GOLDEN PORTUGAL SPECIAL REVIEW ABOUT THE EUROPEAN GAMES MINSK 2019 EURO WINNERS PARAGUAY AWAITS CUP DIGEST #10
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE BIGGEST SHOWPIECE EVER IN NAZARÉ
THE JOURNEY TO THE FIFA BEACH SOCCER WORLD CUP 2019 CONTINUES…
QATAR ON THE HORIZON CATCH UP ON ALL THE WORLD BEACH GAMES QUALIFIERS HELD SO FAR
HUGO ALMEIDA THE PORTUGUESE INTERNATIONAL STRIKER, READY TO PLAY BEACH SOCCER
04 - CONTENTS
IN THIS ISSUE...
EUROPEAN GAMES MINSK 2019 REVIEW
Beach Soccer was again one of the main protagonists at the European Games in their second edition. Read all about how the unforgettable week unfolded in the Belarusian capital.
MARTA STAALFELDT What is life and beach soccer like as the youngest out of the thousand players at the Euro Winners Cup? Meet 14-year-old Marta Staalfeldt, Nomme Kalju’s striker and read about her experience in Nazaré.
THE EURO WINNERS CUP IN NUMBERS Let the numbers speak for themselves...
INTERVIEW HUGO ALMEIDA
The Portuguese Football star is passionate about beach soccer, as he showed during his spell with Buarcos at the Euro Winners Cup.
INTERVIEW PHALLON TULLIS
EURO WINNERS CUP SPECIAL DIGEST The biggest beach soccer club competition in the world enjoyed yet another record-breaking edition in 2019. Here’s everything you need to know about the continental showdown.
We might see her between the US Soccer team sticks soon. She knows beach soccer can help her achieve that dream.
KWAI ISLAND BS
Read how these islanders from the Pacific think beach soccer can help save their island.
LOVE BLOSSOMS IN NAZARÉ (AGAIN) EN ROUTE TO PARAGUAY
As well as top class beach soccer, the 2019 Euro Winners Read about the different qualifiers for the FIFA Beach Cup sees another love story with a happy ending. Soccer World Cup held across the globe so far.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
We love to travel back in time to discover treasures from the past... Will you come with us?
Beach soccer can be seen through a million different eyes... Enjoy some of them.
ROAD TO THE WORLD BEACH GAMES LA LIGA LAND IN BEACH SOCCER
The World Beach Games Qatar 2019 await… Catch up Beach Soccer Worldwide and LaLiga join forces in a on the qualifying stages that have been going on around global partnership agreement. Read everything about the world. what it will mean for the sport.
What has the beach soccer season got in store for us over the coming weeks?
06 - KICKING OFF
KICKING OFF Dear friends, We did it again. We did it bigger. We did it better. We did it louder… Most of all, we did it together. Beach Soccer has exceeded itself once again to show the world all the power, passion, unity and potential that this sport has. This past week in Minsk, beach soccer occupied its place as one of the highlights of the European Games. Our sport was one of the most anticipated competitions at the Games, and beach soccer did not let anybody down. Electric matches, breathtaking action, a packed stadium… Every ingredient you can think of, to make our spell at the Games a moment to remember forever. Before that, though, we were left speechless by the last Euro Winners Cup. In Nazaré, we jointly achieved what seemed impossible: to have an even bigger, better and more spectacular Euro Winners Cup, with a grand total of 215 games, four simultaneous pitches, and more than 1000 athletes on the sand. The bar has been raised again, and from the moment the referee blew his whistle for the last time to signal the end of the 2019 edition, we started working to find ways to make it an even more unforgettable milestone in the coming season. Now, the time has come to enjoy our beloved Euro Beach Soccer League, and the rest of the competitions in Europe, as we inch closer to the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup and the brand new, but extremely exciting, World Beach Games, which will be held in Qatar midOctober. Besides all the information and special reviews of the aforementioned competitions, in this issue of Barefoot, you will also find some other interesting views and insights about the world of beach soccer. Testimonials that will help you understand the experiences, both big and small, that help shape the growth of beach soccer, give us the energy to keep growing, to keep working to make our sport, our world, an even better place. We hope you enjoy it!
Editorial Director Iñaki Uribarri Editor-in-Chief Matthew Mills Design Director Laura Cuscó Design Manager Adrian Velado Photographers Lea Weil Manuel Queimadelos João Vital (CBSB) José Manuel Álvarez Mexsport/Concacaf Shane Wenzlick/phototek.nz TV & Sponsorship Pol Calvet Edited by Beach Soccer Worldwide, SL Executive Vice-president Joan Cuscó
Joan Cuscó BSWW Vice-president and FIFA Beach Soccer CEO
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THE BIG PICTURE We always make the most of the yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s biggest event to get a quick snap of everyone involved. Who can you see in this photo?
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COACHING YOUR IDOL Gilberto da Costa had the chance to have football legend Ronaldinho Gaucho under his command.
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CAPTURING THE MOMENT If this is not a perfect beach soccer picture, we do not know what it is...
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LET IT BEE The Concacaf Beach Soccer Championships got interruted by a swarm of these friendly insects...
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WORK IN PROGRESS The stadium of the coming FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Paraguay 2019 is taking shape...
20 - QUARTERLY REVIEW
EUROPEAN GAMES MINSK 2019
t was a bumpy ride to the final for the Portuguese, but in the end they demonstrated that they were deserving winners with a 3-8 win over Spain who took the silver.
start in Minsk, Mario Narcisoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Portuguese squad stormed past their Iberian rivals in the final to clinch the gold medal at the European Games.
The beach soccer at the 2nd European Games took place in the Belarussian capital between June 25 and 29.
They dethroned Russia, who took the title at the 1st European Games in Baku (2015), and with the first regular stage of the Euro Beach Soccer League (5-7 July, NazarĂŠ) just around the corner, they will have their sights set on more silverware this season.
Our sport was proudly front and centre at the event, with seats to watch many of the matches sold out months in advance. After crashing out of the running for a spot at the World Beach Games in the European Qualifiers in Salou, and an initially shaky
The road to the Games began in the 2018 edition of the Euro Beach Soccer League, where the top seven nations in Division A, including the automatically qualified hosts Belarus, and Romania
E GOLD IN MINSK
as the best team from Division B, won their tickets to Minsk. With such a high standard of teams, a close contest was guaranteed. In fact, no team made it out of the group stages without having suffered a defeat, and the reigning champions Russia, as well as hosts Belarus and European champions Italy, made early exits after no making it out of the group stages. Romania struggled against rivals of such calibre, and ended their campaign in Belarus without a win, but with invaluable experience under their belts. Their next challenge will be to fight for promotion to Europe’s top league in the coming EBSL season.
The group stages were tight until the very last game, with the thinnest of margins determining who made the semi-finals and who didn’t. A Mediterranean head-to-head for Group B’s final spot in the semi-finals saw a replay of the 2018 Superfinal, as a late golazo by Antonio helped Spain overcome Italy to squeeze into the final four. In Group A, the hosts Belarus were the only team to remain unbeaten after two games, but former world champions Portugal, after losing their opening match against Switzerland, dashed Belarussian hopes of making the podium on home soil with a 3-7 win.
