BAREFOOT: The Beach Soccer Mag - ISSUE 04

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Russia marked their return to form, following a disappointing 2016 campaign, by lifting the European title in Terracina. We take an in-depth look at how they did it as well as what else took place on the western coast of Italy.

ANTON SHKARIN Following their absence from the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2017, we discuss Russia´s rebuilding process with captain Anton Shkarin.




Brazil remain unstoppable.



The England Women’s coach lays out his plan to continue their success.

42 WOMEN’S EURO BEACH SOCCER CUP RECAP Let us take you through the second edition of the Women’s Euro Beach Soccer Cup.

36 40


An analysis by the Technical Study Group.



Beach soccer’s summer is more than just the EBSL.


Switzerland’s mother and son combo discuss their love for the game.


France captainYannick Fischer calls it a day and talks us through his decision.

46 48


Can we trust nutritional supplements?



Welcome to our very own beach soccer time machine.


As well as providing entertainment on the sand, we meet one cheerleader with designs on becoming a qualified doctor.


Learn more about the man behind the microphone and how he provides the soundtrack to our game.



Beach soccer pics direct from you, the readers!


KICKING OFF Tradition makes us stronger… Dear friends, Please allow me first to send my sincere congratulations to the Russian National Team and the Russian Football Federation for their recent Euro Beach Soccer League success… well done, guys! The European season has now come to its conclusion and has done so on a high note. During these last three months, which began with a stunning Euro Winners Cup that brought together more teams and players than ever before, we have seen our sport again spread itself far and wide across the continent. Tradition is something that makes any sport stronger and this summer we have seen the beach soccer legacy continue to grow steadily further. As well as the fifth version of the Euro Winners Cup, we also experienced the 21st edition of the longest-running beach soccer event, the BSWW Mundialito in its traditional home of Cascais, Portugal, complete with no fewer than four FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Champions. And speaking of solidity, the Euro Beach Soccer League this year celebrated its 20th edition. Two decades without interruption is something we can all be very proud of. These 20 years have seen the the whole continent come together through the love of beach soccer and, since its first edition, 21 different countries have hosted Euro Beach Soccer League events, highlighting the appeal our sport continues to enjoy across various territories. This year’s competition also brought us the resurgence of former world champions Russia, with a new-look squad that managed to claim their fifth European title amid fierce competition from the continent’s best nations in Terracina. Rarely in the competition’s history has the finale been so keenly contested with many of the top-tier countries turning in impressive displays and harbouring genuine ambitions of the title going into the last round of group games, prior to Russia’s impressive finalday success against Portugal. A word also for Turkey - who will play their European football in Division A next year after getting the better of Estonia in the Division B final. I’d also like to mention that this European season has confirmed that beach soccer is now the FIFA modality with the best reputation for Fair Play*. During this year’s continental league, a total of 176 yellow cards were shown, which makes for an average of less than two per game, and only one red card every 11 games. This is something that makes us feel really proud, too. But the show must go on and, having brought the curtain down on a successful 2017 European campaign, our commitment is now to make the 2018 season even better. *According to the official statistics of the last two FIFA World Cups, FIFA Beach Soccer World Cups and FIFA Futsal World Cups.

Joan Cuscó BSWW Vice-president and FIFA Beach Soccer CEO

Editorial Director Iñaki Uribarri Editor-in-Chief Matthew Rogerson Design Director Laura Cuscó Design Manager Marta Cuscó Photographers Lea Weil Manuel Queimadelos Contributors Lautaro Alborelo TV & Sponsorship Alex Soriano Edited by Beach Soccer Worldwide, SL Executive Vice-president Joan Cuscó


BACKSTAGE WITH PORTUGAL As the saying goes, play for the badge on the front and they’ll remember the name on the back


WALK THE LINE Trying to stay within the lines while the sand flies - just one of beach soccer’s great challanges


OBRIGADO, NAZARÉ! The Portuguese hotspot is a true beach soccer paradise.


FULL FOCUS A familiar site at beach soccer events for years... Portugal captain Madjer’s steely stare!



Portugal and BSWW present the Nazaré Municipality with the signed official FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2015 match ball.



10,223 kilometres was the total distance the competition travelled across the continent, starting in Belgrade, Serbia, and finishing in Terracina, Italy.

727 goals were scored over the six stages, meaning plenty for fans and spectators to enjoy, whether live in the stadium or watching at home.

89 matches were held in both Division A and Division B as the standings for next year’s league were determined.

3,234 minutes of beach soccer were played in total throughout the league, not including the dramatic penalty shootouts!

176 yellow cards and just eight red cards were shown by officials, making for an average of just yellows per game and confirming beach soccer as the cleanest FIFA modality.




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RESURGENT RUSSIA GET BA T erracina, Italy was the scene of the Euro Beach Soccer League finale in mid-September, as Russia completed their impressive return to form after a difficult 2016.

