BAREFOOT - The Beach Soccer Mag - Issue 11

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EBSL SPECIAL DIGEST The 22nd Euro Beach Soccer League came to its conclusion in Figueira da Foz this past September, crowning Portugal as the kings of the Old Continent for the sixth time in their history. Read all about the continental league in this in-depth review, and remember all those moments that made the 2019 Euro Beach Soccer League another success story in the development of our sport.


INTERVIEW WITH NICO ALVARADO Barefoot sat down with the man behind Belarus’ historical qualification for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, where the Spaniard explained his feelings and what such an emotional moment was like for the team.




Facts and figures about this season’s European championship.



What do the groups for the Paraguay showpiece look like?


BEACH SOCCER STARS: THE NOMINEES On 9 November, Beach Soccer will crown the best of the year. Who are the 50 players and 12 coaches shortlisted for the Beach Soccer Stars awards? Read the full list here.




Once again, the Intercontinental Cup and Beach Soccer Stars will make for a wonderful conclusion to the season.




Moscow hosted the last of the qualifying stages for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Paraguay 2019. Read about that great battle.



This coming October, the World Winners Cup will take place for the first time, involving around 30 clubs (both men and women). Get ready for this new beach soccer showpiece!


Russia retained the European crown in a thrilling showdown in Nazaré that confirmed the amazing growth of women’s beach soccer.



Meet US Soccer Women’s National Team captain, and find out the team’s feelings in this very special season that they are enjoying.

Fly across Europe with us to see how the different National Championships unfolded.



Ever heard of NEOM? You will have soon. Saudi Arabia hosted a very unique and ground-breaking beach soccer event over the summer.



Keep snappin’ your beach soccer world!


KICKING OFF In the beach soccer universe, it is really difficult to find a moment to sit down and reflect, because the ball does not stop rolling! But this is the beauty of our sport, a symptom of its growth, and just as we ended another exciting Euro Beach Soccer League (the 22nd in history) and a successful European season, we are already edging towards the launchpad of the grand finale… Before the Christmas break, we are going to experience one of the most intense two months in the history of the game, showing the ever-growing presence of beach soccer in the global sporting calendar. In just 50 days, we will have as many as five top-class international events, featuring the ANOC World Beach Games, another Olympic experience for all of us, the maiden World Winners Cup, which introduces a new concept to the beach soccer portfolio, a new edition of the Copa Lagos in Nigeria and the prestigious Intercontinental Cup in Dubai, including, of course the Beach Soccer Stars gala. All this, before rounding the 2019 season off with the tenth edition of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, landing in Paraguay in late November. Not a boring agenda ahead, right? In this issue of BAREFOOT: The Beach Soccer Mag, you will find everything you need to know about the busy weeks we are about to dive into, as well as a thorough review of what these past weeks have brought. To give you an even more intimate perspective into the most important moments, we have spoken with their main protagonists to find out their honest thoughts and feelings, all of which are showcased within this issue. We really hope you enjoy the read.

Editorial Director Iñaki Uribarri Editor-in-Chief Matthew Mills Design Director Laura Cuscó Design Manager Adrian Velado Design Manager Assistant Queralt Dotti Photographers Lea Weil Manuel Queimadelos José Manuel Álvarez 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


SALVADORIAN PASSION Beach soccer never fails to fill a stadium to the rafters in El Salvador.


MOMENT OF IMPACT We just love that split second before you hear the “thump” of a perfect bicycle kick sound...


CAPTURING SOMETHING SPECIAL If this is not a perfect beach soccer picture, we don’t know what it is...


RODIN’S THINKER Italy’s Alfio Chiavaro takes his time to reflect on a moment in the game...


KISS ME TENDER You, me, the sunset... What else?



74 GAMES were played in this season’s Euro Beach Soccer League, including both Division A and Division B matches, adding up to 2,688 minutes of beach soccer overall.

566 GOALS were scored in the competition (not including goals scored in penalty kick shootouts) The game between Switzerland and Spain (9-8 to La Roja) on the opening day of the Superfinal was the game which saw the most goals in this season’s Euro beach Soccer League, with 17. The Swiss were actually also protagonists in the game with the second highest number of goals this summer, in their 7-9 defeat to Ukraine in the fight for seventh position.


