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08 Nov 2014
Brazil takes home crown after besting Russia in o.t.
Portugal grabs 3rd place while Morocco takes 5th place in thriller and Japan grabs 7th
Japan claims 7th in rematch
The 6-1 win for Japan over the USA was their second in three days, albeit over the same team. The Japanese scored twice early in the match and rode that momentum to solid second and third period goals as they methodically built their lead. The Americans were not lacking for effort but nothing paid off until the final frame when they scored and tried to storm back but in the end were not able to. The win gives Japan 7th place in a tournament that they played very tough and were pitted against some familiar and unfamiliar foes. The United States played with spirit but were unable to garner a win and finished the Samsung Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup Dubai 2014 in 8th place.
Japan and the USA had already battled hard in their group stage match but they were once again pitted against each other on the last day and the Japanese came out swinging first, connecting on a strike from Matsuo. After winning one of the 5 Best Stars at the Beach Soccer Stars 2014 ceremony on Friday night, Ozu decided to get in on the scoring and scored from long range for the second goal of the period for Japan. The Americans shored up their defense and despite not scoring in the first frame, they did well to go into the break down by only two goals at 2-0. The Red, White, and Blue built upon their strong defensive play from late in the first period and looked like they were going to be the first to break through in the middle frame however Japan changed the tide and got a goal from Oba to bring their lead to 3-0. Ozu nailed his second goal late in period, on a direct kick from the halfway line, making the score 4-0 for the Blue Samurai going into the middle frame.
Ball control is the name of the game when you are winning, however like in most sports, one mistake can lead to some unfortunate goals, but early in the 3rd period the Nippon were masterfully dancing the fine line between playing it safe and taking risks. Neither side had scored but the Japanese looked comfortable and were on the attack. The complacent strategy did not hold as the Yanks got their first goal late in the game, pulling to within three at 4-1. Japan tacked on two late goals and then rode out the offensive wave to a 6-1 win.
Goals: 1-0: Matsuo, min. 10 (1); 2-0: Ozu, min. 7 (1); 3-0: Oba, min. 4 (2); 4-0: Ozu, min. 1 (2); 4-1: Morales, min. 4 (3); 5-1: Akaguma, min. 3 (3); 6-1: Oba, min. 0 (3).
Morocco takes 5th after overtime shocker
The 4-2 (aet) win for Morocco was as sweet as they come as they avoided a loss to the team they almost let win in the group stage after blowing a lead. In this match the Moroccans had to come back, which they did and as they say, a win is a win is a win. Morocco looked to score first but could not and the hosts took advantage of the first goal. Morocco almost gave up a big lead against the UAE earlier in the week and this time they needed to play come from behind, which they did and were resolute enough to force overtime and then score the extra periods’ only goals. The win gives Morocco 5th place, after a match that was played at championship pace. The UAE secured an enviable 6th place in this prestigious Samsung Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup Dubai 2014.
Morocco’s captain, Nassim, began the match showcasing his one man show abilities as he deked, dribbled, and juked defenders left and right but was unable to score and just as he looked to break through, Hassan Ali of the Emirati slotted one home to give the home team a 1-0 lead. Most of the period passed before the Lions of the Atlas were able to find the equalizer but it was splendid when they did, as Boulakouaba dove feet first and connect on a shot that went rocketing to the top of the net. The match went into the first break still tied, at 1 apiece. Haji quickly restored the Falcon lead at 2-1 early in the middle frame, adding fuel to the fire of this rivalry. The goalkeepers were up to the task of keeping the game close and neither side held a significant edge but the UAE held a 2-1 lead going into the final period.
The 3rd period was played very physical and both teams were given direct kicks, though mostly from long range, and could not make the chances stick. The most dangerous scorer for Morocco, Nassim, could not find the back of the net and when there seemed to be an open window, it was quickly closed by the Falcon defense or goalkeeper. Heading into the middle of the period, both sides seemed frustrated by the other, not being able to pull away for the UAE, and not being able to crack the defense in the case of Morocco. The change came with 40 seconds left when Nassim scored his first by nailing a rebound into the back of the net to tie the game at 2. The match went into overtime with the same score after a new level of intensity was reached in the closing seconds but nothing came of it. Morocco scored twice, including one more clutch goal from Nassim, in the extra frame to come from behind and get the 4-2 overtime win.
Goals: 1-0: Hassan Ali, min. 10 (1); 1-1: Boulakouaba, min. 3 (1); 2-1: Haji, min. 9 (2); 2-2: Nassim, min. 0 (3); 2-3: Nassim, min. 2 (et); 2-4: El Hadaoui, min. 0 (et).
Portugal rebounds for 3rd place win
The 3-0 win for Portugal over Iran had the same result, though different score, different day, and different style than they had earlier in the week but the win was still just as gratifying, if not more. The game was cerebral for the first two periods, neither offense scored and the defenses, even after Portugal began scoring, were magnificent. Portugal did not score until the last period but did so three times to pull away late against championship caliber Iran. The win gives Portugal 3rd place and Iran took 4th place out the 8 best teams across the continents.