A typically resolute and determined display from Mikhail Likhachev’s men saw them deny Portugal what would have been a competition-record sixth title, as Russia themselves joined the Portuguese and Spain on five continental cups. Russia - who were without Alexey Makarov and Dmitrii Shishin after they picked up injuries prior to the competition - bounced back in style from a 2016 campaign that saw them miss out on the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in The Bahamas as well as a rocky start to 2017. When the competition began way back in June as Belgrade hosted its first Euro Beach Soccer League stage, Russia could only muster a third-place finish in Division A after defeats to France and Spain. Hosts Serbia battled it out with Estonia, Norway and the Czech Republic in Division B, with the Estonians prevailing in the second tier to become the first team to guarantee their spot in Terracina before Spain all but joined them in Sunday’s finale as they edged France to finish top of Division A. Spain and France dominated the individual awards too, with Llorenc Gomez named MVP and joint top scorer alongside French striker Anthony Barbotti, while Lorenzo Dupin clinched the Best Goalkeeper prize. The next stage saw the sport return to Nazaré, Portugal, where the hosts were roared to success in a weekend that saw only Division A teams compete. While Spain ensured their Superfinal spot by topping Group One ahead of Ukraine, Poland and Greece, it was the home nation who claimed the overall stage thanks to wins against Switzerland, Italy and France in Group Two. Elinton Andrade was named Best Goalkeeper while Madjer earned the MVP title on a positive weekend for Portugal Switzerland’s Dejan Stankovic finishing top of the scoring charts before the third stage in Moscow. The Division B action resumed in the Russian capital as Turkey proved a cut above Moldova and Kazakhstan in the three-team division while the hosts were similarly impressive in the top tier. Russia picked up wins against Belarus, Switzerland and Greece - scoring 19 goals and conceding just six in the process as the four-time winners kept themselves in the race for a fifth European crown. The individual awards were largely a Russian affair also as Alexsey Makarov and Maksim Chuzhkov picked up the MVP and Best Goalkeeper awards respectively while Ihar Bryshtel’s eight goals earned him the title of top scorer. In Siofok, Portugal sealed their place at the Promotion Final with their second stage win - Mario Narciso’s men topping the group in Hungary ahead of Belarus, Poland and Azerbaijan.

ACK TO THEIR BEST After the disappointment of Jesolo, Russia enjoyed redemption in Terracina

24 - SPECIAL REVIEW In Division B, the hosts made the most of home advantage to finish top with relative ease - scoring 37 goals in the process of beating Bulgaria, Denmark and Andorra. The top scorer honours were shared by Pawel Friszkemut of Poland, Azerbaijan’s Sabir Allahguliyev and Belarus’ talisman Ihar Bryshtsel while team-mate Valery Makarevich was best between the sticks, with Portugal’s Jordan Santos named MVP. With the final few places up for grabs, Warnemünde represented the last-chance saloon for many of the teams in action in northern Germany. Defending champions Ukraine made certain their place at the end-of-season finale as they topped the table with eight points ahead of Italy while Azerbaijan picked up a win against hosts Germany to claim third place and condemn Greece to a place in the Promotion Final. In Division B, England and Romania wrapped up their Promotion Final spots with wins on Friday and Saturday before the former claimed the title with a 6-2 win on the final day. Like in Siofok, the top scorer honours were dished out among a number of players as Michele Di Palma, Maksym Voitok, Amid Nazarov and Sascha Weirauch each registered three goals. Germany’s Toni Muller was the Best Goalkeeper as Ukraine forward Roman Pachev picked up the MVP prize. All eyes then turned to Terracina as 16 teams battled it out, many with differing objectives but all keen to impress on Italy’s western coast. In Division B, Estonia and Turkey were the ones to top their respective groups with the former picking up wins against Greece, Bulgaria and Romania. Estonia - champions in Belgrade - would then meet a Turkey side who, after an extra-time success against England had grown into the competition by beating Hungary and Moldova in close-fought contests. Division A began with a goal-packed first day as fans in the stadium were treated to 39 goals in the four top-tier matchups. Eleven of those were scored by Italy in their thumping victory against Ukraine, although the hosts would eventually come unstuck against Russia on the Saturday as the eventual champions picked up a 4-2 win to upset the party somewhat.