22 - QUARTERLY REVIEW From Group A, Portugal and Switzerland reached the semifinals, joined by Spain and Ukraine from Group B. Spain were drawn against Switzerland and downed Angelo Schirinzi’s men by five goals to three, while Portugal were taken to extra time by a stubborn Ukrainian side, where Leo Martins scored the winner with just seconds on the clock. Following their disappointment in the qualifiers for the World Beach Games, Portugal had turned their form around in Europe to guarantee at least a silver medal and were just a win away from gold. However, the final showdown against their neighbours on the Iberian Peninsula didn’t get off to a promising start, as Llorenç and Javi Torres put La Roja ahead in the first period. The Spaniards seemed to be in control of the match and likely to score more, but Portugal suddenly turned things around as the second period got underway. The Martins twins each struck twice and stepped up when the team needed them to shine and spur on the Portuguese reponse. An amazing run for Mario Narciso’s side in the second and third periods of the match saw Andrade, Madjer and Jordan also get their names in the goal section of the match report, putting a total of eight past the bewildered Spanish. Once the Portuguese seized control of the tie, there was no way back for La Roja. Arguably Spain’s star-player of the tournament in Minsk, Antonio pulled one back in the dying minutes of the match, but it was too little too late for Alonso’s men, who ended the final a clear second best, claiming the silver while Portugal darned the much-deserved gold medals. In the match for the bronze, Switzerland spent much of the match trailing as the Ukrainians consistently took a one-goal lead, only to see it cancelled out by the stubborn Swiss. Switzerland edged in front for the first time with just a minute of the match left, when Dejan Stankovic converted, and then managed to hold on to their advantage to hand a frustrating loss to Ukraine to get their hands on the bronze medals. The 2nd European Games in Minsk was a success in every sense of the word, and the commitment shown by every single player was admirable to see. The passion and drive kept the beach soccer competitive from start to finish and, in the end, the Portuguese were worthy claimers of the gold. Anyone else already looking forward to the 3rd European Games?
MEET BSWW’S 2019 BEACH Beach Soccer Worldwide has extended its list of beach soccer ambassadors to 33 ahead of what promises to be the biggest year the sport has ever seen. Our players, and the spectacular performances that they entertain us with, are the backbone of beach soccer. We at BSWW truly believe that they are an essential part of promoting the sport and encouraging new players and supporters to get involved. This is why this year we have extended our ambassador program, so that it now consists of 33 men and women from all over the world.
The 2019 list of Beach Soccer Ambassadors is: Aaron Clarke (ENG) - @aaronclarke10 Abu Azeez (NGA) - @officialzeez Adriele (BRA) - @adriele.bs07 Al Senyi (SEN) - @al_seyni_ndiaye_99 Alba Mellado (ESP) - @albiitamee Anastasia Patrina (RUS) - @anastasiapatrina10 Angel Rodriguez (MEX) - @roca_fut_larata Boris Nikonorov (RUS) - @boris_nikonorov Bruno Xavier (BRA) - @brunoxavier_oficial Bryshtel (BLR) - @brish8 Cem Keskin (TUR) - @cemkeskin1010 Dejan Stankovic (SUI) - @deki_stankovic Elinton Andrade (POR) - @elintonandrade Filipe (BRA) - @filipesilvabs
H SOCCER AMBASSADORS Gabriele Gori (ITA) - @gabrigori_10 Dona (ESP) - @dona_beachsoccer Kamila Komisarczyk (POL) - @kamcia_19 Leticia Villar (BRA) - @lelevillar Llorenç (ESP) - @llorenc_enzo10 Madjer (POR) - @madjer_official Melissa Gomes (POR) - @gooomes9 Molly Clark (ENG) - @molly_clarky10 (Twitter) Moradi (IRN) - @mohammadmoradi.10 Nassim (MOR) - @nassim_elhadoui_10 Natalia Murillo (COL) - @natyymc Nick Perera (USA) - @nickperera_soccer Noel Ott (SUI) - @noelott Ozu (JPN) - @ozumoreira Pedro Moran (PAR) - @moran.pedrito Peyman Hosseini (IRN) - @peymanhosseinii
Rodrigo (BRA) - @rodrigocostaaa Rui Coimbra (POR) - @ruicoimbra Walid (UAE) - @weldon.10 Are you following all of them? As beach soccer ambassadors, they will represent Beach Soccer Worldwide in their home countries and cities. As well as strutting their stuff on the sand alongside their teammates, these 33 players will also play active roles in some of the events organized by BSWW such as clinics, presentations, draws and press conferences. The list of ambassadors is not closed, and is subject to a yearly review.
24 - QUARTERLY REVIEW
910 PLAYERS, 215 MATCHES, 80 TEAMS, 11 DAYS, 4 PIT
his year, the seventh of the Euro Winners Cup, saw the statistics of the 2018 edition topped once more.
The number of participating teams rose to 80, which in turn, saw the amount of matches, pitches and, of course, players, increase as well. On top of that, another record was smashed as Gabriele Gori netted seven in a single match, scored an incredible 26 goals in total for Artur Music to better the previous record (which he set!) of 18. The seventh edition of the continent’s biggest beach soccer club competition saw SC Braga retain the title again, making it three years on the bounce as kings of Europe. They started the final uncertainly against Polish champions, KP
Lodz, but in the end scored six goals to claim the 2019 trophy comfortably. In the third-place play-off, Levante, after losing 2-1 to KP Lodz in the semi-finals, edged a riveting match-up against FC Delta. Earlier in the year, Braga had also won the Mundialito de Clubes in Moscow (see page 56) defeating European club rivals Catania in the final. The Italians finished this year’s Euro Winners Cup in eighth place, one above the Russian champions, BSC Kristall, who blew many people’s minds, following their surprisingly early exit of the 2019 competition, at the hands of Ukraine’s Euroformat-Bodon. Kristall narrowly missed out of the title last year after a tense penalty shootout in the final against SC Braga, but had to settle for ninth place this time around.
RS CUP 2019
TCHES, 1 VENUE – WELCOME BACK TO NAZARÉ!
SC Braga keep reigning in Europe months after his triumph at the Mundialito
The Road to Glory The Portuguese champions began their title-defending campaign in Group B, which contained BSC Chargers Baselland (Switzerland), Spartak Moscow (Russia) and Linden City (Latvia). Their first test came against the Latvian side, which they dispatched by seven goals to one, and then the Swiss champions, supercharged by many of the national team players, also fell to the might of Braga. In the final day of the group stages, the Portuguese took on Spartak Moscow to vie for the topspot, and they just edged the Russians by two goals to nil. In the Round of 32 they put 14 past CS Djoker of Moldova, their biggest win of the tournament, to earn a Round of 16 tie against Grande Motte Pyramide. Beating the French 7-3, Braga made it
to the quarter-finals where their paths crossed with groupmates Spartak Moscow once more. They won the second meeting with a two-goal cushion once more and the momentum of António Torres’ men showed no sign of slowing. Meanwhile their finalist rivals-to-be, KP Lodz, were quietly sneaking closer to their best ever finish, by knocking out Euroformat (who had eliminated one of the tournament favourites, BSC Kristall) and then Levante in the semi-finals. Braga won by eight goals to three against Delta in their semi-final and the final was set: SC Braga vs KP Lodz. Having got as far as the semi-finals and clinching third place the previous year, KP Lodz immediately let their Portuguese rivals
26 - QUARTERLY REVIEW know that they were on a dethroning mission. SC Braga had a full stadium backing them on the beach of Nazaré, but in the opening section of play, that didn’t help them find a goal, as the physically imposing Poles knocked at the door. The second period began with the score at 0-0 but this didn’t last long, as the deadlock was finally broken by Brazilian, Bokinha. Momentum built for Braga and the resilient KP Lodz started to crack. Jordan scored from the kick off of the final period, Filipe bagged one not long after, and then Botelho made it four. The game slipped further and further out of Polish control, as Be Martins wrapped up the game with a sublime double and, as the final whistle sounded, the stands erupted. Three years, three European titles: this Braga side are unstoppable! New Queens of Europe are Crowned The men’s competition may be going through a period of domination by a relentless SC Braga team who just cannot seem to stop winning, but the women’s Euro Winners Cup is a very different story… This year saw the fourth year of the Women’s Euro Winners Cup name the fourth recipient of the continental crown, AIS Playas de San Javier. After finishing in third last year, the Spaniards clearly had an agenda this time around, and had injected their team with some English firepower in the form of Sarah Kempson (2017 World’s Best Player) and Gemma Hillier. In an all-Spanish final, Playas de San Javier were dragged right to the penalty spot by Madrid CFF, where they kept their cool to convert the winning two spotkicks. In the build-up to the final, they had enjoyed an unbeaten campaign and knocked out the reigning champions, WFC Zvezda, in the Round of 16. In the quarter-finals they met Djurgardens IF FF, but made short work of the Swedish side, defeating them 2-10, while their would-be finalist rivals, Madrid CFF just squeezed past ASD Terracina Beach Soccer Femminile. In the semi-finals, Playas de San Javier ended first-timers Stade de Reims’ winning run, while for Madrid it was, yet again, just one goal that saw them make the final showdown. The final saw a tense opening run of play, in which neither side found the net, despite shots bouncing of posts and bars. The breakthrough eventually came for Sara Gonzalez, as she hit the first goal of the match. Playas de San Javier led at the break, but they couldn’t keep Madrid out forever, and towards the end of the second period, the number ten, Alba Mellado, levelled up. As soon as the final period began, the women in blue were back and this time it was Carolina Gonzalez, who at this point was unaware she would be named MVP, who scored to put them ahead again. At the end of normal time the scores were tied and when extra time saw no more goals, it was penalties. The cruellest test of nerves denied the Madrileños the chance
Russia’s Zemskov scored goals in just one gam
d six me!