Portugal defeated Iran earlier in the tournament and while that could have been expected, it was also a bit of an upset as Iran is the defending Samsung Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup champion, so the outcome could have realistically gone either way, but neither side seemed disappointed to be playing in the 3rd place match after semi-final losses. The two squads fought hard in the opening frame and going into the middle of the period, neither side had scored. The second period started with some great opportunities for Portugal but the chances went unanswered and the goalless thriller continued into the middle of the frame. The momentum slowly began to shift as the Princes of Persia were asking all the questions but Portugal still had their world class keeper, Petrony, at their disposal, and the score remained tied at 0. The excitement increased as the saves piled up and the score was 0-0 going into the final break.
The pressure mounted for the two squads and that was evident in the 3rd period because both sides did not want to make the tiny mistake that gave their opponent the lead. The hope of an onslaught of goals was initiated by Jordan of the Selection of the Quinas when he blasted a mid-range shot past P. Hossieni to put the score at 1-0. Portugal found their confidence and added another goal, from Be Martins, that gave them a seemingly safe 2-0 lead. Be Martins got his second goal and was ecstatic to give his side an even bigger lead, at 3-0, and the Portuguese held onto that energy for the rest of the match, as they had earned third place in this gem of a tournament, when all was said and done. The final score was 3-0.
Goals: 0-1: Jordan, min. 9 (3); 0-2: Be Martins, min. 6 (3); 0-3: Be Martines, min. 2 (3).
Brazil leaves Russia heartbroken after overtime win
The 2-3 (aet) win for Brazil over Russia was splendid. Magnificent. Superb. You can insert any superlative here and it would be appropriate. The term World Champions and Icons cannot be used very liberally but lucky enough, in this match you could those around for either side. An event such as the Samsung Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup brings out the best in everyone and when the teams in the final are as good as Russia and Brazil, it is no wonder that this match was so tight and exciting. The South Americans drew first blood but less than a minute later, the Europeans countered, but the rapid Brazilian movements were too much for Russia and a third period goal proved to be the difference in this compelling final. Russia lost to Iran in the final last year, and now they finished 2nd for the 2nd straight year, after winning the first two editions of the event. Brazil is a first time champion of the Cup and will proudly add this to their chest of trophies.
Pace cannot be predicted but if you had to guess whether this match would be played either fast or slow, you would have been wrong. It was played with an entire new level of speed. If matches sat on a scale of 1-10, this was played at a level of 12. Instead of classifying 10 as higher, they just bypassed the protocol. Brazil and Russia are world champions and it showed. The sentence of the period could have been, and Russia on the counter or, and Brazil on the counter…Two on ones and one on ones were very common in the opening frame. Russia was knocking on the door but Fred altered the mood of the match with the first goal, giving the South Americans the 1-0 lead. Russia was given a penalty shot late in the period and Romanov made sure to connect and the teams went into the first break tied at 1. The pace slowed in the second but the match was still just as intense and the teams went into the final frame still knotted at 1.
To take pressure of the Canarinho, Rodrigo scored his first goal of the day, to restore the slim one goal lead to his team, early in the final frame. All the pressure shifted to Russia, though the ice running through their veins is a very good predictor of how they looked at the tiny deficit. The Russians started inching closer and closer to scoring the equalizer, however the Yellow and Blue keeper, Mao, could not be solved, and continued to stop nearly everything, in some cases, with the help of the posts. But Peremitin was as cool as the other side of the pillow when he squeaked home a direct kick for the Russians in the final minutes of the match to tie the score at 2. The flurry of last second shots did not produce another goal and the goal went into overtime. The extra frame was just as exciting and the deciding goal came from who else, Bruno Xavier of Brazil, who won the Beach Soccer Stars Player of the Year on Friday year. The goal put the score at 3-2, which is how the match would end.
Goals: 0-1: Fred, min. 2 (1); 1-1: Romanov, min. 2 (1); 1-2: Rodrigo, min. 11 (3); 2-2: Peremitin, min. 2 (3); 2-3: Bruno Xavier, min. 0 (et).
SAMSUNG BEACH SOCCER INTERCONTINENTAL CUP DUBAI 2014
16:15 - Japan 6-1 USA - Playoff for 7th Place
17:30 - UAE 2-4 (aet) Morocco - Playoff for 5th Place
18:45 - Iran 0-3 Portugal - Playoff for 3rd Place
20:00 - Russia 2-3 (aet) Brazil - Final
3rd Place: Portugal
4th Place: Iran
Best Goalkeeper: Mao (Brazil)
Top Scorer: Shishin (Russia), Goto (Japan) Bruno Xavier (Brazil), M.Ahmadzadeh (Iran)
MVP: Mao (Brazil)