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Joaquín AlonsoSpain National Coach and FIFA InstructorWomen’s beach soccer has evolved greatly
04 Nov 2015
Big days for Tahiti and Russia leave them only unbeatens
Group B in flux after Iran shocks Portugal but the Russians remain in control on Group A going into showdown with hosts
Iran upsets champs to put group in question
The 5-3 win for Iran over the Portugal was the perfect rebound for Iran and letdown for Portugal but the fans won the biggest as the game was tense, dramatic, and passionate. Portugal took the first bite of the cherry but things were so equal that a big first period for both teams left the score tied at 2-2. Iran then dug deep and drew off the very friendly crowd to take the little steps and goals they needed to charge ahead and earn the win. The triumph leaves Group B up in the air going into the last day as it was the first win Iran, with Portugal also owning one win. Tahiti has two wins in the group but Portugal will play Tahiti on Thursday, while Iran will take on Mexico, and as it looks, each team needs a win to be safe.
Iran came into the match needing a win, as they lost on opening day to Tahiti but it was the world champs who scored first, leaving the Iranians down 1-0 and searching for a spark. The Lion of the Atlas were able to find that energy when they nailed home their first shot before the midway point in the frame. Portugal had an answer and responded within a minute but the Asian side had their own answer yet again and the game settled at 2-2 going into the final minutes of the period. The score did not shift and the first 12 minutes ended with the four goals, two for each side. The expectations might have been for more and more immediate goals, but the goalies began making bigger and bigger saves and the scored stayed at 2-all until Iran took their first lead of the day, on a penalty kick, to go up 3-2 near the halfway point of the match. Portugal kept their nerves but they knew that letting Iran hang around and build confidence would doom the Portuguese. The Iranians continued to turn things around from that early goal they gave up and they eventually scored late in the second to double up the Portuguese squad, by a score of 4-2, which is how things would hold going into the decisive final 12 minutes.
Far from out of it, the Portuguese started the trail back to contention with an early goal from Jordan, which blew past the great Peyman Hosseini, the splendid keeper for Iran, and it put the score 4-3 for Iran, going into the heart of the period. For all of the close calls and saves from Iran, Portugal was still needing to employ their solid defense and goalkeeping with Iran attacking just as much. The crossbars on both ends of the field were taking a beating with Portugal and Iran doing their best to shatter them, or score a goal, though one of those things was obviously more important. The sense was Portugal was going to score but the stout Iranian defense was able to keep the score at 4-3 going into the final minutes of the game. The nail in the coffin came with three minutes left when Iran netted their fifth and then they hung on for the 5-3 victory.
Goals: 0-1: Belchior, min. 8 (1); 1-1: M. Morshedi, min. 8 (1); 1-2: B. Novo, min. 7 (1); 2-2: F. Boulokbashi, min. 6 (1); 3-2: M. Ahmadzadeh, min 7 (2); 4-2: F. Boulokbashi, min. 3 (2); 4-3: Jordan , min. 9 (3); 5-3: M. Ahmadzadeh, min. 3 (3).
Russia overcomes Egypt to stay unbeaten in group
The 5-2 win for Russia over Egypt was unpredictable and filled with excitement on both ends of the sand. Russia began the match trying to deconstruct the Egyptian style of play and Egypt was trying desperately to get the first goal but a scoreless opening period left both teams wanting more in the second frame. Russia scored first but Egypt countered. It looked like Russia could and would run away with the match when it was 3-1 to the good, but Egypt sliced into the lead, getting to within one. Russia then turned on the burners and pulled away for the three points. The victory gives Russia six points in the group with only one group match left. Russia will face the UAE on Thursday, looking to keep the hosts from winning their second match. Egypt still controls their fate but they must defeat a hungry Argentina side on Thursday if they hope to advance.