Playas de San Javier become the fourth Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Euro Winners Cup Champions
28 - QUARTERLY REVIEW
at glory, as they were unable to convert any of their spotkicks and Joaquin Castaño’s Playas scored two.
league by the champions of the Ukrainian league, Euroformat Bodon.
The players celebrated their first title uncontrollably, and after remaining undefeated throughout the whole tournament, achieved a truly-deserved accomplishment.
Kristall’s campaign got underway in a similar style to that of Braga, as they breezed through the group stages, seeing off Grodnooblsport (Belarus), CD Nacional (Portugal) and FC Dinamo Batumi (Georgia) to top the group.
The MVP went to Carolina Gonzalez of AIS Playas de San Javier while Melissa Gomes took home the trophy for Top Scorer after scoring 14 goals for Stade de Reims The French team also claimed the Best Goalkeeper, which went to American Phallon Tullis Joyce. Debutants causing upset One of the most notable moments in this year’s edition of the Euro Winners Cup was the elimination of the champions of the Russian
They then faced Cartel Waterloo of Belgium in the Round of 32, winning 11-2, but it was in the next match, in the Round of 16, that they were to be tripped up by an unlikely foe and lose the chance to get their European throne back. Euroformat-Bodon were first-timers at the Euro Winners Cup, but after winning the Ukrainian league, which is by no means an easy task with many quality sides competing, they took well to life in to European showdown.
A cruel moment of déjà vu for BSC Kristall came when they were knocked out after 20 strikes from the penalty spot, as Euroformat finally sunk them, and Euro Winners disappointment was theirs once more. Euroformat Bodon’s reward for the victory was a replay against groupmates KP Lodz in the quarter-finals, and this is where the journey ended for the debutant giant-slayers. Stade de Reims played a similar role in the women’s competition, as they topped their group too, and dealing a heavy blow to the defending champions, WFC Zvezda in the process to keep aiming for the crown. Their first year of participation saw the French side down several of the tournament’s stronger sides, including Lady Grembach, and after losing against the soon-to-be champions Playas de San Javier,
they took an emphatic victory against Lokrians Beach Club in the third-place play-off. These nuisance new-comers may not have gone all the way in their first Euro Winners Cup campaigns, but they certainly upset some of the veteran beach soccer squads, and stamped a mark on the 2019 edition. Who knows what they’ll come back with next year? We still have to wait some months to find out... There you have it, The Euro Winners Cup is over for another year, but you just know that the next edition will be bigger and better than ever. But for now, all hail the kings and queens of Europe: SC Braga and AIS Playas de San Javier!
30 - THE INTERVIEW
WHAT WERE YOU DOING AT 14…? MARTA STAALFELDT (NOMME KALJU)
eet Marta Staalfeldt, the towering number nine of Nomme Kalju, Estonia’s female representation at the competition.
Marta was the youngest player at the Euro Winners Cup 2019 and, at the age of just 14, she competed against some of beach soccer’s best players from across the world. Born in Tallinn, Estonia on 2 December 2004, Marta is currently just 14 years old and the youngest out of the 910 players to compete in this year’s Euro Winners Cup. “I’ve missed a lot of school to be here.” Marta admits, sheepishly, but with a hint of mischievous enjoyment. “I play with the Estonian national U17 football team too, and then I have my club’s trainings on top of that. I have been out of school for a very long time.” she laughs. At such a young age, competing so regularly, and at a high level, must take its toll on aspects of life such as education. Marta nods in agreement. “Actually, every day I’m here I have to study. I’ve brought work with me because I was already very behind. I have just sent an essay about a book that I was struggling with because, to be honest, I didn’t have time to read it!” On top of that, Marta actually needs special permission to play
football. “You need to be 15 or over to play for my team and I’m only 14. The coach who can give special permission didn’t choose me last year and I was really mad, but it motivated me to work harder.” Despite her age, Marta already has an impressive amount of international experience, having lived in Spain for two years, where she picked up Spanish. “I also speak English, Russian and a bit of Portuguese and Italian… and Estonian of course!” She is also already an seasoned athlete on football fields of all terrains, having represented her country on grass, and despite her age, she is a towering figure, tall enough to beat the majority of adult defenders to a header. Here journey to the Euro Winners started when she appeared in a promotion video for Catania edition in 2016. Marta had expressed interest in playing beach soccer with Nomme Kalju to Getulio Aurelio Fredo, the experienced Brazilian coach of the Estonian club. “I was mad that I couldn’t play and when I told Getulio, he said to me, ‘one day you will be here yourself’.” But how was her first experience playing the Euro Winners Cup?
Cristiano, Hamilton, Marta Silva and Balotelli, her idols
32 - THE INTERVIEW
“The games were really tough. The level is very high but, to be honest, I was expected even higher. The first game in particular was difficult. I was so nervous because it was my first competitive beach soccer game. I was excited as well, but we lost like, 12-0.” She smiles, “I still enjoyed it though.” “Playing on the sand really helps me build my stamina when on grass, because I’m tired after just two minutes of running.” “I’m a striker and as we spent a lot of the first games just defending, I didn’t see much of the ball and didn’t have much chance to attack. It was a bit frustrating, but on the other hand, I had to defend so I learnt a lot.” “We couldn’t train as much as we would have liked because it was snowing a lot in Estonia, that’s why we came early to practise as much as we could.“ The Nomme Kalju squad has developed quite a reputation for being the youngest at the Euro Winners Cup, and it seems that, despite failing to take a victory in their campaign in Nazaré, that the girls had a great time. “We all play football together so we know everything about each other. Everyone gets on really well. It’s awesome.” Regarding the venue of the competition, she can only highlight how great it feels to be there: “We love it in Nazaré because the weather is really nice and it’s an opportunity to go away with the team and compete.” She admitted that the Portuguese star, Madjer, was her favourite beach soccer player, but which of the opponents she faced made the biggest impression on the young attacker? “The toughest player I’ve played against in Nazaré was the number eight for Terracina, Noele Bastos. She was just so strong and fast.” What about sporting idols in general? “Cristiano Ronaldo, Lewis Hamilton, Marta Silva and Mario Balotelli.” She lists without hesitation. “Everyone seems to hate Balotelli but I think I’m kind of similar to him. When I lose, I get really angry. If someone tells me something that I don’t want to hear then I might just blow. But maybe I’m a bit more controlled than him.” she grins. When it comes to the future, it’s hard for someone so young to know what they’ll be doing in a year’s time, but Marta seems to know what she wants. “I would love to come back to Nazaré. I’m so young and right now there are players who are physically better than me because they are older than me. My motivation is a little bit down, because this isn’t in my control, but we’ll see. But what drives me is that I want to be the best.” Big ambitions for such a young talent. Who knows, maybe we’ll be seeing a lot more of the Estonian forward in the near future.