WITH 13 GOALS Cem Keskin (TUR) was this season’s top scorer, followed by Jordan (POR), Antonio (ESP) and Chiky (ESP), who each scored 10.

135 CARDS were shown during the games of the Euro Beach Soccer League. 126 yellow cards, an average of 1.7 per game, and 9 red cards, an average of one every 8 games, which confirms that beach soccer is all about fair play!




he 2019 edition of the Euro Beach Soccer League saw a new record set in the competition, as Portugal won European title number six, pulling ahead of Spain and Russia who each have five.

Russia may have fallen at the final hurdle in the Superfinal, but they didn’t go home without a trophy, as the heroics of their keeper Maksim Chuzhkov won him the Best Goalkeeper award.

The fact that the Superfinal was held in Figueira Da Foz, guaranteeing thousands of eager Portuguese onlookers, certainly helped Mario Narciso’s men on their mission to reclaim the continental crown that they’d won in Pärnu, Estonia four years ago.

In the battle for bronze, a less intense re-run of the previous year’s Superfinal saw Spain take on Italy, but this year La Roja came out on top clinching third, while a last-minute goal saw Belarus snatch fifth, leaving Turkey in sixth.

Jordan Santos (POR) has been in inspired form for his club and country this year, and deservedly picked up the MVP trophy for the Superfinal, while Zurlo (ITA) and Cem Keskin (TUR) shared the Top Scorer prize after scoring eight goals each.

A heavily depleted Switzerland squad went winless in their time in Figueira Da Foz, but were part of an incredible 16-goal thriller on the final day where they were just edged by Ukraine, who took seventh.

SIXTH EBSL TITLE! The Road to Figueira Da Foz As always in a FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup year, which amid numerous preparations features high-pressure qualifiers taking place all across the globe, there were just two regular Euro Beach Soccer League stages in the 2019 season. With the biggest beach soccer show of all set to be held in Paraguay this November, the regular stage events of the European championships were intense, with the Division A teams just getting one shot at qualifying for the Superfinal. The journey to Figueira Da Foz started just down the Portuguese coast in NazarĂŠ, where both would-be finalists, Portugal and Russia, fought alongside six other Division A sides (Ukraine, Switzerland,

Poland, Spain, Turkey and Azerbaijan) to qualify to the Superfinal. Portugal topped their group, dropping just one point when they were taken to extra time by Switzerland, but Russia were dragged all the way to the penalty spot by Azerbaijan, who ended up scrapping in the Promotion Final, and then lost to Spain on the last day. Luckily for Russia, they had done enough to reach the Superfinal and the form of Mikhail Likhachev’s men picked up on their return to Portugal in September. The other Division A sides to qualify for the Superfinal alongside Portugal and Russia, were Spain, Switzerland, Turkey and Ukraine,


Azerbaijan just squeezed past Kazakhstan to stay in Division A

while Georgia made the Promotion Final, as did Azerbaijan as the lowest ranked side in the top division, where they would have to fight to keep their A status… Next stop on the EBSL tour was Catania, where 12 Division B teams fought for the remaining six spots in the Promotion Final. By the end of the weekend in Sicily the spaces were occupied by Romania, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Kazakhstan and Hungary, after each side managed at least two wins in Italy. The remaining Division A places went to the hosts of the second regular phase event, Italy, as well as Belarus, who just a month before had registered an historic first ever qualification to the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.

The eight Division A teams and eight Division B teams were decided… The final Portugal maintained their unbeaten form through the group stages, seeing off Turkey, Ukraine and the defending champions Italy to make it to the Superfinal, whilst Russia’s shaky play in the regular stages continued when they were beaten from the penalty spot by Belarus in their first game in Figueira Da Foz. They turned their form around though, managing to edge a thriller against La Roja and then sweep aside Switzerland to top the group. The final was set, and it wasn’t that long ago that these sides had

won the Euro Beach Soccer League, Portugal in 2015 and Russia more recently in 2017, but it was clear that this had no effect on their desire, as the match started at top speed.