Egypt came into the match as underdogs but they were playing with a lot of emotion and swagger, and they caught the Russians off guard a bit when they found open looks at goal, but neither squad was able to score in the opening minutes of the important Group A match. Each save that the Pharaohs made was a testament to how good their defense was and how well they had been playing as of late, especially on this day, against a very Russian friendly and laden crowd. The Big Red Beach Machine and Egypt both escaped the first period unscathed and the score sat at 0-0 going into the second period. Russia has almost always banked on scoring early in periods, to help set the tone, and also in the last minutes, to cap their victories, and despite not scoring in the opening frame, they scored in the first minute in the second to take the 1-0 lead. Teams with less heart could have given in to the Russian demands but the African side had more than enough mettle and they came back with a goal near the middle of the frame to put the score at 1-1, which is how it would stand going into the last minutes of the period. As the clock wound down, the goals increased and the Russians scored twice more, while Egypt added one, to put the score at 3-2 for Russia going into the final frame.
On paper, Russia looked in control and like always, they have scoring options from everywhere on the pitch, but the Egyptians were staying just close enough to serious threaten the 2011 and 2013 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup champions. The Pharaohs were down by two goals at 4-2 after another early Russian goal, but the period progressed with Egypt playing like they could topple the beach soccer giants and, in fact, they were getting the better looks on goal but they could not cut the deficit. Going into the final minutes, the crowd was excited and ready to see another goal from either side, but when the Russians tacked on their fifth goal, it marked the end for Egypt. The final whistle was blown and the Russians had earned the closer than it looks 5-2 win.
Goals: 0-1: Shishin, min. 11 (2); 1-1: Moustafa, min. 7 (2); 1-2: Shaikov, min. 2 (2); 1-3: Krash, min. 2 (2); 2-3: M. Gamal, min. 0 (2); 2-4: Krash, min. 9 (3); 2-5: Paporotnyi, min. 2 (3).
The UAE bursts Argentina's bubble in penalties win
The 3(5)-3(4) penalties triumph for the UAE over Argentina was very tactical and deliberate. Despite being in control most of the match, the Emirati could not find the back of the net and it was the Albiceleste who hit the back of the onion bag first. That lead was short lived the Argentine side and the UAE then began to pull away and when they hit their third straight goal, all in the middle frame, they had safely built a cushion but it would not be enough to hang on as Argentina scored late to send the match into an extra frame. It was then that the UAE regrouped to hold on in overtime and them win on penalty kicks. The win was a long time coming for hosts as they nearly won on opening day but lost in the last minute to Egypt, so with their confidence back, they will need to earn more points against Russia on Thursday if they hope to advance to the knockout stage. Argentina will need to find some offense if they hope to take down Egypt in their final group match on Thursday.
Argentina and the UAE both opened the tournament with tough losses and you could sense the urgency in both teams in the opening minutes of the game. The pressure from both teams did not lead to any early goals, however it was the hosts who were on the verge of scoring with nearly every possession. The South Americans and the Asians battled to a first period draw as the frame ended just how it started, tied at 0. The cruelty of beach soccer was not lost on the hosts as they looked in control but were the ones who conceded the first goal, however the Argentineans were confronted with the same pain when the Emirati scored on the ensuing restart, leveling the score at 1-1 early in the middle frame. The UAE built on that goal and took their first lead on the day on a penalty kick from Walid, putting the score at 2-1 before the middle of the frame. The local fans were even more delighted when their team added to the lead and finished the period up by a score of 3-1.
Argentina came into the match knowing they were going to be in a dog fight and the two goal disadvantage going into the last period was not an impossible task to overcome. The South Americans started to climb back when they netted their second goal midway through the final frame and with the score sitting at 3-2, it was anybody's game. The drama went on as neither side found gold until a late free kick from a seemingly safe distance was saved by the UAE, only to have Minici score on the rebound for his second goal of the period, putting the score at 3-3 with only two minutes left in the match. Neither side was able to score again and the match headed into the three minute overtime period. The overtime period was scarce with close calls and the match went into penalties tied at 3-3.