She is actually too young to legally play football in Estonia
34 - THE INTERVIEW
“I LOVE BEACH SOCCER BECAUSE IT IS FOCUSED ON THE GOAL” HUGO ALMEIDA
mongst the hundreds of players taking part in the Euro Winners Cup, one of the most well-know faces for the football fans worldwide was that of the Portuguese striker Hugo Almeida, with more than 300 matches at the highest level under his belt.
Unfortunately, due to the fact that during the World Winners Cup in Alanya he will be right in the middle of the football season, we will not have the chance to enjoy his terrifically physical play in the worldwide clubs competition.
With a long and prolific career in football, having played for teams such as Oporto, Werder Bremen, Besiktas, Cesena, Hannover or AEK Athens, amongst others, Almeida is a passionate fan (and player when he has the chance) of beach soccer.
It takes place in Turkey, a country in which Almeida is very well known after his three magnificent years with Besiktas, scoring 37 goals.
During the season, Almeida plays for Académica Coimbra but during the Euro Winners Cup he was taking a break after the Portuguese Championship had finished some weeks before. This summer he enrolled in his local team AD Buarcos, to take part in this year’s competition and test himself against the most important players in the World. “It feels great to be on the sand and to have the opportunity to play at this level, against the best teams on the continent. He is no stranger to beach soccer, though, as it is a sport he has grown up with, he has, “always played beach soccer, in my village since I was a little child, and I keep playing every time I have the chance.” Having tested himself in the harshest of battlegrounds in the world of football, including the Champions League, the FIFA World Cup and the Uefa Euro, fighting the toughest defenders in football, the challenge of facing the world’s beach soccer elite at the Euro Winners Cup felt like a great opportunity to him. A challenge in which he knew that things would not work like they did on the grass. “Beach Soccer is totally different. The sand makes everything very difficult, and I am still trying to adapt my style of play. It is key to keep the ball in the air, and that makes everything different for a football player”. “One of the things I love about beach soccer is that it is focused on the goal. Its main aim is to attack, and you see lots of goals. This is what makes it so special. Moreover, you have the acrobatics, the bicycle kicks and the volleys, the technique involved in every move... It is truly amazing”, Almeida highlighted.
“It is going to be an amazing competition, I am sure. And Turkey is a great place for it. I love the country and I love its people. Unfortunately, I cannot participate but I know that my beach soccer team, Buarcos, is planning to go. And if they go, it means that a part of me is there too.”, Hugo explained. He also looks forward to the Euro Beach Soccer League Superfinal, which will be held at his hometown, Figueira da Foz. “I am sure that will be a phenomenal venue, as the passion for football and beach soccer there is just incredible, and the people are wonderful. I cannot imagine a better venue. I will definitely come and watch this year and, maybe in the future, after my footballing career is over, I can take part in it as a full-time beach soccer player...” Who knows... Might we see him at the front of Portugal’s attacking line some time soon? We would love that!
Portuguese football star Hugo Almeida enjoyed the Euro Winners Cup with his hometown team AD Buarcos
36 - INSIDE BEACH SOCCER
“For me, Nazaré was the perfect place to propose”
EURO WINNER R
eal Munster’s Gabriel Mohagheghi proposed to his girlfriend Parandosh during the Euro Winners Cup in Nazaré.
“I chose to propose here because Nazaré is a beautiful place and, of course, I’m a beach soccer player and beach soccer is my passion.
Beach soccer has been bringing people together for years and Nazaré seems to be the perfect place for it, a place where our beautiful sport meets love.
I actually don’t usually play, as I am the coach, but when my team needs a player I play as the goalkeeper.”
The Portuguese costal town has seen several love stories in the past but at the 2019 Euro Winners Cup, Nazaré witnessed its first marriage proposal!
Despite playing between the posts, Gabriel managed to get on the scoresheet in the two games following the proposal; not bad for a goalkeeper, right?
Real Munster goalkeeper, Gabriel Mohagheghi, picked the special moment to pop the question to his now-fiancé, just before one of his team’s (Real Munster) match.
The fact that Parandosh, Gabriel’s new wife-to-be, said yes clearly gave him that extra attacking boost. The event in Nazaré obviously means a lot to the couple. “The
RS LOVE Euro Winners Cup is a very special event. The organisation is perfect and a very nice environment for beach soccer.
But back to the love story: how and where did Gabriel and Parandosh paths first cross?
This is the first year in the Euro Winners for my team [Real Munster] but we want to come back.”
“We met in Germany but I am also from Iran.” Parandosh explains. “I have lived in Germany for five years and Gabriel for 15. At the minute I’m studying there.”
Gabriel Mohagheghi is from Iran, but he has lived in Germany for many years. His team is his project and his passion. “Real Munster is my team. I sponsor the team, I coach the team. I am very happy with the young squad. We’ve come here and played against big side such as CSKA Moscow and Perwez, a very good team from Belgium team, and we had some very tight games.”
“We have been together from six months.” Gabriel adds, and then stops to think a little. “No, seven!” They look at each other and laugh. Beach soccer, like many sports where two sides contest, has its confrontational aspects, but it is moments like this one between the newly-engaged couple that reminds you of the companionship that the sport provides to so many.
38 - THE INTERVIEW
“BEACH SOCCER WILL HELP ME BECOME A BETTER GOALKEEPER” PHALLON TULLIS
t is easy to catch sight of Phallon Tullys Joyce on the beach soccer pitch. Not only because of her close to 190cm height, but also because of her prowess between the sticks. A key part of the Stade De Reims football team that brilliantly secured promotion to Division 1 (France’s Women’s Top Division), the North-American goalkeeper also showed great capabilities in beach soccer, being named the best goalkeeper in the competition. Whatever highlights clip you watched about any of the Stade de Reims games in Nazaré, there she was, putting on a show with amazing saves and adding a especial touch to the spectacle on display. After joining Stade de Reims last summer from the University of Miami, where she graduated in Marine Science and Biology, Phallon’s only aim is to grow as a goalkeeper, make the most of her career, and attain what she calls “my ultimate dream”: getting into the US Soccer Women’s Soccer team. Actually, she is no stranger to the Stars-and-Stripes kit, as she took part in a training camp with the Under 23 US Soccer Team, in California, and is looking forward to rejoining the national team in the near future. This year, together with some of her teammates from Stade de Reims, including beach soccer ambassador and 2018 and 2019 top scorer Melissa Gomes, she has dived into beach soccer, taking part in the 2019 Euro Winners Cup, and she is enjoying every second of it. She quickly spotted the differences the sport has with regular football: “Definitely, the reaction time is way shorter. Not only because of the dimensions of the pitch, but also because of the sand, which can change everything in one second. You need to be ready at all times”. Despite the difficulties it entails, especially for goalkeepers, Phallon immediately fell in love with beach soccer, and looks forward to
progressing further in the game and, specifically, “making the most of beach soccer to become a better goalkeeper”. In a near future, she sees herself developing her career in Europe. “I will go wherever is better for my career”, she admits. And, definitely, she will keep playing beach soccer whenever she has the chance to, because “it’s so fun!” Maybe soon we will see Phallon become the new Hope Solo. We certainly hope so! Either way, beach soccer will always have played a part in her success!
Phallon, best goalkeeper in the competition, was one of Stade de Reimsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s stars
40 - PREVIEW
THE EURO BEACH SOCCER LEAGUE IS BACK 2
019 marks a busy year for the beach soccer nations of Europe. The World Beach Games Qualifiers in Salou, the Europeans Games in Minsk, the UEFA Qualifiers for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, and of course, the Euro Beach Soccer League.