The hosts created numerous chances but, a lot like Azerbaijan had in the Promotion Final earlier, they wasted them, allowing the Russians to lead way into the second period.

Zemskov looked sure to get Likhachev’s men off the mark when he won an early penalty but the enormous figure of Andrade stood firm and his save saw the local crowd erupt in applause.

Suddenly a breakthrough came, when Leo Martins drove a low shot bouncing off the sand to pull one back moments before the second period finished, but the more time ticked on, the more desperate the players and supporters became.

Moments later, the Russian striker spun away from Coimbra to volley in the opener and the stands fell silent once more. A Makarov freekick made it two before the first break and the Portuguese defence looked leaky.

Then, scorer of the previous day’s wonder goal, Rui Coimbra, headed in an equalizer with six minutes of play left. Not long after, Belchior pounced on a goalkeeping error to nod in the third and Portugal were in front!


Last year’s Superfinal was replayed in the battle for third place

Makarov missed a dangerously-placed freekick and it looked as if luck was on the hosts’ side, and even more so when Leo Martins set his twin brother up with a cheeky backheel to make it four. Two to the good, and just a minute on the clock, Portugal held onto possession and when the final whistle sounded the fans went wild and there was no rushing to leave the stadium as they stayed to watch their heroes receive the continent’s biggest award. The crown of Europe returns to Portugal! Azerbaijan stay up Meanwhile, in the scrap to play top-level beach soccer in the 2020 EBSL season, Azerbaijan took on their neighbours from the other side of the Caspian Sea, Kazakhstan. For Azerbaijan this was a battle to save face and retain their place amongst the continent’s beach soccer elite, while for Kazakhstan it was about rounding off a brilliant season by breaking into Division A for the first time ever. The men from the Land of Fire got their noses ahead when Elshad latched onto a through ball to slip the opening goal past Chornyy. Despite only being one goal behind, Kazakhstan looked to be on the backfoot for long stretches of play, often pinned into their own half as Azerbaijan pressed. At the match’s midway point, Ramil hit a second and, as the final period began, they looked likely to add another. They should have done on several occasions, as Zeynalov’s men were far too wasteful in front of goal, sending numerous prime goal-scoring opportunities high and wide. They were punished for this complacency when Bogdanov headed in Demeshko’s cross with two minutes left, making it 2-1. Just a goal behind, Kazakhstan ramped up the pressure but Azerbaijan defended desperately to keep the attacks at bay and when the whistle finally went, there was more of a sigh of relief from the staff and players than wild celebration. The difference may have been by a slim margin, but victory for Azerbaijan sees each side stay in their division…for another year at least. A gold medal in Minsk, another Mundialito title and now Portugal return to the throne of Europe. But there is still one more beach soccer tournament to play this year... Can Narciso’s men return to the very top in the 2019 edition of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup?





ll of the other continents had named their representing nations ahead of the competition in Russia, and, after eight intense matchdays, the five remaining spots were won by Russia, Italy, Belarus, Switzerland and Portugal, with the sides finishing the qualifiers in that order in the final standings.

at the 2019 global showdown in the Paraguayan capital.

Five beach soccer nations were named as the continent’s representative and will head to Asuncion in November to compete on the biggest stage of all.

Their first test came against Matteo Marucci’s Germans who fell to six goals in the first group game. Next came Estonia, and they were promptly swept aside by seven goals to two.

Perfect Russia lift qualifier trophy The Moscow hosts were on a mission throughout the European FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup qualifying campaign, downing opponent after opponent in emphatic form, and comfortably sealing a place

In the final game of the first group stage, Hungary had the chance to finish top, but Russia administered another convincing performance, of course with the backing of the home crowd, to win 5-1 and cruise into the Round of 16.

They won eight games in as many days, racking up a goal difference of 42-10 in that time, and seeing off Europe’s champions and gold medalists in the process.



