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06 Jul 2015
Belchior: It’s a dream come true
The talismanic Portuguese goal-scorer is prepared and excited for the upcoming World Cup
The countdown to the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Portugal 2015 is nearly over, with the host city of Espinho firmly in the grip of beach soccer fever. The northern coastal resort hosted a very special friendly on Saturday as the Friends of Madjer took on the Friends of Vitor Baia, one of the tournament ambassadors.
There were a host of Portuguese sporting stars on show at the event, with football and futsal players strutting their stuff on the sand along with athletes from other sports.
Among the beach soccer stars on show was Portugal wing Belchior, who was only too happy to be running out at the Estadio da Praia da Baia, where he and his team-mates will face Japan in their opening match of the competition this coming Thursday and where they will hope to be crowned world champions on July 19.
After soaking up the support from the 2,000 fans that turned up for the exhibition match, the experienced Belchior expressed his satisfaction at the World Cup venue and the excitement the competition is already generating.
“We expected this for sure,” he told FIFA.com. “We know just how special the fans are here in Espinho and we know that they always get behind the beach soccer team.
“They showed that at the mini world cups we’ve played here and this is going to be the same, on a much bigger level, of course. We know the venue, though it’s always good to have time to adapt and settle in on home sand and in different weather, especially after having played at the first European Games in Azerbaijan.”
Fresh from picking up a bronze in Baku, the Portuguese are now turning their attentions to the major objective of not just this year but the entire career of the men who make up Mario Narciso’s squad.
“We’ve already been working hard for a long time in preparing for this World Cup,” said Belchior, who wears the No10 shirt. “These warm-up competitions have been really important in allowing us to build up to the World Cup, which is the tournament we’re really gunning for.”
Giving his verdict on those preparations, he added: “The national team is looking really good. All the players are in really good form and we’ve just come from a competition that’s given us a lot of confidence. We’re in really good shape for the World Cup.”
As a smiling Belchior went on to admit, however, he and his team-mate have butterflies in the stomach already: “We’re not nervous at all but we do feel a little tense. You get that with every tournament and this one is no exception at all."
“It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to play in a FIFA World Cup at home. We were hoping to have the competition here in Portugal, and this is a dream come true for us.”
Contemplating the challenge ahead, which will see them take on the Japanese, Argentina and Senegal in Group A, the wide man said: “It’s a question now of going into the competition the way we always do: with our minds on the job and focused on what we want to do. Our objective is go one game at a time and to make it as far as we can."
“Every group is tough. All the teams who’ve made it here are very good and we can’t afford to relax at all in any of our games. We want to make the final, and that’s the only way we’re going to do it.”
And though Belchior has seen it all before, he can barely conceal his excitement at what lies ahead in the coming days: “The pitch is great, the conditions are as good as they can be, and I think we’re going to see a fantastic World Cup.”