Sixteen teams battled it out in Terracina, all keen to impress

26 - SPECIAL REVIEW Things were just as tight in the other group of the top division as Portugal edged a tight match against Poland 6-4 prior to Friday’s 8-7 win against Switzerland. A 4-3 win over Spain secured first place for Mario Narciso’s side as Sunday’s all-important matches were finalised. Prior to the two finals, Moldova and Ukraine avoided bottom spot in their respective seventh-place play-offs, while England and Switzerland finished in fifth. The final four matches then saw Hungary and Italy prevail in the third-place play-offs - the latter doing so with a thrilling penalty shootout victory against Spain - either side of Turkey’s 4-2 win against Estonia. Yasin Bagci’s early brace helped ensure Turkey a spot in Division A for next year before the competition drew to a climax with Portugal taking on Russia in the battle of Europe’s top two ranked sides. Goals from Yury Krashenninikov, Alexey Pavlenko and Artur Paporotnyi did the damage for Russia in an impressive 3-1 victory, with Jordan Santos’ late free-kick not enough to spark a comeback. The victory represented Russia’s first in the Euro Beach Soccer League since 2014 after two third-place finishes in the competition since then and, understandably, coach Mikhail Likhachev was a very happy man in the aftermath of lifting the trophy. “I think we can say that we really showed that desire to win,” he said, speaking to Beach Soccer Russia. “The injuries of our leading players added to my headache but, fortunately, those players who could participate, played very well indeed. “We were at our best in the final with Portugal - who are a very masterful, skilful and experienced team. Matches against them are traditionally very interesting and lively. We looked very good and deserved to win, playing near-perfect football in the process.” But just how did Russia’s coach go about merging new players into what is a traditionally steady and consistent squad, especially when faced with a the injury-enforced absence of captain Anton Shkarin for first game against Belarus? “We were able to move forward because of the individual characteristics of the players - this is the most important aspect for us from the point of view of the formation of any squad,” he added. “The guys are very responsible and they have a great desire to win, the motivation of the players was at a very high level and that became clear from the very first day. “The composition was very good in terms of human qualities and although the guys we invited came from many clubs, everyone was ready to play for their country and we did it as successfully as possible.” With the 20th edition of the league having now come to a close, Russia will hope to stay sharp during the off-season while Turkey have a few months to prepare for their Division A bow next term.

The victory represented Russia’s first in the Euro Beach Soccer League since 2014




ust over 12 months on from their FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup qualification disappointment, the mood in Russia’s dressing room could scarcely be more contrasting following their recent success in Terracina. The newly crowned Euro Beach Soccer League champions marked the return of what has been a journey of salvation by beating Portugal in competition’s final earlier this month, becoming fivetime European champions in the process. But it’s not been an easy path back to the top for Russia who were big-name casualties during the European qualifier for the showpiece event in The Bahamas before suffering some rocky results earlier this season. Having watched their European rivals battle it out in Nassau (The Bahamas) from afar, Russia’s first European outing saw them struggle at times in Belgrade - finishing third after defeats to Spain and France - before another third-place finish at the BSWW Mundialito in Cascais. Captain Anton Shkarin - speaking after Russia’s Terracina victory against Portugal - offered a brutally honest assessment of their 2016 season, telling BAREFOOT: “It’s an incredible feeling because last season was a complete failure for us - this season and for this event our target was just to win.

“It’s a feeling of pure joy because we have managed to fulfil that dream and our main goal for the season and we haven’t failed our coach.” While Russia’s path to Terracina wasn’t an easy one, neither was their experience in Italy as key players Alexey Makarov and Dmitrii Shishin were both late withdrawals due to injury. Shkarin - himself an absentee from Russia’s opening-day win against Belarus - added: “We managed to recover, from a psychological point of view, only as a team - with players and coaches - and because of the friendly atmosphere we have in our team. “It was a big fear for us and we were worried because of the injuries because we hadn’t managed to build up and gel as a team so much with the new players. But maybe we used that as kind of an advantage in a way because we knew we had been dealt some bad luck. “We knew that it would just be us as a team and we wouldn’t be able to rely on anyone else or luck or anything so we had to just go out and win.” With Russia now sure to enjoy a healthy rankings boost this month, the task for Shkarin and his men is to continue their recovery as they build up to their European title defence next year.”

“We managed to recover,psychologically, only as a team.”




he women’s game continues to grow across the globe and especially so in Europe, with the second edition of the Euro Beach Soccer Cup staged in Nazaré in July.

Holders Spain returned to defend the title they won in Cascais a year earlier with 2016 runners-up Switzerland, England, Greece and the Netherlands also competing for the second time along with newcomers Czech Republic. Last year’s finalists enjoyed contrasting starts to the competition, Spain going down 2-1 against the Netherlands after Switzerland hammered Greece 6-1 with the help of a hat-trick from their skipper Nicole Heer. Czech Republic then made their debut appearance in the competition’s history with a thrilling 3-2 success against Greece before England got their campaign with a 4-3 win over the Dutch that saw the Lionesses battle back from 3-0 down to claim the points in dramatic style. After the men’s competition took centre stage for a few hours on the main pitch in Nazaré, England were back in action as they tied up first place in Group A with a comprehensive 6-1 win against Spain to put them into the final. There they would meet the Swiss, who once again showcased their attacking prowess by beating the Czechs 5-1, with five different scorers on target. Ahead of the final, there was still the small matter of the fifth and third-place play-offs to sort, with Spain putting nine past Greece to tie up fourth spot. Next up, the Netherlands edged a close contest against the Czech Republic as Grytsje van de Berg’s strike late in the second period proving the difference. Then it was time for the main event, as Switzerland - seeking to go one step further than in Cascais last year - met an England side looking to upset the odds in a contest that featured many of the same faces from the Euro Winners Cup final between Portsmouth and BSC Havana Shots Aargau. Things began well for Perry Northeast and his team, as Jade Widdowson broke the deadlock with less than two minutes on the clock. While Andrea Morger levelled for the Swiss soon after, Gemma Hillier and Molly Clark were on target before the end of the first period to give England a healthy advantage.