The 2018 title was clinched in dramatic fashion by Italy, who downed their Mediterranean rivals, Spain after a dramatic penalty shootout. Since last year, La Roja have tested themselves on another global stage, competing in their debut appearance in the Intercontinental Cup in Dubai, and after such a busy season, the Joaquin Alonso’s men will be well-oiled and raring to go. The 2019 edition of the Euro Beach Soccer League consists of two regular stages (Nazaré, Portugal and Catania, Italy) and the Superfinal and Promotion Final will be held in Figueira da Foz in Portugal. The first stage kicks off in Nazaré on 5 July, where eight Division A teams have been split into two groups. In Group 1, hosts Portugal
will compete against Poland, Ukraine and Switzerland, while in Group 2 Azerbaijan, Turkey, Spain and Russia will fight for as many points as they can, acknoledging that the access to the Promotion Final is not an easy one, either.
The promotion hopeful are: Romania, Serbia, Greece and Finland (Group 1) as well as Kazakhstan, England, Czech Republic and Netherlands (Group 2), and Hungary, Moldova, Estonia and Lithuania (Group 3).
There will also be one group of four Division B teams (Denmark, Georgia, Bulgaria and Norway) battling it out on the Portuguese coast, each with aspirations of winning promotion to the top flight.
The seven best teams from Division A, plus Portugal as the hosts, will qualify for the Euro Beach Soccer League Superfinal.
The next stage will land in Catania between 15 and 17 August.
The winners of each group in Division B, plus the best three second-ranked sides will fight, together with the lowest-ranked team in Division A, in the Promotion Final.
Hosts Italy will be entertaining Division A rivals, Belarus France and Germany, while 12 Division B teams will fight for a place at the Promotion Final, which will take place alongside the Superfinal in Figueira da Foz (5-8 September).
Who do you think will earn a place amongst the European elite for the 2020 season? Can the Azzurri pull off the impossible and hold on to their title for anther year? Or does a new victor wait in the wings?
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THE ROAD TO PARAGUAY MEXICO AND US CLINCH FIFA WORLD CUP SPOTS IN PUERTO VALLARTA!
SA made a dramatic return to the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup after a six-year absence from the competition, as Mexico won the Concacaf Beach Soccer Championships on home sand. in the beautiful Puerto Vallarta. Ten of the 16 participating teams have now been decided with the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Paraguay now just a matter of months away. The latest sides to join the fray were Mexico and USA after they reached the final of the 2019 Concacaf Beach Soccer Championship Puerto Vallarta. After six years of failing to make the cut, the USA are back. The Americans will have ambitions of making it further than the group stages in this edition in Paraguay, and they kicked off their
comeback campaign with a confidence-boosting thrashing of firsttimers, Bonaire. Downing adversaries one by one, they made it to the final unbeaten, to face their Mexican hosts. At this point, the main objective of both teams had been achieved, as they had filled the two positions at the global showdown in Paraguay, but the opportunity of taking victory in the final and going home with a trophy couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be turned down. Nick Perera, the tournamentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s top scorer with 13, got the final underway with the first goal right at the end of the first period. It took a while for the Mexicans to hit back, but when they did, they hit hard. Halfway through the third and final period, Mosco struck to equalise for Mexico, and from then on it was one-way traffic as
USA, back in the World Cup after missing out in 2017
the hosts scored six before the final whistle blew. Perera scored a second for the US, but at 6-2 victory went to the hosts, who lifted the Concacaf trophy in Puerto Vallarta. This means that Mexico reach their third consecutive FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, their sixth in total. Back in 2007, they made it all the way to the final where they were beaten by hosts Brazil. Can they dream of going a step further this year? The World Cup kicks off on 21 November with only one continental qualifier yet to be played: Moscow (Russia), will see the last five contenders seal they ticket to Paraguay, with the European Qualifier taking place between 19 and 27 July.
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Just one single goal made the difference at the OFC continental qualifiers
OFC NATIONS CUP 2019
TIKI TOA KEEP REIGNING IN OCEANIA O
ceania giants Tahiti edged past their fiercest Pacific rivals Solomon Islands in a tense and high quality title decider at OFC Beach Soccer Nations Cup 2019 in Tahiti, to secure qualification for their fifth consecutive FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. Five teams took part in the continental showpiece, with the Tiki Toa claiming a new crown, followed by Solomon Islands. New Caledonia surprised Vanuatu in the fight for the last step of the podium and Tonga closed the standings. The final of the competition showcased how tight the competition were between the two best teams in the region. Bilikiki unsettled the Tahitians who were unable to find their trademark aerial rhythm in the opening stages. Playing in his last international, a fired up James Naka led from the front for Solomon Islands, scrapping for every ball. The outstanding Kwai Island trio of forward Max Fa’ari and the formidable back pair of Allen Farobo and Roy Mafane, were immense in defense and dangerous on the break. The few chances that Tiki Toa had were largely off target and the atmosphere grew more tense as the teams went to the break all square. Midway through the second half, Solomon Islands silenced the expectant local crowd, when a sensational counter attack and finish from Farobo gave Bilikiki the lead, and a dramatic upset looked on the cards. Patrick Tepa’s free kick got things back on an even keel for Naea Bennett’s side, and moments later, there was relief all around Parc Aorai Tini Hau when Heiarii Tavanae finished neatly, after Teaonui Tehau’s long ranger came back off the bar. Tavanae had his second with an angled drive past veteran Fred Hale, but Gideon Omokirio’s side stayed in touch when McPhillip Aisa slotted home after an uncharacteristic distribution error by Jonathan Torohia. Moments later came perhaps the defining moment of the final – when Solomon Islands forward Nicholas Muri’s shot towards an empty net bounced off team mate Kiven Koipala, away to safety. Moments later Heimanu Taiurui volleyed home to restore the two goal cushion for Tiki Toa and the game looked safe for Naea’s Bennet side. In the dying seconds however, Mafane finished off a rapid counter attack, scoring for the fifth consecutive match.Tahiti were then able to count down the clock, enabling the 1500-strong crowd to launch the celebrations.
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Japanese star Ozu, named MVP of the competition, lead his team to Paraguay
THE ROAD TO PARAGUAY
JAPAN, UAE AND OMAN HEAD TO THE WORLD CUP T
he AFC qualifiers saw Oman seal only their third participation in the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup after being taken right to the wire by Palestine, who were chasing a debut appearance, in the third-place play-off. They will represent the Asian continent on the global stage along with Japan and UAE, who make their 14th and sixth appearances. The 2019 edition of the AFC Beach Soccer Championship took place between March 9-17. The continental showdown saw the top teams of Asia come together in Pattaya, Thailand to contest the chance to appear at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. There were three available berths up for grabs and a total of 15 teams, split into four groups. The FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2019 will take place in the Paraguayan capital, Asuncion, and is set to begin 21 November. 11 of the 16 participating teams have been decided with the main event now just a matter of months away. There are just the five teams who will represent Europe to decide in the UEFA qualifiers which are scheduled to take place from 16 July in Moscow. One of the shocks of the AFC Beach Soccer Championship Thailand 2019 was the exit of Iran from the running to compete in the World Cup, after they lost to Japan in the quarter-finals. The Intercontinental Cup champions were denied their eighth appearance by an extra time strike from Takuya Akaguma, who won Japan their semi-final match up against Palestine. Japan and UAE had cruised through the group stages, quarterfinals and semi-finals unbeaten to clinch their tickets to Paraguay, but when they met in the final, there could only be one winner. It was a close affair though, Komaki and Ozu put Japan in control but the UAE dragged themselves back into the tie with two goals in two minutes, forcing extra time and then penalties. Ruy Ramosâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; men kept calm to win the shootout and claim the Asian title for a third time. There was heartbreak for the Palestinians though, as they came agonisingly close to securing their first participation at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, but were denied by Oman from the penalty spot. As the world prepares for the biggest beach soccer show of all, eyes now turn to Moscow as Europeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s teams prepare to do battle once more.
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THE ROAD TO PARAGUAY
BRAZIL STAY ON TOP. THE CHARRÚA ARE BACK A
fter an absence of ten long years, Uruguay battled past their South American rivals to make the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Paraguay 2019. They will join Brazil and Paraguay as the CONMEBOL representation at the global showpiece, which is set to take place in the Paraguayan capital, Asuncion, in November of this year. There were three CONMEBOL spots at the World Cup up for grabs but as Paraguay had already qualified as the host nation, if the Albirroja finished among the top two teams, the nation that finished third would qualify instead. The qualifiers took place between 28 April and 5 May in Brazil, and the hosts stormed through the competition to hold on to their continental crown, and take the first step towards retaining their world title. The tournament consisted of ten teams split into two groups. In Group A, Brazil were joined by Uruguay, Ecuador, Colombia and Bolivia, while in Group B hosts of the 2019 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, Paraguay, took on Argentina, Venezuela, Peru and Chile. Brazil started their campaign by downing Bolivia 11-1, then a tighter match against Colombia saw them win by a four-goal cushion. They put another 11 goals past Ecuador but still had to face their as-of-yet unbeaten groupmates. Uruguay had a bumpier ride to the semi-finals, first beating Colombia by eight goals to five, scraping past Ecuador by a single goal and then seeing off Bolivia in their penultimate match. The two would-be finalists then met on the final day of the group stages, where Brazil came out on top with a 9-1 win. In Group B, meanwhile, the World Cup hosts Paraguay, like Brazil, had gone undefeated in their opening matches, as had Argentina, despite some very close matches, and when the two met in the group decider, Paraguay took a decisive victory, scoring nine goals to Argentina’s three. In the semi-final match-ups, Brazil beat Argentina by the same amount as their Paraguayan counterparts had, to reach the final and secure their place at the FIFA World Cup for yet another year, while Uruguay edged Paraguay by a single goal to make their triumphant return to beach soccer’s biggest showdown of all. Paraguay came in third place, beating Argentina in a tight playoff, while Brazil didn’t hold back against their fellow World Cup attendees, scoring ten to retain another South American crown. Can they retain the world title too?
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WORLD BEACH GAMES QUALIFIERS
QATAR AWAITS EUROPE R
ussia’s men and England’s women take qualifier crown as six teams reach the World Beach Games
The men and women of Spain sealed spots for their teams in the home event in Salou, while the Russian men and English women lift the trophies in Salou. After fighting their way to the top of the continent’s best beach soccer teams, four men’s national selections, and two women’s, have qualified to represent Europe at the World Beach Games. The four European men’s berths were won by Spain, Italy, Russia and Switzerland, while the two women’s places will be occupied by England and Spain.
The World Beach Games are set to take place between 12 and 16 October and, following a lack of sponsorship, the venue has been moved from San Diego (USA) to Doha, Qatar. ANOC Secretary General, Gunilla Lindberg said: “We are delighted to have established a partnership with the highly experienced team at the Qatar Olympic Committee, backed up with the enthusiastic support of the Qatar government.” Making it to the semi-finals was the main goal for the men’s national teams of Europe, as a place in the final four would be enough to secure them a ticket to Qatar. The fifth place in Salou still did not secure the ticket to the World Beach Games. However, the chance of silverware could not be turned down.
EAN SIDES AFTER SALOU The competition kicked off in a Round of 16 format, but 16 quickly became eight as the first teams were eliminated in the head-to-heads. The quarter-finals then cut the hopefuls in half once more, where Switzerland beat one of the favourites Portugal, Italy put ten past France, Russia breezed past Ukraine and Spain dealt a decisive defeat to Belarus.
by a single goal in their semi-final match-up. It was an equally thin margin that saw the Russians deny their hosts in the final, winning the match by five goals to four to lift the trophy. They also claimed one of the individual awards, as Maksim Chuzkov was handed the Best Goalkeeper prize.
These four victories achieved qualification to the Games for these sides.
The MVP award went to Spaniard Llorenรง Gomez, while the Top Scorer was Gabriele Gori (ITA) who scored 12.
In the semi-finals, a replay of the Euro Beach Soccer League final saw Spain take revenge on their Italian counterparts to make the final against Russia, who just squeezed past a stubborn Swiss side
On a side-note, there still remains a small glimmer of hope to the sides eliminated in the quarter-finals, as the team that finished the qualifier in fifth place, would play a deciding match against the
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ngland and Spain (Women), nd Italy, Russia, Switzerland and Spain will be in Qatar
side that will finish the South American qualifier in third. The winner of this match, for which the date is yet to be set, will earn the final place at the World Beach Games for their continent. All this meant that the matches between Belarus and France, and Portugal and Ukraine, were no ordinary play-offs… Belarus saw off the French by five goals to three, but Mario Narciso’s Portugal slipped up once again, finding themselves on the wrong side of an identical scoreline against Ukraine, who made it to the fifth-place showdown, where they beat Belarus 5-2 on the final day in Salou. The Ukrainians will now have to wait to see which South American side they will have to vanquish if they want to take that final step to Qatar. The women’s competition took several twists and turns on its way to naming the continents representatives. A bad start for England’s ladies, which saw them lose to Czech Republic (who finished bottom the qualifier group), was turned around in the final two matches where they managed to do just enough to claim the title. They sealed their place in Qatar with a dramatic final match against Russia, who had opened the scoring to take the lead. However, the lionesses struck back and kept pace with the reigning Europeans champions and eventually, one of 2018’s best three players Molly Clark, belted in the winner to claim the trophy just minutes from time. It was a similar story for the Spanish ladies, who defeated Switzerland in their final match to make up for two initial losses. They join La Roja’s men who qualified earlier in the men’s competition. There were dazzling individual performances to be rewarded, and Carla Morera (ESP) took home the MVP trophy, as England’s Hannah Haughton was awarded the Best Goalkeeper award . Instead, the Top Scorer was split three ways between Andrea Miron (ESP), Sarah Kempson (ENG) and Veronica Pilovskova (CZE) after each netted five. As a result of their triumph in Salou, England’s ladies move to the top of the European ranking. However, the season is still young, and the lionesses have more trophies in their sights…
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AFRICAN BEACH GAMES
SENEGAL, MOROCCO AND CAPE VERDE HEAD TO QTAR S
enegal take another African title as they join Morocco in representing the African continent at the World Beach Games in Qatar. In the women’s competition, Cape Verde played and won two matches against Algeria to clinch their ticket to Qatar. Senegal had breezed through the African Qualifiers for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup back in December, joining Nigeria as the continent’s teams heading to Paraguay after both sides made it to the final. As well as their qualification, Senegal retained the African Beach Soccer Cup of Nations in Egypt and showed similar dominance in the first ever edition African Beach Games,. The Games were organised by the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) and took place between June 19 and 23 on the island of Sal, Cape Verde. Eight of the top men’s teams in Africa fought for two spots at the World Beach Games in Qatar. In Group A, hosts Cape Verde were drawn alongside Morocco, Algeria and Equatorial Guinea, while Group B saw the reigning African champions Senegal challenged by Nigeria, Kenya and Djibouti. Meanwhile, the two women’s teams, Algeria and Cape Verde, fought over a single place in Qatar. With a 20-3 aggregate score, it was the hosts who saw off their north African rivals in convincing style to join the only other women’s national teams to have qualified so far, England and Spain, in the World Beach Games. In the men’s competition, Nigeria and Senegal took two victories in their opening matches in Group B, one of which saw the Sand Eagles net an incredible 29 goals against Djibouti, 11 of which came from their star player Abu Azeez, to make the semi-finals. But Nigeria and Senegal had to test their metal against each other in the final group game, in a replay of the African Cup of Nations final. Senegal just came out on top, winning by four goals to three to earn a final four match-up against Cape Verde, who they despatched 1-6. The hosts had lost only to Morocco from the penalty spot in their Group A campaign, but the north Africans went undefeated all the way to the final, including an impressive 5-2 defeat of Nigeria to knock them out of the competition in the semi-finals. In the deciding showdown, Morocco met the Lions, and Senegal showed just why they were back-to-back winners of the African title, seeing off the Moroccans by four goals to one. If the first year was anything to go by, it is clear that we can expect great things to come from future editions of the African Beach Games!
