One of the world’s biggest international beach soccer tournaments was played in Dubai this November.. The Intercontinental Cup was a prequel to next year's World Cup. Vision Sport went to see what was going on at the Marine club Dubai
Brazil marked a glorious return to the sands of Dubai’s Jumeirah Beach on Sunday when they were crowned champions of the 2016 Samsung Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup.
After missing out on last year’s competition, the Canarinha were determined to reclaim the trophy they won for the first time in 2014, and in truth there was no disputing the fact that the South American side were deserved victors.
Brazil were in rampant mood throughout the five-day event, thrashing hosts UAE in the opening game 11-1 before overcoming Poland and last year’s finalists Tahiti in their other two group games.
The 7-0 semi-final demolition of Russia – defending champions and the most successful side in the competition’s history – was arguably the tournament’s most stunning result, a powerful statement of intent from a team that will fancy their chances at next year’s FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.
That the competition’s two strongest teams met in the penultimate stage rather than the final is due to the exploits of a solid-but-unspectacular Iran side, whose narrow penalty shootout win over the Russians in the group stage meant they finished top and crucially avoided Brazil in the semi-finals.
The Iranians managed to edge Tahiti in an engrossing last-four clash that ended 8-6, but there would ultimately be no stopping Brazil in the decider, who ran out 6-2 winners.
It was a disappointing tournament on the whole for the UAE, although Al Abyad avoided the wooden spoon by beating the USA 4-3 in the 7th place play-off.
FIFA Beach Soccer executive vice-president Joan Cusco was also quick to praise Dubai for hosting another successful tournament.
“We found that Dubai has a lot of objectives that fit with ours. It’s a modern city, and we are a modern sport. It’s also a young city, and we are a young sport,” he said.
“Dubai fits in with many aspects: a passion for football, the passion of the different communities. It is the perfect venue for an event like this, with lots of international communities coming to support their teams.
“The formula is pretty easy. It’s about football, music and lots of goals. It’s a big show. It cannot go wrong.”
The city will soon host another major beach soccer event as the AFC Beach Soccer Championship heads to Jumeirah Beach, with the top three teams qualifying for the World Cup in the Bahamas next spring.