Eight goals against a stunned Moldova side saw Mikhail Likhachev’s side make the second group stage where they were drawn alongside Switzerland, the as-of-yet unbeaten Spain, and Azerbaijan. Their first victims in the new group were Angelo Schirinzi’s Swiss, who were beaten by nine goals to three. Next was Azerbaijan, who failed to score against their hosts while Russia netted six. In the final game, Russia’s dominance was finally rewarded when they beat Spain to make the last four, and confirm their place at the World Cup, putting La Roja’s hopes of playing in Paraguay in real doubt… One more win against Italy, who had also topped the second group stage, would see them lift the qualifier trophy on home soil,

and they did so in decisive style, as Zemskov (2), Krash, Shkarin, Chuzhkov and Paporotnyi got on the scoresheet to brush off the European champions. A new era for Belarus But despite the Russian domination, one of the hosts’ less-likely neighbours was building momentum in their own campaign to make it to Asuncion. Belarus also performed well in the first group stage, finishing above Turkey and Division B side Lithuania to make the next round. Their first game was a 6-3 victory over Turkey to kick off their mission on a positive note. Their next match was a tighter one


Belarus qualified for their first ever FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup

against Lithuania, where they took a nervy point from the penalty spot. In the last game it was another penalty shootout that saw Nicolas Alvarado’s Belarussians beat Switzerland to end the group in second place (behind the Swiss) but unbeaten. The Round of 16 saw them extended their run with a 4-1 win over France to seal a place in the second group stage, where they were put into a group with European champions Italy, European Games gold medalists Portugal and Poland, who had made the last edition of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. So far, the Belarussians’ progress had been more or less predictable, but a 3-2 win over an in-form Portugal was the first shocker. However, it was the next victory that would write their name in the beach soccer history books, as they downed Italy from yet another penalty shootout and, with this win, Belarus secured their first ever place at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. On top of that, they were the first of the European nations to do so. Can they make more history and cause an upset in the world’s biggest beach soccer show? The incessant Iberian battle There was disappointment for the Spanish though, as a vicious battle in the fifth-place play-off saw Joaquin Alonso’s men denied World Cup participation for the second edition running. Possibly more painful for Spain was the rival that they lost to, an old Iberian foe who had tormented them throughout the season so far… The Spaniards have faced off against Portugal in three all-or-nothing games over the summer’s competitions, and the result has been the same each time. Alonso’s men have failed to secure a win at the most important moments: the final of the European Games, the final match for the Mundialito title and the play-off for the last place at the World Cup at Moscow Qualifiers, arguably the most important battle of them all. As a result Portugal claimed gold medals in Minsk, another Mundialito title and a ticket to the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup – on top of the European title! The play-off in Moscow went right down to the wire and although La Roja did not trail at any point, Portugal kept on their heels to force a dreaded penalty shootout. It was from nine meters that Narciso’s men held their nerve to deliver a third and final heartbreaking blow to Spain’s 2019 season… It’s safe to say that this year has been a dramatic one, but now, with the World Cup just months away, it is time for the qualified teams to set their sights on the biggest prize of all. Can one of Europe’s giants dethrone the dominant Brazilians?


Hosts Paraguay will take on Japan in the event’s opener



he 16 participating nations at the upcoming FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Paraguay 2019 now know what their group stage will look like, following the official draw held at the CONMEBOL Convention Centre in Asuncion on 13 September. Drawn into Group A, the hosts will play Japan in their tournament opener at 21:00 local time on Thursday 21 November. Switzerland and USA are the other two sides in the group. Five-time competition winners Brazil kick off their campaign a day later against Oman. In turn, runners-up at the last two world finals, the ever-entertaining Tahiti will kick off against Italy, while two-time world champions Russia will do likewise against Senegal. A singular World Cup Jaime Yarza, FIFA Head of Tournaments and draw host, secured that the teams qualified ensure a thrilling competition: “Given the standard of the 16 teams and how the draw has panned out, it’s sure to be a spectacular tournament. Paraguay’s first FIFA World Cup will be an exciting one and we invite you not to miss it.” In turn, Robert Harrison, President of the Paraguayan Football Association (APF), talked about the singularity of the tenth FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup: “We are breaking a paradigm here. For the first time in the history of the Beach Soccer World Cup, the tournament will be hosted in a landlocked country, sending a message loud and clear to the world: beach soccer can be played in every corner of the planet.” Alejandro Domínguez, president of CONMEBOL, was also present at the ceremony, and talked about how the dream of hosting a FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in the region came true: “Since we began our way, with our dreams and objectives, we made football our priority. And having a World Cup in el Paraguay was a dream that we see come true today, thanks to APF president Robert Harrison’s effort and FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s support”.