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SC BRAGA RULE THE WORLD
THE EWC CHAMPIONS EXTED THEIR DOMI
n February, the sixth edition of the Mundialito de Clubes found a new and alternative home as it touched down in the Megasports Sport Palace in the Russian capital. Moscow in winter? Doesn’t sound like the most suitable place for a beach soccer tournament, right?
semi-finals and then the winners would dispute the final. In Group A was Spartak Moscow, CR Flamingo, FC Bate Borisov and Sporting CP, while in Group B the contenting teams were BSC Lokomotiv, Domusbet Catania, Levante UD and SC Braga.
That’s why the 2019 tournament, which took place between 27 February and 3 March, was the first edition of Mundiallito de Clubes to be played indoors.
Two-time champions BSC Lokomotiv were looking to retain their crown, and with Llorenç Gomes, 2018 World’s Best Player, in their ranks, and the fact that this edition was in their home city, they had a good shot.
Eight competing teams were split into two groups. The teams who finished in the top two positions of the groups would pass to the
However, this year, Lokomotiv didn’t even make it out of the group stages, finishing behind Braga, Catania and Levante, after dropping
a point in their only victory, which went to extra time.
Domusbet Catania of Italy.
Braga and Catania went through to the semi-finals from Group B, while in Group A, a perfect run by hosts Spartak Moscow, and two wins for CR Flamengo, saw the Russian and Brazilian sides make the cut.
The Final It took just 20 seconds for the score to be opened in the final, when Leo Martins jumped to volley a throw-in past Sydorenko. The early blow didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t seem to faze Domusbet Catania, as just a minute later, the Ukrainian international keeper had his revenge when a deflected long shot made the Braga net ripple and the teams were level once more.
SC Braga cruised into the final with a 4-0 victory over Flamengo in the semi-finals, but Catania had a tougher route, as a stubborn Spartak forced penalties after a 4-4 draw, where the Italians managed to edge the local side. The decider was set: Portugalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s SC Braga against Italian side,
In an action-packed opening minute or so, Jordan then struck a fine free-kick to hand Braga the advantage once more and then, in a bizarre set of events, Gentilin lost control of a weak Be Martins shot
58 - QUARTERLY REVIEW to practically walk it into his own net. Things went from bad to worse for Catania, as a cheeky Leo Martins backheel saw Antonio Torres’ men extend the lead to 1-4. Late in the first period Bryshtel had the chance to bring Catania back to just two behind from the penalty spot but Rafael Padilha read his intentions and kept the shot out, just in time for the first klaxon to sound. With a comfortable lead, Braga entered the second period full of confidence. However, it was Catania who found the net first, when Bryshtel made up for his earlier penalty miss by intercepting a throw from Padilha to hit a first time shot past the bewildered goalkeeper. Then Lucao cut the deficit to just one goal with a diving header at the far post, scoring his 12th goal of the tournament. Bokinha converted a free-kick to restore the Braga lead but Catania were proving hard to shake off for the European and Portuguese champions. Be Martins had the chance to make it six when he rounded the keeper to face an open net, but Bokach threw himself in front of the shot, blocking it with his chest as Sydorenko breathed a sigh of relief. Gentilin made amends for his earlier own goal by scoring a freekick, but his joy was short lived as Bruno Xavier powered in an unstoppable effort directly from the kick off. At 4-6, the two-goal cushion remained intact as the second whistle went. There were just 12 minutes left for Catania to catch up with the Portuguese rivals, and it took six for the Italian side to score, as a Bokach shot made Braga’s slim advantage even slimmer. No sooner had Filipe restored the two-goal lead, when Zurlo netted a sublime volley. It was only the acrobatics of Padilha that kept Braga in front pulling off the save of the tournament with just 30 seconds on the clock. The slender advantage remained intact as the final whistle blew and SC Braga threw their arms in the air in ecstasy, another trophy in the bag. After the initial celebrations it was time for the awards ceremonies. SC Braga players Be Martins and Rafael Padilha picked up the individual awards for MVP and Best Goalkeeper, while Domusbet Catania’s Lucao accepted the award for Top Scorer with 12 goals. Portuguese, European and now Mundialito champions, who will stop SC Braga?
In 2019, the Mundialito explored new dimensions
62 - INSIDE BEACH SOCCER
LALIGA & BSWW SIGN AN AGREEMENT OF GLOBAL COLLABORATION
LaLiga will be present at all BSWW events internationally
aLiga becomes an Official Global Partner of Beach Soccer Worldwide, organizer of professional beach soccer on an international scale, in an agreement that extends until the end of the 2020/2021 season. With the aim of promoting the international reach of the brand, LaLiga will receive maximum visibility in the competitions organized by BSWW all over the world. The presence of LaLiga at international events, with a large global audience, will provide new opportunities for expansion for their clubs, as well as the ability to reach new audiences. As a part of this agreement, LaLiga also become the nationwide
broadcaster of all competitions organized by Beach Soccer Worldwide, through LaLigaSportsTV, the OTT of Spanish sport. LaLiga will offer, through its variety of channels, beach soccer content, both audiovisual and editorial, in order to inform its followers on the developments within the sport, with special attention given to the Spanish teams and players, as well as the Spanish National Team. The collaboration agreement began in February, and the presence of LaLiga was already immediately visible in the Mundialito de Clubes, held between February 27th and March 3rd 2019, at the Megasport Sport Palace in Moscow. This event boasted the presence
of Levante UD, national beach soccer champions and Spanish representative. Along with the Levantista, Lokomotiv Moscow also fought for the title, as well as Sporting Clube de Portugal, Brazil’s Flamengo, Belarusians Bate Borisov, the Italian side Catania, current European champions SC Braga from Portugal, as well as Spartak Moscow, who were the hosts of the competition. Javier Tebas, president of LaLiga, hailed the agreement, stating that “beach soccer offers a great opportunity for us to continue supporting the sport and offer them a way for their audiovisual content to reach as many fans as possible. “Not only is it a sport that is part of the great football family, but it
is also a young and fresh game, through which we can reach new audiences.” Joan Cuscó, president of BSWW, said that “for us it is a great satisfaction and a source of pride to have LaLiga as a travel companion, since few sports brands enjoy the prestige and presence that LaLiga holds in the community of football fans at an international, global scale. “Going hand in hand with the best national football competition that exists in the world today is something of great value to us, and we are convinced that both parties will be very happy with the performance of this agreement.“
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Brazilian star Thiago Henrique was named Best Player in the competition
NASSC 2019 - US OPEN
U BEACH SOCCER CLUB & MD BSC REIGN IN 26TH US OPEN V
irginia experienced, once again, an unforgettable beach soccer festival this June, with the 26th annual North American Sand Soccer Championships - US Open. For a whole weekend, Virginia Beach hosted thousands of beach soccer players, fans and families to put together a truly awesome sporting spectacle. The U Beach Soccer Club from Tampa, with former US international Gio Garcia and international stars such as Uruguayan Dinamo Pampero Sobral and Brazilian Thyago, upset Great Lakes Beach Soccer in the final to grasp their first US Open title. Thiago Henrique, who won the MVP award, helped get the “U” into an early lead when he scored a couple of minutes into the first period. Despite the early advantage, things were not settled for the Florida-based side, as the U had to survive a last minute comeback and held their nerve to clinch the trophy. In the fight for third place, the Tacoma stars, featuring some of US Soccer’s international players, such as CONCACAF top scorer Nick Perera, goalkeeper Cris Toth, Tanner Akol and Dos Santos, amongst others, bent the defending champions Maryzillians with an comfortable 5-2 win. In the Women’s competition, MD BSC takes the Women’s US Open trophy, after dethroning defending champions Shoreline Beach Soccer team to take their first Women’s US Open. Instead, hosts HRSC Elite managed to take the bronze medal on home soil. Matt Whalen, the Director of Operations at NASSC, is still amazed at how the event continues to grow. “We’re surprised every year. The biggest bonus for us is how many local families are involved with it because it’s a benefit to the Hampton Roads soccer complex. We have a huge retention rate for our teams, but you bring in new ones every year because every one’s a part of the excitement.”