England’s win could prove a watershed moment for beach soccer in the country


The score remained 3-1 going into the final 12 minutes, with Shannon Sievwright having seemingly tied up the win when she scored early on to extend England’s lead. However, England endured a nervy end to proceedings as Ramona Birrfelder and Natalie Schenk scored twice in quick succession to pile the pressure on going into the final five minutes. But Northeast’s side stood firm and ground out a win that their coach believes signifies a potential watershed moment for beach soccer, especially the women’s game, in the country. “They had to hold on and they deserve it,” he smiled afterwards. “It’s not just three days of hard work, it’s been a case of many of the girls going on a lot of different journeys and it’s been a matter of years. It’s basically been five years in the making really. “But I said it before the tournament, this is the strongest group of players we’ve ever had. That’s not just technically but mentally as well and their mentalities were really tested at the end with a minute to go against a team we consider to be one of the best teams there’s ever been in the ladies game.” England will almost certainly be back next year to defend their title and, with the women’s game constantly on the grow, all in the sport will hope to see the competition go from strength to strength.

“It’s been a case of many of the girls going on different journeys, it’s been a matter of years.”




hile, to the untrained eye, England’s success at the Women’s Euro Beach Soccer Cup in Nazaré may have seemed like three impressive victories on the sand, along with a few bumps and bruises, the reality was consistent hard work for a number of years. That’s according to the team’s coach Perry Northeast, who successfully guided his team to their first international title since forming five years ago. The beach soccer ‘Lionesses’ were made to settle for fourth place at the inaugural women’s competition in 2016 but, with a core of regular players based across the south of England, Northeast’s side, with a few tweaks and improvements, were back stronger than ever in Nazare. “I said it before the tournament, this is the strongest group of players we’ve ever had,” he told BAREFOOT after his side’s title success against 2016 runners-up Switzerland. Despite having a less than ideal fixture list for the weekend in Nazaré, which saw England play twice on Saturday, they topped the standings after victory over the Netherlands and Spain, ensuring a match-up against Switzerland in the final. Despite falling behind two minutes in, goals from Shannon Sievwright, Gemma Hillier and Molly Clark helped England into a commanding 4-1 lead going into the final eight minutes. While they were made to sweat thanks to two late Swiss goal, Northeast’s team showed their mental toughness to hang on for the win that he believes was reward for years of dedication and hard work. “They had to hold on and they deserve it,” he continued. “It’s not just three days of hard work, it’s been a case of many of the girls going on a lot of different journeys and it’s been a matter of years. “It’s taken years to get England’s women’s beach soccer to this level - it’s basically been five years in the making really. “That’s not just technically but mentally as well and their mentalities

were really tested at the end [when Switzerland scored to make it 4-3] with a minute to go against a team we consider to be one of the best teams there’s ever been in the ladies game. “We said before the game today that we had to win, not just for ourselves, but to try and get some recognition, some media attention and to grow the league, to make players want to come and play in England.” England boasts something of a beach soccer community, especially in the south of England and across the water on the Isle of Wight, with the likes of former football internationals Matt Le Tissier and John Scales having represented the Three Lions in years gone by. However, beach soccer remains something of a lesser known sport in the country - something Northeast is keen to change when it comes to the women’s game, especially given the strong female football scene in England. “We recruit players generally from a good level of grass teams, they come in with a good attitude and now we just want the game to grow,” he added. “We have 10 amazing players but what we have to do now is try get 50 or 100 amazing players to keep us at the top of the game. “My background is in women’s football anyway so I can call on a pool of talent there, mainly on the south coast, so we’re quite fortunate there and it’s about us trying to upskill the players in the game as quickly as possible. “I’ve had a small amount of international experience myself so hopefully that helps and then it’s just really trying to improve them and get them in the right frame of mind as soon as possible for tournaments like this.” If that’s in the long term for English beach soccer, what about the short-term future for his team? “They need to relax and enjoy the moment,” smiles Northeast. “Then they’ll come back and hopefully we’ll stay as strong as we can.”

“This is the strongest group of players we’ve ever had.”


“We help each other and we listen to each other. It’s really a dream.”



t’s really a dream’, Franziska Steinemann explains to BAREFOOT in Nazaré, where she is competing in the women’s Euro Beach Soccer Cup while her son, Tobias is in Euro Beach Soccer League action.

A mother and son combination is a rare find in any sport but the Steinemanns have no ordinary relationship - often appearing more like team-mates than family, cajoling and improving one another on the sand. Franziska, 47, is a veteran of the sport in her native Switzerland, featuring regularly for the national team and within the country’s club scene, while Tobas, 21, has recently forced his way into the men’s team, debuting at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in The Bahamas earlier this year. And where did it all start for Tobias? Training alongside his mother and her team-mates on the sand back home. “I began playing in 2008,” Franziska continues. “I began first but then my son came to all the training sessions and played with myself and the women. “It’s like a dream come true that he’s playing here with Switzerland - he started with us in training and he was so small that we had to take care with him that he didn’t fall. He grew up with me and beach soccer.” Tobias recalls: “I trained with the women always when I could and that’s how I started. “I was too small to play with men so I played with the women. I was always excited to play in the sand, to try overhead kicks, it’s so much fun when you’re a little boy. “Nobody at my age had the possibility to play so I was a bit lucky in that respect and that definitely helps me.” With beach soccer now truly in his blood, Tobias followed the path of his mother and began in domestic club competitions before getting the call from Angelo Schrinzi to tell him he was heading to The Bahamas. “The first thing I did was call my mother and say ‘yeah, I’m going to play with the seniors’,” Tobias recalls. Franziska adds: “I’m very proud, it’s like a dream and for me it’s so cool because I don’t tell him he has to play beach soccer - for me he can play other sports, football for example, but he loves beach soccer and you can only play at this level when you feel it in your heart. “He started very young, like Noel Ott, and we have a picture of both them with Stefan Meier. It’s my favourite picture because now both of them play in the national team.” While the pair are at contrasting points in their careers, their relationship continues to prove mutually beneficial when it comes to beach soccer, with both offering pointers for one another. “She listens to me a lot, and always comes and asks me things,” Tobias says. “I ask her too, we help each other and listen to each other.” And, according to Franziska, the sky is the limit for her son, explaining: “I tell him things every time I watch him play and he tells me what I need to improve as well… it’s really a dream. “Plus, he’s just started so he has so much that can still happen for him…it’s just the start and there’s so much potential.” However far the pair go in the game, both will be able to look back on a a very unique history - one that started on the sand back in Switzerland and that they have shared ever since.




etween July 21st and 23rd, on Carcavelos Beach, Cascais, Brazil, France, Portugal and Russia convened for another starstudded edition of the BSWW Mundialito.

For the first time, the competition was comprised solely of FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup-winning nations, with current world champions Brazil ultimately able to defend their Mundialito title in style. Gilberto Costa’s men - protecting a winning run that stretches back to 2015 - kicked the weekend off in style as four goals from the inform Mauricinho helped ensure a 9-4 victory against the Russians. Jordan Santos was the main man for Portugal in the other game on the opening day, the midfielder grabbing a hat-trick as the hosts got up and running with a 5-0 win against the French. Things wouldn’t get any easier for Gerard Sargent’s France side, who would face Brazil next, going down 9-0 to a rampant Verdeamarela team. Rodrigo Soares da Costa and Lucas de Oliveira grabbed two apiece before Russia put in an improved showing against Portugal, only to go down 3-1 thanks to three late goals. Madjer, Be Martins and Leo Martins each scored in the final period to set up what promised to be a thrilling finale on Sunday evening in Carcavelos. After Russia had salvaged some pride in the third-place play-off against France - a match that saw Les Bleus captain Yannick Fischer retire from the sport - it was time for the main event as holders Brazil and Portugal faced off in a repeat of last year’s final. Bruno Xavier, Datinha and Rodrigo put Brazil into a commanding lead and, while Leo Martins pulled one back for Portugal, Datinha had the final say of the first period. Leo Martins and Rui Coimbra bolstered hopes of a comeback and, in a thrilling finale, Mauricinho and Ricardinho added one each for either side before Rodrigo sealed the win with a strike two minutes from time. Datinha - who once again shone for Brazil - said afterwards: “We are all to be congratulated - for our campaign here and securing one more title in the history of the Brazilian team. “We are very proud to wear the Brazilian shirt, we always go with heart, and I am very happy for another achievement, a victory against our greatest rival, in the first competition after the World Cup title. It’s a title to celebrate a lot.”


The latest Mundialito saw all four world champions battle it out




he BSWW Mundialito in Cascais in July saw France captain Yannick Fischer call time on his three-year spell in the game.

“It will be engraved in all my sporting life and that’s what counts the most.’

The 42-year-old became part of the French national beach soccer team in 2014 after ending a career in football that saw spells at the likes of Bordeaux, Marseilles, RC Strasbourg and Le Mans as well as Intertoto Cup and French Cup successes.