or the first time in their history, Belarus will be playing at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup this coming November, after a brilliant campaign at the European Qualifier in Moscow. The man behind this achievement, Nico Alvarado, will also experience beach soccer’s biggest competition for the first time as a coach. He sat down with Barefoot to provide an intimate inside perspective on the amazing success... First of all, how did you feel, on a personal level, after achieving the historical feat of guiding Belarus to their first ever FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup? Personally, I felt very excited. It was a very emotional moment, a moment which I lived from a very different perspective from what I had experienced before: the perspective of the coach. I had experienced this moment as a player, with the Spanish national team, but this time it was different. Would you say it is a better feeling? I think this achievement was an even more difficult one. We put a lot of effort in, and a lot of work to overcome our lack of experience. In recent years, despite playing well, we came to these kinds of games, against more experienced sides, and we never prevailed. We seemed to lack that something. Maybe you’d call it luck or experience. Achieving a qualification like this here, in Moscow, and in this manner, makes it even more exciting. It may be your first experience as a coach at the top level, but at the same time... What did you want to transmit to the team? Yes, it is. I tried to give the team every little thing I can, because they are already a very good side, with many good assets and capacities... What I have tried to transmit is, first of all, a professional approach to our everyday life, which I always had as a player, as well as my spirit, the will to always keep fighting. What was the team like when you took over in Belarus? I found a very good team. I am also lucky enough to have very good technical staff that have been able to improve their performance. I think that both on a physical and tactical level, the team has been working thoroughly and what we have achieved is the result. Of course, sport is sport, and sometimes you put all the work in and you do not succeed. Fortunately, this time we did, and our development was good. Which is more satisfying, winning as a player, or winning as a coach? Well, as a player you do not think that much... When the match is over, you think about it for a while, but that’s it. As a coach, life is different, because you don’t stop thinking about how to make it better in the following game, how to fight your opponent...

Moreover, we are talking about sport, and sport demands results, and the need to get good results entails feeling pressure... And that was really our feeling before. We felt that we were playing well, but we didn’t get the results we wanted. This qualifier was a very important moment for us. Was the team disappointed after not winning medals in the Minsk European Games? We really were. It was very tough for us because we felt we were playing at a good level, but some mistakes meant we didn’t make the podium, and that made us feel terrible. Both for us and for our people. Fortunately, the Belarus Football Association have always backed me, let me work in the best conditions, and I am really happy that we managed to achieve such an important accomplishment. Personally, how is life being for a Spanish person living in Minsk. I won’t lie... It has been tough. Especially for a person like me, who loves being at home with my family, spending so many weeks away is really tough. In exchange for that, I have some weeks in the offseason in which I can spend all the time I want with my people in Galicia. It is tough, but at the end of the day I am working in beach soccer, which has always been my dream. And how was it landing in Minsk? I felt very welcome in Minsk. In all senses. Everybody has always been really kind to me since the very first moment. And on a professional level, it has been excellent too, and that is not easy. They believed in our approach from the first moment, and this is something we really appreciate. What is Minsk like for a Spaniard? As a city, Minsk is wonderful. The people there are so kind, so warm, they are always nice to you. I think it is a fantastic place to live in, although I know that in winter the conditions, with temperatures below -30 degrees, may not not be the best (laughs). What was your first thought after qualifying for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Paraguay? First thing I thought about was the team, how they deserved it, and how disappointed they were after the defeat in Minsk. I felt really happy for the team and the management, because they have been working really hard for years. What’s the objective for the World Cup? We will do our best to get as far as possible. We go there with the confidence of having worked really hard and we will try to win all our games. We know we will be facing the best teams in the world, and this is really something, but at this point we are not giving ourselves any limits.