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The event keeps growing in China, looking forward to next season already
CFA BELT & ROAD INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP HAIKOU
PORTUGAL TAKE DEBUT TITLE IN CHINA F
irst-timers Portugal took the CFA Belt and Road International Beach Soccer Championship Haikou 2019 by storm as they cruised to a perfect campaign in Haikou. Another tournament, another trophy for the Portuguese, who brilliantly lifted the CFA Belt and Road International Beach Soccer Championship trophy in their first appearance in the competition, even without losing one single game in the whole weekend. The event took place between 24 and 26 April in Haikou, a city which sits on the island of Hainan, in the South China Sea, one of the most important tourist destinations in the country. Undeterred by their new-comer status, the Portuguese averaged almost ten goals per game, and the former world champions saw off a spirited England side, who were also participating in their first year, on the final day. After managing a three-point win against their hosts in the opeing match of the tournament, the Three Lions finished the contest in second. As well as Portugal and England, the four-team tournament was completed by hosts China and the returning Czech Republic. Mario Narciso’s men wasted no time in exerting their dominance over Czech Republic in their opening match, netting ten to shoot straight to the top of the group, while England beat China to go level on points after day one. On day two, it was a second decisive win for Portugal against China, while England lost in a penalty shootout to Czech Republic, who salvaged a point but dropping two precious ones would turn out to be costly. The final day witnessed the Portuguese inflict their heaviest defeat on the Three Lions, while Ramiro Amarelle’s Chinese side saw off the Czech visitors by a single goal to take three points, finishing the tournament in third. Madjer claimed the award as the competition’s MVP, while Leo Martins scooped the Top Scorer title, as his personal tally reached nine in just three games. China’s number one Hanying Nan took home the prize for Best Goalkeeper. Another successful year in Haikou offers us yet more evidence of the growth of beach soccer in China, and on the Asian continent. Who knows what the 2020 edition of the CFA Belt and Road International Beach Soccer Championship will hold?
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“Relocatingto the mainland might be an option for others, but not us”
“THE RISING STARS OF A SINKING ISLAND” RAISING CLIMAMTE CHANGE AWARENESS THROUGH BEACH SOCCER
he Kwai Island Beach Soccer Team (Solomon Islands) use their success in the sport to let the world know about the island’s problem.
For many of the older players the birth of the new sport was somewhat odd in the beginning. But they learned to adjust to the changing of the island topography.
When 29-year-old Roy Funusui Mafane stood on the podium to receive the 2016 Solomon Games Beach Soccer Championship trophy and gold medal, he envisioned the future of the sport for him and his boys and the cries of his people for a better future.
Many of the young players are growing up witnessing the changes that are happening to their island home, with the everyday oral history being passed down.
The captain of the beach soccer team from Kwai, a tiny island off the eastern coast of Malaita province in the Solomon Islands said,
With little formal knowledge of global warming and its impacts, many residents didn’t attribute climate change to the loss of their pitch. But they have fought to resist it.
“During the competition I know everybody’s weight is on our shoulders. I told the boys that it is our time to shine. It is our time to prove who we are – the rising stars of a sinking island of Kwai.”
For decades community elders have appealed for assistance from the government in the form of relocation and the building of a sea wall around the island.
Encroaching waters have eaten away at traditional food gardens and homes on Kwai. The situation was exacerbated starting in the mid-1980s when Cyclone Namu washed away trees that held back waves and propped up sand dunes.
Various delegations from the Ministry of Environment and stakeholders including the Malaita provincial government, World Vision, and other non-governmental organisations, have visited the island to conduct research and surveys and host discussions about possible ways to assist the island community in addressing the effects of climate change. But nothing positive was seen coming.
Soon after that the grassy pitch where the island boys played soccer went too, replaced by the white sands that have earned Kwai acclaim. They’ve made the best of the loss of their grass-covered pitch to create a new sport in their homeland -- beach soccer – and are using it to raise awareness about the need to respond and adapt to climate change. Beach soccer isn’t new to the Solomon Islands. It gained popularity in 2006, when the Solomon Islands National Beach Soccer Squad “Bilikiki” was crowned champions of the Oceania Football Confederation’s Beach Soccer Championship and reaching the Beach Soccer World Cup in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. The Solomon Islands reigned for the next five consecutive championships, until Tahiti won the top spot in 2011. But after that year, the Solomon Islands Beach Soccer Championship stopped being organized, and beach soccer’s presence in the country’s sports agenda got lower. But not in Kwai. It arrived there in 2009 and was officially launched in 2015 with support from the Malaita provincial government, the Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF), and the Malaita Football Association (MFA). The following year, in 2016, beach soccer was once again featured in the Solomon Games and the team from Kwai Island emerged victorious – representing Malaita province. Community elders in Kwai decided to take advantage of the spotlight to launch a campaign to address the impacts of climate change on their island. Thus, the slogan “The Rising Stars of a Sinking Island” was born. Carrying the hopes of the people On the sinking island of Kwai, the boys are regarded as the game changers in the fight against climate change.
The beach soccer team was seen as a way to share the island’s story with the world.“The message is clearly stated in the slogan, that we are the rising stars of the sinking island of Kwai,” said player Eric Tom. Through beach soccer and climate change awareness-raising activities, Tom said the team hopes its message can reach the government and lawmakers and prompt them to take action. The success of their campaign has already started bearing fruit. Since 2016, the Kwai Island Beach Soccer team has received widespread support from the Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF), the Malaita Football Association (MFA) and the Malaita provincial government through money, sporting gear and other materials. For the inhabitants of Kwai Island, the changing climate and sea level rise is a reality they deal with daily. In the water there are fewer fish and the island no longer accommodates food gardens. “We are the salt-water,” said Erastus David Mafane, an elder living in the island of Kwai. “Relocating to the mainland might be an option for others, but not us. If we are to be relocated somewhere, that would mean a totally new life and the end of an era for us,” Mafane, 58, said. For now, however, supporters say they’re staking their hopes on the beach soccer team. “We look at them as the voice for the voiceless,” said David Kausimae Iro, a former player and now devoted fan. Earlier this year his hopes were further boosted when five team members joined the Solomon Islands National Beach Soccer team as it prepares for another OFC Beach Soccer Championship scheduled for 2019.
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EURO BEACH SOCCER LEAGUE NAZARÉ 2019
WOMEN’S EURO FIFA BEACH SOCCER BEACH SOCCER CUP WORLD CUP NAZARÉ 2019 EUROPE QUALIFIER MOSCOW 2019
he 2019 Euro Beach Soccer League kickshe fourth edition of the Women’s off in Nazaré, with 12 teams involved (8 European Beach Soccer Cup will land in in Division A and 4 in Division B). the Portuguese resort once more.
The core comnpetition in the European Russia will try to defend their throne Beach Soccer summer never disappoints: a against England, who currently sit atop true thriller from the very first minute. the Women’s European Ranking, while Spain, Switzerland, Netherlands and Czech In the fight for the Superfinal, hosts Portugal, Republic will also be vying for the European Switzerland, Ukraine and Poland will tussle title. in Group 1, while Spain, Russia, Azerbaijan and Turkey will face off in Group 2. A new competition to keep putting Women’s beach soccer growth to the text, Kicking off the Division B action, Bulgaria, in a year that will see, or is actually seeing, Norway, Denmark and Georgia will battle more Women’s competitions than ever for the first chance to qualify for the before. An spectacle not to be missed. Do Promotion Final. not do it.
20 teams will come together in Moscow in the fight for one of the five tickets to Paraguay 2019.
here’s only one stage left in the race to the World Cup, traditionally one of the toughest: The European Qualifier.
After the draw distributed the competitors into five groups of four, the fight is ready to begi at the Russian capital. After the Round of 16, the eight survivors will be distributed again in two groups of four, with the best two-ranked sides securing ticket to the World Cup.The third-ranked sides will square off for the remaining one.
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