Fischer’s team with France has seen plenty of ups and downs, although Les Bleus appear to be on the cusp of something special, boasting experience alongside the attacking talents of Stephane Belhomme, Anthony Barbotti and Jeremy Basquaise.

Since then, Fischer has become one of France’s most trusted men on the sand, providing a calming presence at the back as well as the occasional goal.

“The team of France is in reconstruction with the arrival of very good young players,” Fischer added.

Despite bowing out with a defeat - a 5-2 loss against Russia Fischer did manage to get on the scoresheet on his farewell outing and was afforded an emotional send-off by his team-mates, with his family also in the stands.

“There is a progress that has been established in the medium term but there is still much work to do. We have realised here [in Cascais] over these three games that the level is high. There is a good team in the works here and I wish them all the best in beach soccer!”

“It’s with a lot of emotion that I experienced this, especially given the fact I was there with my kids,” he told BAREFOOT.

And Fischer’s absence is likely to be felt hard at the heart of France’s defence, with coach Gerard Sargent set to miss not only his skills but also his mentality and know-how.

“There will always be a little disappointment at the result but in the meantime I have lived four years in Le Equipe de France with some extremely strong moments and a lot of joy, happiness and good matches.

“He is a remarkable man who has always been irreproachable on and off the field,” he told the FFF’s official website. “Beyond his great career as a professional footballer, you can see he’s also been caught by the sand bug.”

“I have had four years of joy and happiness with L’Equipe de France.”





n both football and beach soccer, the outcome of a penalty shootout is often put down to chance, fortune or a slice of luck.

However, in the modern day environment of technical analysis, video studies and stats, is the margin for error narrowing as we start to think more smartly about the outcome of in-game situations? Ramiro Amarelle - a former Spain international and part of FIFA’s Technical Study Group at the recent FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in The Bahamas - has seen and taken part in plenty of pressurised penalty shootouts and believes the fine line of victory and defeat rarely comes down to luck alone. “Luck is a difficult thing to define but I don’t necessarily agree with the cliche,” he told BAREFOOT. “You can train everything to improve and penalties is certainly one of those things. Goalkeepers can study opponents, right or left, and where they put their feet before shooting etc., and the same thing works for forwards. “These aspects you can work on, but most of the times it then comes down to psychological aspects and that gives you the key.” The recent World Cup saw goalkeepers up their game in shootouts and normal-time penalty situations, with less than 60 per cent of goals coming from penalties - a trend Amarelle puts down to an improvement from those between the sticks. “We spoke during this tournament about goalkeepers, we’re talking about less than 60 per cent of the goals coming from penalties. Obviously some are missed but most are saved, the keepers improve a lot with their feet and saving,” he added. “They have more experience and more confidence, because the goalkeepers in the latter stages of the competition have been playing beach soccer for at least six years. Some have played for maybe 10 or 12 years, so experience is vital for them. When you are in these teams who always look to win and try to win competition you always want to give your best, that plays a part.” And any advice for outfield players seeking to get the upper hand against goalkeepers from the spot? “Just try forget whether you are going to score or not. You can obviously miss but you have to be ready. You must focus on the ball and review in your mind the technique, the placement and forget the goalkeeper, the atmosphere, the situation and try use a relaxing technique.”

“You can train to improve everything, penalties included.�



hile the Euro Beach Soccer League has dominated much of the sport’s schedule in recent months, a number of other BSWW Tour events have also taken place in Belarus, Morocco and Austria. The Friendship Cup was first up in June as Turkey, Azerbaijan and Lithuania headed to Vitebsk to take on hosts Belarus and their new coach Nico Caporale. Nico’s side made a dream start to his reign in charge as they beat Lithuania 11-2 on day one while Turkey squeezed past Azerbaijan after extra time. Azerbaijan would bounce back to beat Lithuania 7-3 on the Saturday before Belarus inched closer to the title with a 2-1 success against Turkey. The final day saw Turkey tie up second place courtesy of a 7-4 win against the Lithuanians before Belarus made sure of the title by edging Azerbaijan 4-3 in the competition’s final match, Nico enjoying a strong start to his new role. A fortnight later, the Morocco Beach Soccer Cup, Casablanca, and the Nations Cup in Linz were held concurrently on the weekend of the 14th July. In North Africa, Morocco hosted England, Switzerland and the Netherlands for a four-team tournament in Casablanca. Morocco and Switzerland made winning starts on the Friday, picking up maximum points against the Netherlands and England respectively, before day two saw England bounce back to defeat Morocco 4-3 after extra time. Switzerland found their scoring boots in a 9-2 win against the Dutch before sealing the trophy with a penalty shootout win against Morocco. Netherlands tied up third place with a shootout success of their own while, in Linz, the two-day event saw hosts Austria and Hungary progress from the semi-finals. After Czech Republic beat Norway to finish third, Hungary then claimed a 6-2 win against Austria to lift the Nations Cup title for a fourth time. While the Euro Beach Soccer League understandably attracts much of the attention during the summerr months, there’s always plenty of top-drawer action taking place elsewhere around the world.

Belarus, Morroco and Austria hosted events outside the Euro Beach Soccer League this summer




“Dancing in beach soccer is so much fun... you get to know new places, new people.”


hile many of those watching know the back stories of the players and the coaches, not many will be aware of those of the cheerleaders.

One example is that of Claudia Becerra, a regular beach soccer cheerleader who is close to becoming a fully qualified doctor. Claudia, whose father is a surgeon with more than 35 years of experience in the business, is a clear example of the passion and desire required to pursue a career in medicine or healthcare. “Being a doctor is something I have always wanted, since I was a little child,” she told BAREFOOT. “I want to devote my life to helping people, and I want to be able to help them when they come to me with their health problems.” Unlike her father, though, she wants to focus her career on paediatrics, explaining: “I cannot help it, I love children, and it is what I have always dreamed of.” At only 23 years old and already with a degree in Medicine, which she studied in the prestigious University of Salamanca, she is now starting her Residency Program in a hospital. Just as she cannot remember when she decided she wanted to be a doctor, she doesn’t know when she started dancing, either. “I have been dancing all my life. I love it,” Claudia continues. “But I have only done it professionally for the last two years, from when I joined the Ocean Move dance crew.” After one year of rehearsing and training, her first opportunity came this February when she was part of the entertainment during the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup CONMEBOL Qualifier in Asunción, Paraguay. Claudia would have taken part at the World Cup in Nassau were it not for her studies but she returned to the sand in Nazaré. “I was looking forward so much to come and dance with the girls again,” she says. “Dancing in beach soccer is so much fun… It gives you the chance to travel a lot, getting to know new places, new people.” Fighting prejudices Being a cheerleader, she has also encountered criticism relating to sexism and misogyny in some quarters, although they are accusations she struggles to comprehend. “I can not possibly see any evil in what we do,” she explains. “I have always thought that the problem is in the eyes of those who see misogyny or sexist discrimination in what we do. We do it because we want to, and of course we dance in bikinis, because we are on the beach! When we dance in other places, we wear other kind of outfits or uniforms.” “Honestly, I cannot understand this way of thinking, especially because there also are many boys in sports dancing and when they dance on the beach they do not wear their t-shirts or anything. What is the problem? For Claudia, dancing is the best way to connect with herself and she always manages to find some space to rehearse, no matter how busy she is, adding: “Even the day before an exam, I always find time to dance. “I need it, it clears my mind, keeps me fit. I even dance alone, in my room, if I cannot go anywhere else. It is my life!” Despite the time constraints she may suffer due to her career in medicine, Claudia has no intention of sidelining her dancing.. “I will always do everything I can to keep dancing,” she smiles. “and even during my Residency Program I will try to come and dance as often as I can manage to.”




each soccer is a game that doesn’t subscribe to the normal football clichés. It’s not a game of two halves, there’s no such thing as an entertaining 0-0 and you play to a hooter rather than the whistle.

To add an extra twist, Portugal often play with the Martins twins – Bé and Leo – and at that point it gets doubly difficult.

But the differences that make beach soccer great can create some unique challenges for a commentator.

Pre-match research also takes a different form with beach soccer because access to the teams is key and travelling to events means that commentators get plenty of time to chat and gain some extra snippets of information to enhance the in-game commentary.

Let’s take the fact that, on average, you get a shot every 30 seconds. Basically that means you have no time to take a breath for fear of missing a goal.

The recent Sal Beach Soccer Cup in Cape Verde was a prime example of the benefits of extra access. I spent several hours at airports and on planes with both the German and English teams.

A player can have his back to goal and still get an overhead kick away in a split second, which means there’s never an inch of the sand that isn’t a potential danger area for defenders.

You get an insight like no other when you are sat with the team’s coach on a four-hour flight. You learn what the players like to eat, drink, read and even what they buy their girlfriends at duty free.

If you’re new to the sport, you may think it’s fine for a second or two when the goalkeeper has the ball but you’d be wrong, as there’s barely a stopper in the game who doesn’t have a few shots at his opposite number.

Joking aside, that type of research is almost never available to the average commentator in other sports and gives you a great insight.

The top and bottom of it is that a commentator takes his eye off the game at his peril. Goals are the reason that fans fill the stands but to a commentator trying to memorise the names of the scorers’ things can be a little demanding. There’s an average of nine goals per game and the constant rotation of players means you have to be on the ball (pardon the pun) to list the scorers correctly.