Goals: 1-0: De Ezeyza, min. 12 (2); 1-1: W. Beshr, min. 10 (2); 1-2: Walid, min. 8 (2); 1-3: A. Beshr, min. 6 (2); 2-3: Minici, min. 6 (3); 3-3: Minici, min. 2 (3).
Penalties: Luciano: Save; Ali Karim: Make; Simsiriouglu: Make; W. Beshr: Make: Minici: Make; Walid: Save; De Ezeya: Make; Haithan: Make; Cuevas_ Make; A. Beshr; Make; Hilaire: Save; M. Alzaabi: Make.
Tahiti edges Mexico for second straight win
The 4-3 victory for Tahiti over Mexico had all the makings of a classic, regardless of being in the group stage, semis, or final, as the two sides have similar defensive styles and a strong will to win. Tahiti started faster but they could not hold off Mexico, who stormed back, only to have their comeback hopes dashed with a clutch final frame from the Tahitians. Tahiti used a goal in the first seconds of the third period to get the lead back, and this time hold if for good. The win gives Tahiti six points through two games and they are in the drivers' seat in the group, but they will need to defeat Portugal on Thursday if they wish to advance to the semi-finals as a top seed. Mexico showed a toughness that they will need for the rest of the week, as they search for the first win. The Tri Color next play Iran on Thursday.
Tahiti began the game by controlling the tempo but also ceding the shots that they did not find dangerous and the tactic worked as it seemed to slow down the Mexican attacks and eventually loosen up the defenses. The strategy required that both sides utilize strong goalie play, which they did, and the score remained at 0-0 going into the last minutes of the frame. The Tiki Toa could not stay quiet for long and they used a precise strike from their captain, Bennett, to secure a 1-nil lead late in the frame. Things opened up for the two National Selections but the score did not move and the first frame ended with the Tahitians up 1-0. Tahiti began the iddle frame with intentions of pulling away when they scored their second goal to go up 2-0 thanks to Bennett's header, but Mexico had a different idea of how the game would go and they netted the next two goals, to level the score at 2-all going into the final minutes of the middle frame. The Tri Color had completely take a hold of the momentum and were continually knocking on the door but Tahiti held strong and kept the score at 2-2 going into the final break.
Not to intimidate their opponents but more to show their preparedness, the Oceanic side was on the pitch and ready to play with a minute still to go in the break, which says a lot about how they get ready and how much they wanted to start again. This tiny act may be something that all teams should try as Tahiti scored in the first minute of the third period, to restore their lead. The score sat at 3-2 going into the heart of the frame, as the Tahitian top keeper, Jo, was back in net after sitting out the second, helped his team keep the North American side off the board in the early going of the last 12 minutes. The Mexicans broke through again though, getting back to within one at 3-4, while putting a scare in the normally calm Tahiti side. The final minutes went by too quickly for Mexico and were crawling for Tahiti but when the final whistle sounded, after diving saves and crossbar hits to boot, Tahiti had earned the 4-3 win.
Goals: 0-1: Bennett, min. 3 (1); 0-2: Bennett, min. 11 (2); 1-2: Ch. Hernandez, min. 9 (2); 2-2: G. Gomez, min. 5 (2); 2-3: Taiarui, min. 11 (3); 2-4: Tavanae, min, min. 8 (3); 3-4: A. Rodriguez, min. 6 (3).
SAMSUNG BEACH SOCCER INTERCONTINENTAL CUP DUBAI 2015
16:15 - Mexico 3-4 Tahiti (Group B)
17:30 – Argentina 3(4)-3(5) (pen) UAE (Group A)
18:45 - Egypt 2-5 Russia (Group A)
20:00 - Iran 5-3 Portugal (Group B)
16:15 - Egypt vs. Argentina (Group A)
17:30 – Portugal vs. Tahiti (Group B)
18:45 - UAE vs. Russia (Group A)
20:00 - Mexico vs. Iran (Group B)