The bright lights of Dubai await 8 of the world’s top teams


hat special time of year has come around once more, as one of beach soccer’s flagship events touches down on the Arabian Peninsula yet again. The ninth edition of the Intercontinental Cup Dubai is set to return to Kite Beach between 5 and 9 November and hosts UAE will be joined by Egypt, Iran, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia and Spain. The 2019 tournament will not see any debutants hit the sand in the United Arab Emirates, but it will only be a second appearance for Italy and Argentina, while Russia maintain their record of being the only side, other than their Emirati hosts, to take part in every single edition. Egypt and Mexico return to register their fifth time competing in the competition, while Japan will be looking to better their seventh-place finishes in 2012 and 2014 in their third appearance. Russia share the record for the most Intercontinental Cups won with Brazil (3), but the world champions will be absent this year in Dubai for only the second time ever, and it could be the perfect opportunity for Mikhail Likhachev’s men to lift trophy number four. However, defending champions Iran will also be keen to make the most of the absence of Gilberto’s Brazilians, as they could draw level with Brazil and Russia should they retain the Intercontinental Cup and clinch a third title this year. Once the new champions are crowned on the sand, the curtain will be dropped on a remarkable 2019 season when the beach soccer stars brush down their sandy feet and put on their best outfits for yet another breath-taking night under the bright lights of Dubai. Sound familiar? That’s right, the Beach Soccer Stars returns on 9 November. The usual prizes will be up for grabs as a new set of superstars will be inaugurated into beach soccer history. The 50-player and 12-coach shortlists have already been released – head to the beach soccer website to check them out - and each will soon be reduced to just three by the votes of captains and coaches from each of the beach soccer national teams. The votes will also decide the Best Goalkeeper and the Best 5 stars. As well as these categories, the Best Women’s Player, Best Goal, Rising Star and Best Event will also be awarded, together with some other surprises... If you haven’t voted for the Best Goal yet, then head to the BSWW website to choose your winner and have your say! Before that, we will look to the future as beach soccer coaches, players and stakeholders will come together for the launch of the 2020 Beach Soccer Season. The conference will take place in an, as of yet, unconfirmed venue in Dubai before the games start on 9 November.




he world’s best player shone bright on the sand of Nazaré, as a Fedorova-inspired Russia went undefeated to claim a second continental crown in as many years. Fedorova won the tournament MVP award, and was also on the list of five players who scored four to share the Top Scorer prize, consisting of: Clark (ENG), Cherniakova (RUS), Fedorova (RUS), Schenk (SUI) and Bachmann (SUI). The award for the Best Goalkeeper went to Silina (RUS).

year’s finalists and winners of the first ever edition in 2016, Spain, took on two-time runners-up Switzerland and Czech Republic. Day one was a tight match-up between England and Russia, and the Three Lionesses missed out by three goals to one as Russia stood in pole position to make the final. Group B’s opening fixture saw Switzerland force extra time against Spain, only to fall to La Roja in the added three minutes. The following day Czech Republic and Netherlands joined the fray.

The fourth edition of the Euro Beach Soccer Cup was held in Nazaré from 5 – 7 July and saw six teams – Russia, Spain, Switzerland, England, Netherlands and Czech Republic - split into two groups of three.

The Dutch lost to 7-2 to Russia, who secured their place in the final with the win, and then later on a much narrower loss to England saw the scrapping for fifth-place on that last day in Nazaré.

In Group A, the defending champions Russia were drawn alongside 2017 winners England and Netherlands, while in Group B, last

Czech Republic suffered a similar fate when they came up against Spain and Switzerland. Spain’s second win in two days and

Russia edged the Spaniards in the final for the second year running

Switzerland’s first victory mean that the final day fixtures would mirror exactly that of the previous edition. The fifth-place play-off between Netherlands and Czech Republic was won by the Dutch on this occasion, and the sides traded finishing position from last year. In the battle for bronze, England, as they had the in 2018, suffered defeat at the hands of Franziska Steinemann’s Swiss, this time falling to a Bachmann strike in extra time. After Russia claimed the 2018 edition, there had been three winners (Spain, England and Russia) in three years that the Euro Beach Soccer Cup had been played. However, this meeting of two former champs, Russia and Spain, would see one of them move ahead in the number of titles.