My job is to immerse the listener, whether a regular or a newcomer to the sport, in beach soccer and it’s one I’ve truly grown to love. Often you are working on five games a day, mixing with the players and staff post match and the joy of announcing so many goals means boredom is never a factor. You’re never short of anything to say and, when you are working in the sunshine while wearing shorts and flip-flops, it’s easy to see why it’s one of the best jobs in sport. In truth, the only part I don’t enjoy is trying to pronounce ‘Konstantinos Papastathopoulos’ when I commentate on Greece games…

“It’s easy to see why it’s one of the best jobs in sport.”




he Beach Soccer Foundation continued to spread joy across Europe during August with two clinics held in Siófok and Warnemünde.

Both Euro Beach Soccer League events included the clinics with the Hungarian stage welcoming local children and young adults from the Magyar Máltai Szeretetszolgálat and Ments-Vár Alapítvány associations to get a taste of beach soccer. Players from the national teams of Hungary and Portugal were on hand to deliver lessons and give some hints and tips before the competition proper got underway. Tamas Szentes-Biro, one of Hungary’s rising stars, said: “I think it is a great idea, and it is good for beach soccer, as it shows how it can

give these boys and girls the opportunity to enjoy on the sand, play together and strengthen their relationships. It is a great initiative.” After the culmination of the event in Siófok, the league headed to Warnemünde, northern Germany, where local youngsters there got to experience our sport first hand. Those who attended are from the inclusion team of local professional football club Hansa Rostock, with the players training weekly and taking part in various tournaments throughout the year. It was the first time they had experienced soccer on the sand however and they were guided through by German players Christian Biermann, Sascha Weirauch along with Romanian counterparts Ilie Daniel Stan, Andrei Stan and goalkeeper Andrei Paul Neag.

NDATION IN FULL FLOW Two more clinics took place in Siófok and Warnemünde

Watching on, coach Eric Kerkow noted: “We’re very happy to be here, just look at them, they’re so excited. They have different disabilities but football and beach soccer connects us. This is one of the greatest things sport have.” Those comments were echoed by project manager Uwe Schröder, who explained that the change in surface for the players had proved beneficial, not to mention hugely enjoyable. “Our team was already very excited in the run-up and were looking forward to the training session with all these international stars,” he added. “The conditions were something new for us, but everyone had fun and that is the main thing.”




By Lautaro N. Arborelo Lautaro N. Arborelo is a qualified, professional nutrionist who has worked for FC Barcelona beach soccer team and other sports for a number of years. Nutritional supplements for athletes, such as whey protein shakes, pills or gels can be a useful way of ensuring the optimum amount of nutrients we need to perform to our best conditions. When we talk about taking on items such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals and vitamins, supplements can become useful but should not be consumed regularly or serve as a replacement for a balanced, healthy diet. For instance, don’t begin to think that a whey protein shake is more beneficial, more efficient, than a piece of meat for instance. What we need to take in consideration when we are choosing between an artificial or a natural food is the quantity of any given nutrient I am receiving. The better the quality the food, the bigger the amount of nutrients it will provide. As long as we are sure of the complete composition of a supplement and the exact amount of nutrients they provide, there is no danger in taking them. The only danger is believing that they can replace a healthy, varied, natural diet, because that is not the case. Our first priority should always be to follow a rich, balanced and varied diet, but after that, there’s no danger in topping up with a few extra supplements to help our bodies perform to their best.

The better the quality of the food, the bigger amount of nutrients


MASSIMO AGOSTINI Before becoming Italy coach, Massimo Agostini was banging in the goals for the Azzurri. (Lisbon, 2004)




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OCT 31ST - NOV 4TH HUAWEI INTERCONTINENTAL BEACH SOCCER CUP DUBAI 2017 Dubai and Beach Soccer will team up once again for one of the most anticipated showdowns of the year. In the event that everybody wants to play and all the city want to go to… eight beach soccer powerhouses from six different confederations will go head to head.

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Brazil will try to defend their crown at the new stadium built in Business Bay, in the heart of Dubai, but the likes of Asian champions Iran or former FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup champions Russia will do their best to spring a surprise.


CONMEBOL runners-up Paraguay, following their stunning performance at the Liga Sudamericana de Fútbol Playa, will take part in the event for the first time, together with CONCACAF kings Mexico, 2015 World and European champions Portugal, and Egypt.

Mexico, the United States, France and Colombia will square off in a competition that brings top-class beach soccer back to Puerto Vallarta. After a seven-year absence, following the CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship 2010, the Mexican resort will once again stage a topdrawer event as part of the sport’s global tour.

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The Mundialito de Clubes Beach Soccer, the most prestigious club competition, lands in Sao Paulo with defending champions FC Barcelona ready to fight to retain their crown.

Africa’s biggest and best beach soccer event comes back this year for its sixth edition, bringing its unique combination of top-class beach soccer, party atmosphere, fashion shows and live performances.

CONMEBOL champions Vasco da Gama, and a host of other international giants will be more than ready to upset them, in one of the most anticipated beach soccer competitions in the calendar.

A selection of clubs as well as the national teams of Spain, Lebanon, the Netherlands and Nigeria will feature along with external activities from The Beach Soccer Foundation.