champions’ lead when he pounced onto a second ball and steered it in with a well-placed shot.
Aleh Hapon (14:20) brought Belarus back into the game briefly, scoring the only goal of the second period, but Senegal completely pulled away in the third thanks in large part to a finishing masterclass from Mamour Diagne, who scored an incredible four goals in the final period (26:37, 28:04, 28:28, 31:49). Raoul (24:35) also found the net before the onslaught from Diagne. Ilhar Bryshtsel found a consolation for Belarus late in the last period (29:18)
The results now sees all four teams in the group on three points heading into the final round of the group stage.
Matchday 5 – 25 November
Japan-Switzerland (17:50, local time)
USA-Paraguay (21:00, local time)
Mexico-Italy (16:15, local time)
Tahiti-Uruguay (19:25, local time)
The situation in Group A is straightforward: the winners of the match between Japan and Switzerland, who have both already booked a slot in the quarter-finals, will finish top. In the other match between the already-eliminated pair of Paraguay and USA, only honour is at stake.
The situation in Group B is quite different, because all four teams can still qualify. Italy’s fate is in their own hands: if they win in regulation time, they will advance to the knockout stage. If they register any other result, they will have to wait and see. Their opponents, Mexico, meanwhile, have to win handily and hope that Uruguay do the same against Tahiti.
The Uruguayans could bag a place in the quarter-finals before even playing, but whatever happens, they will remain in the competition if they secure a victory in regulation time or extra-time. Tahiti are also masters of their own destiny – if the islanders can defeat Uruguay by three goals in regulation time, they will play at least one more game in Paraguay.