It wasn’t until the second period that the final saw its first goa, but it was Russia who drew first blood, and who else, but Marina Fedorova. Cherniakova doubled the lead soon after and Gorshkova made it three at the start of the final period. Christian Mendez’ ladies made a late push to pull their rivals back, forcing a late own goal by Khutornaia and then Alba Mellado netted with two minutes on the clock. But time ran out for La Roja as Russia held on to their 3-2 lead right until the final whistle. Their attention now turns to the World Beach Games in Qatar. Can Ilya Leonov’s women add a gold medal to their season?


November 2019 sees the return of the Copa Lagos for its eighth edition



he African showpiece on the Nigerian coast is set to take place between 1 and 3 November, and will feature a top-draw line-up.

Hosts Nigeria will be on a mission to seize their crown back on home soil, but they will be facing tough competition, including defending African champions Senegal, and World Cup winners Brazil, who will come to Lagos with a bunch of new talent. Another old acquaintance, England, completes the four-team, and top-class, line up in the group of national teams. Mark Mitchell’s Three Lions land in Lagos for the third time in the history of the competition. It is their first appearance since 2015, where they finish in fourth, and they will be looking to upset some of beach soccer’s most formidable selections. The world champions are among them, and Brazil’s first appearance in Lagos since the very first edition back in 2011, could see them add yet another to their already extensive collection of trophies. Africa’s most in-form side, Oumar Sylla’s Senegal, arrive in Nigeria as champions of the African Beach Games and Africa Beach Soccer Cup of Nations; can they overwhelm their hosts once again and win everything on the continent this season? And finally, Nigeria: after a strong but ultimately disappointing campaign in the qualifiers for the World Beach Games, where they finished third behind Senegal and Morocco to miss out on the upcoming World Beach Games, Nigeria will be out to return to the Copa Lagos throne. The last time the lifted the trophy was 2013, and every edition since then has seen the Sand Eagles finish as runners-up. Just like in past editions, Copa Lagos will also feature a club competition, involving the best teams in Nigeria. Kebbi BSC, Gidi Sharks and Pepsi Academy will compete in the Lagos showdown again, with Sunset Sports making their debut in the 2019 edition. Kebbi BSC will also take part in the inaugural edition of the World Winners Cup in Alanya just a week before the Copa Lagos. But these long awaited match-up will not be all, as this season’s edition is set to bring many other dynamic and entertaining features, including both a women’s and men’s Celebrity Game!


BEACH SOCCER STARS: THE NOMINEES 50 players and 12 coaches have been shortlisted for the Best Player and Best Coach awards


he 50 players and 12 coaches shortlisted for the Beach Soccer Stars awards have just been released. From this list, captains and coaches of all the beach soccer national teams will vote for the Best Player and Best Coach of the year, and the awards will be presented at the Beach Soccer Stars gala on 9 November in Dubai. The votes will also decide the Best Goalkeeper and the Best 5 stars. These are the 50 nominees for the Best Player of the Year award: ABU Azeez (NGA) AMJAD Addallah Al Hamdani (OMA) Elinton ANDRADE (POR) ANTONIO Mayor Hernández (ESP) BE MARTINS (POR) Christian BIERMANN (GER) BRUNO XAVIER Da Silva (BRA) Ihar BRYSHTEL (BLR) Carlos CARBALLO (PAR) CEM KESKIN (TUR) Maksim CHUZHKOV (RUS) Luiz Alberto Do Nascimento, DATINHA (BRA) Simone DEL MESTRE (ITA) Lansana DIASSY (SEN) Diego VILLASEÑOR (MEX) Francisco Jesus Donaire, DONA (ESP) Eduard Suárez, EDU (ESP) Babacar FALL (SEN) FILIPE Duarte (BRA) Gabriele GORI (ITA) JORDAN Alexandre Grilo (POR) JOSEP JR Gentilin (ITA) Yuri KRASHeninnikov (RUS) LLORENÇ Gómez (ESP) LUCÃO Tadeu (BRA) Moustafa Aly, SASA (EGY) Mohammad AHMADZADEH (IRN) João Vitor Tavares, MADJER (POR) José Ramón MALDONADO (MEX) Jenilson Brito Rodrigues, MÃO (BRA) MAURICINHO Pereira (BRA) