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05 Nov 2014
Final day of group play set for drama
The second day of the tournament saw Iran get its 1st win, Morocco its first loss, and sets the stage for undefeated Russia and Brazil to decide group
In battle of unbeatens Portugal prevails
The 6-4 win for Portugal over Morocco was fast and tense, just as you would expect from two teams wanting a win so badly. Morocco did not surprise anyone when they jumped out to the early lead but the game was so back-and-forth that you could have lost track of the goals, but a late surge in the second period was enough to propel the Portuguese to victory as conservative play took over in the final frame. The win gives Portugal six points and the head of Group A, and they will face UAE on Thursday with aspirations of closing out the group stage undefeated. Morocco is still in a great place with three points and will need to secure another three points against Iran on Thursday if they hope to finish second in Group A.
When the most trivial of mistakes turns into a goal, you know you are playing beach soccer against a world power and that was the case in the day's opening match. Morocco struck first after a penalty, but the Portuguese selection used a goal from their leader and captain, Madjer, to tie things at 1. The teams exchanged another goal each, leaving things square at 2 going into the first break. The first mistake made by Portugal in the second frame resulted in the Lions of the Atlas taking the lead for the third time, at 3-2. The celebrations were short lived and the Selection of the Quinas had Coimbra connect on a header from a corner piece to tie the game again, this time at 3. The Portuguese did not want to fall down again and took their first lead of the day, just after the halfway point in the match, on a right footed blast from Belchior, which put the score at 4-3 for Portugal. The Moroccans scored another equalizer, however the European side closed out the period by scoring two more goals, taking a 6-4 lead into the final frame.
The final frame had just as much drama as Morocco was close enough to strike but still two goals the negative, giving the Portuguese some breathing room. The Lions of the Atlas did not relax in the closing minutes, despite being down by two goals against one of the best and most recognizable teams in the world. Portugal continued to play stifling defense and looked like a defensive giant, different from the team that conceded the early four goals. The referee signaled the end of the match and Portugal hung on to claim the 6-4 win.
Goals: 0-1: El Hamidy, min.11(1); 1-1: Madjer, min. 10(1); 1-2: El Hamidy, min. 8(1); 2-2: Be, min. 6(1); 2-3: Petrony (og), min. 8(2); 3-3: Coimbra, min. 7(2); 4-3: Belchior, min. 5(2); 4-4: El Hadaoui, min. 3(2); 5-4: Be, min. 2(2); 6-4: José Maria, min. 2(2).
Brazil grits out victory over Japan
The 7-4 win for Brazil over Japan was earth-shaking good as Bruno Xavier of Brazil put in a performance for the ages and nearly single-handedly led his team to victory. It was a full team effort from the Canarinha though, which raised the bar as they faced a tough and determined team and came from behind to win, remaining undefeated in Group B and secured a spot in the semi-finals. The win gives Brazil six points in two matches and they will look to stay undefeated against Russia, the groups’ other favourite, on Thursday. The loss was a tough one to swallow for the Blue Samurais as they looked like the victor on multiple occasions during the match, but they will look for their first win in the group on Thursday against the USA.
Japan lost on day one, Brazil dominated, and by the transitive property, you could have expected Japan to be manhandled, or at least have their fate out of their hands, but both the Nippon and Yellow and Blue started slow before Japan scored the matches first two goals. Brazil quickly answered, in the final seconds of the frame, which put the score at 2-1 for Japan going into the first break. A late goal and momentum carried the South Americans to another goal, in the opening minutes of the second period, and Brazil looked more and more in control and comfortable, taking their first lead at 3-2, behind Bruno Xavier’s second goal. Japan did not back down and looked determined to topple the beach soccer giants, and scored twice, and quickly, to go up once again, 4-4. The action was so thorough that the Brazilian superstar, Bruno Xavier, netted his third straight goal for his squad, on the restart, to tie things at 4, which is how the middle frame would end.
Bruno Xavier began the period by adding another goal to his tally, giving him goals on the day, with nearly an entire period left to play. He did not score again until the matches’ final minute, but the sixth Brazilian goal was directly set up by Bruno Xavier, finished by Sidney, and the man of the match’s fifth goal sealed things for the Canaries. Japan still pushed their attack but could not crack the defense again, not since the middle of second period, and when the match ended, Brazil was up 7-4.
Goals: 0-1: Goto, min.1 (1); 0-2: Ozu, min. 0 (1); 1-2: Gabriel, min. 0 (1); 2-2: Bruno Xavier, min. 11 (2); 3-2: Bruno Xavier, min. 10 (2); 3-3: Goto, min. 9 (2); 3-4: Ozu, min. 5 (2); 4-4: Bruno Xavier, min. 5 (2); 5-4: Bruno Xavier, min. 11(3); 6-4: Sidney, min. 2 (3); 7-4: Bruno Xavier, min. 1 (3).
Russia finishes off the USA
The 5-1 victory for Russia over the United States was a great display of Russian power, as they withstood many attacks and did not have their best firepower until a few minutes into the first period, when they jumpstarted their run to victory with four opening period goals. The United States fought to keep Russia off the scoreboard and did for long stretches but they US was also unable to take advantage of the shots they had on goal. The win puts Russia in first position, tied with Brazil, in Group B heading into their all-important showdown on Thursday, which will determine the winner and second place finisher in the group, both of which have already qualified for the semi-finals. The loss means the USA will not have a chance to finish in the top 4 but they will still have three more games to show their worth, starting with Japan in group play on Thursday.
Close calls are not very common with Russia, since they capitalize on chances more so than not, but the opening period against the US was chock full of near misses, as the Americans and Russians kept a clean sheet going into the middle of the opening frame. The scoreless draw ended, and in a beautiful manner, with Shishin solidly striking a shot after falling back from a blocked shot by the Yanks. The Red, White, and Blue tried pushing the attack but Russia continually had the answer and they countered very effectively, after the slow start, to score three more times, putting the score at 4-0 going into the second period. The Stars and Stripes got a goal back very early in the frame, and took on the role of aggressor, but despite many quality shots and good looks, they could not score again in the period and the match went into the third period with a score of 4-1 for Russia.
The final period included more great saves and defensive mishaps by both teams that nearly changed the outcome and course of the match. The Americans put themselves in great positions to score but the ball did not bounce their way, however they maintained a stiff backline and limited and frustrated Russia. The score remained 4-1 for Russia going into the final minutes of the game. But the World Champions finally added the icing to the cake, with under a minute to go when Romanov scored Russia’s fifth goal and the match would finish with Russia up 5-1.
Goals: 1-0: Shishin, min. 7 (1); 2-0: Krash, min. 3 (1); 3-0: Shishin, min. 2 (1); 4-0: Peremitin, min. 1 (1); 4-1: Morales, min. 11 (2); 5-1: Romanov, min. 0 (3).
Iran ekes out win over the UAE
The 2-1 win for Iran was close, exciting, dramatic, and just the kind of beach soccer that is now expected in the Samsung Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup Dubai 2014. The local team, the UAE, came out firing but Iran scored first though they were unable to mount any other offensive attacks despite the early fortune. Iran found out how difficult the Emirati are to beat but in the end they prevailed to earn the right to defend their Intercontinental Cup title. It was Iran’s first victory in this years’ tournament. Iran must still defeat Morocco on Thursday to secure their spot in the final four. The UAE can still play spoiler and earn their first win as they will take on undefeated Portugal on Thursday.
A home crowd and top-class talent in a prestigious event such as the Samsung Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup 2014 inevitably creates drama and a level of excitement that fans yearn for. The opening minutes of the match were tighter than a pickle jar, with both sides not allowing a goal, but Iran gave their star keeper, P. Hosseini, a one goal lead on a rocket from M. Ahmadzadeh, near the midway point in the frame. The UAE used some spectacular goalie play from Bahri to stay only one goal doing, with the score being 1-0 for Iran heading into the first break. Matters quickly changed for the Emirati as they needed all of five seconds in the second period to level things on an amazing save then rebound from Hassan Ali, to put the score at 1 all. The period ended with more magnificent defense and flying stops and the score was 1-1 going into the final period.
You could not slip wax paper between these two teams because they were so evenly matched. The tie game became a one-goal game mere minutes into the final frame when A. Naderi of Iran struck a direct kick so sweetly that no one could have saved it. The powerful shot got past every one of the Falcon players and restored the Princes of Persia their lead in the match at 2-1. The difference in this match not being 10-9 was the splendid goalkeepers; both were asked to carry the weight of their teams on their shoulders, which they did admirably. The Iranians began to play a dangerous game by sitting back and relying on defense but lucky for them, they have an outstanding backline. The final period and match of the day finished with the visiting Iran up 2-1.
Goals: 0-1: M. Ahmadzadeh, min. 7(1); 1-1: Hassan Ali, min. 11 (2); 1-2: A. Naderi, min. 10 (3).
SAMSUNG BEACH SOCCER INTERCONTINENTAL CUP DUBAI 2014
Portugal 6-4 Morocco (Group A)
17:30 – Brazil 7-4 Japan (Group B)
18:45 - Russia 5-1 USA (Group B)
20:00 - UAE 1-2 Iran (Group A)
16:15 - Japan vs. USA (Group B)
17:30 – Brazil vs. Russia (Group B)
18:45 - Portugal vs. UAE (Group A)
20:00 - Morocco vs. Iran (Group A)