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06 Nov 2014
Russia, Iran, Brazil, and Portugal into Semis
Day III was capped by acrobatics and late goals as Russia takes Brazil in overtime to set up duel in semis with Iran in the 2013 finals rematch
Japan holds on for 1st win
The 3-1 Japanese win over the USA was in doubt for almost the entire match after the Blue Samurais leapt to an early two goal lead but had to dig deep to hang on for the victory, which was made a little easier by a late insurance goal. The Yanks played extremely well, especially after conceding the early goals, but for the second day in a row, they went unrewarded for their efforts. The win gives Japan three points, their first of the week, and third place in Group B. The Japanese will play the 4th place team in Group A, on Friday. The USA finishes 4th in the group and will face the 3rd place team in Group A, with both matches being in the consolation bracket, another showdown could be possible.
Japan suffered a devastating defeat to Brazil on Wednesday, narrowly losing, and they wanted to avoid another let down against the Americans. The plan worked out well for the Nippon early as they scored a goal, from their keeper Terukina, which put the US on their heels. The Japanese pushed forward and added a goal from Ozu, just over midway through the frame and held onto the 2-0 lead for the remainder of the period. In what has become a theme, the Red, White, and Blue, turned up their defense and clamped down on their opponent, as they did against Russia on Wednesday, after the opening period proved to be their undoing. One big difference was that against Japan, the first period deficit was only two and after a timely goal late in the middle frame, from the goalie Balsano, the Stars and Stripes pulled to within one goal, sitting at 2-1. The period would end with both teams seeing good chances but not hitting the back of the net and matters were still not settled with Japan clinging to a 2-1 lead going into the final 12 minutes of action.
America turned their frustration into shots, but not all of the strikes were necessarily on-target and the USA could not score the equalizer heading into the end of the final frame. Both squads then began to employ very defensive tactics. As nearly always happens, good defense leads to good offense and Japan countered to restore their two goal lead, and give them a much needed cushion. Neither side scored again and the match finished with Japan up 3-1.
Goals: 1-0: Terukina, min. 9 (1); 2-0: Ozu, min. 5 (1); 2-1: Balsano, min. 3 (2); 3-1: Goto, min. 3 (3).
Russia stuns Brazil in overtime thriller
Russia’s 2-1 (aet) win over Brazil was a real cracker that no one could have predicted. The outcome maybe, but not how beautifully the two teams played. Brazil and Russia initially played to a stale mate until the middle period when the South Americans scored to open up the offenses. The golden goalkeepers kept cool though and a 3rd period goal, coupled with an overtime score showed the Russian composure, cool as ice, and gave them the win and the group. Russia will take on the 2nd place team in Group A on Friday. Brazil already qualified for the semi-finals as well and will take on the 1st place team in Group A on Friday.
Brazil and Russia are both proud beach soccer nations, with the Russians being the current two-time FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup title holders and Brazil being the founders of the sport, and not surprising, nothing could separate the two teams in the opening minutes of the opening frame. The chess match continued going into the final minutes and when the buzzer for the frame sounded, the score was just as it had started, tied at 0. The defenses controlled the opening period and the second period started with more pretty parleys from the goalies, but the offenses seemed to come alive at the same time. The wait for the first goal was more than worth it as Gabriel of Brazil turned a dire situation, being surrounded by defenders, into a breath-taking bicycle kick. The Russians nearly leveled the score seconds later but a cross was just out of reach for Krash, and the Canarinho held onto the 1-0 lead. The middle frame ended with The Yellow and Blue biting their nails with the 1-0 lead.
The final frame started with even more amazing action, but the difference between it and the second period was that the Russians were the first to score, on a strike from Shishin. Russia has always thrived on pressure and that first goal, in the third period was a sign of more clutch play to come. Brazil saw their chances increase but could not get the important second goal, however they did shut down Russia for the rest of the period and the match went into overtime. In the extra frame, Krash came up huge for his Russians compatriots and scored the frames’ only goal and Russia held on for the 2-1 overtime win.
Goals: 1-0: Gabriel, min. 5 (1); 1-1: Shishin, min. 10 (3); 1-2: Krash, min. 2 (et).
Portugal avoids letdown to take group
The 3-2 win for Portugal over the UAE ended up being a predictable result but how they got to the end of the match was anything but normal. Portugal was the heavy favourite but the UAE did not have any of that and came out firing on all cylinders, offense and defense. The hosts took a 2-0 lead into the last period but Portugal came to life and scored three straight goals and stopped anymore dramatics right there. The win gives Portugal 1st place in Group A and they will take on Brazil, the 2nd place finisher in Group B, on Friday. The UAE will take on Japan, the 3rd place finisher in Group B.
Shock and awe is something that are continually present in beach soccer, though it is impossible to get used to it because expectations are always different than reality. As was the case in the opening minutes of the UAE and Portugal match. People expected the Selection of the Quinas to let alone strike first, if not score multiple times, but the hosts played terrific defense and scored the first goal, connected on by Walid, and the Emirati clawed their way to a defensive gem on defense, leaving the score at 1-0 at the first break. The second period was much of the same, except that the European side looked more determined to score, but the UAE were not giving an inch, and even added to their lead, doubling the advantage to two, putting the score at 2-0. Just as impressive as the two goals they scored on the Portuguese was the shutout pitched by the Falcons and they held the 2 to nil lead going into the final period.
The third period began with upset still on the UAE’s mind as they attacked the goal and squandered more than one chance in the opening minute of the last frame, but not to fret, their defense did a wonderful job keeping Portugal off the board. Portugal then took matters into their own hands and picked a perfect time to score their first goal of the match, a few minutes removed from the periods’ opening whistle, when Alan sparked the comeback trail, pulling his team to within one goal, at 2-1. B. Novo then was fouled at the midway point in the frame and connected on the penalty to tie the score at and energize his side. That showed when he scored his second of the match, with just over three minutes remaining to put the favourites up for the first time, at 3-2, which is how the period would end.
Goals: 0-1: Walid, min. 4(1); 0-2: M. Alzaabi, min. 8 (2); 1-2: Alan, min. 7 (3); 2-2: B. Novo, min. 5 (3); 3-2: B. Novo, min. 3 (3).
Iran advances to semis behind strong defense
Iran’s 5-0 win over Morocco was a heart stopper that had both teams on pins and needles from wire to wire. The defense and goalkeeping were outstanding and the goals that were scored were more than enough to satiate even the most offensive minded fan. The game was nearly scoreless for two periods before Iran hit the back of the net first, then exploded for three late goals in the final frame, which ended Morocco’s hopes of playing in the semi-finals. Iran will face Russia on Friday in the first semi-final. Morocco barely missed out on the semi-finals after they won their first match of the tournament but they will be playing in the consolation bracket against the USA on Friday.
Taking shots on goal is the only way to score but that was not how things worked for Iran in the early going. The Iranians threw everything at the Lions of the Atlas, including the kitchen sink but nothing struck the back of the onion bag. As the period progressed, the Moroccans got more and more shots on goal but the superb play from P. Hossieni, the Iran keeper, kept things level, at 0, going into the first break. The trend continued in the middle frame with both goalies having the game of their life, flying, sprawling, and crawling to stop every shot, which they both did, and heroically, until the the Iranian captain put his team on his shoulders and scored the matches first goal with under a minute left in the middle frame on a direct kick to put the Princes of Persia up 1-0 going into the 3rd and final period.
Defense did not cease, particularly for the defending Samsung Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup Champions, Iran. Their back lines held tough and the offense, specifically their captain, A. Naderi, doubled his teams’ lead with his second goal and the Iranians looked in control going into the final minutes of the match. The Falcons were not done yet and in beach soccer leads are rarely ever safe, so to combat this, Iran kept striking and got their third goal, which put them up 3-0 with very little time left for Morocco to make the necessary comeback. M. Ahmedzadeh scored the third goal for his side and just for good measure, he added another, less than a minute later to put the game out of reach for the Moroccans. When the final whistle sounded, Iran was up 5-0, after another late Iran goal.
Goals: 0-1: A. Naderi, min. 0 (2); 0-2: A. Naderi, min. 8 (3); 0-3: M. Ahmadzadeh, min. 4 (3); 0-4: M. Ahmadzadeh, min. 3 (3); 0-5: F. Boulokbashi, min. 0 (3).
SAMSUNG BEACH SOCCER INTERCONTINENTAL CUP DUBAI 2014
16:15 - Japan 3-1 USA (Group B)
17:30 – Brazil 1-2 (aet) Russia (Group B)
18:45 - Portugal 3-2 UAE (Group A)
20:00 - Morocco 0-5 Iran (Group A)
16:15 - Japan vs. UAE
17:30 – Morocco vs. USA
18:45 - Russia vs. Iran (Semi-final)
20:00 - Portugal vs. Brazil (Semi-final)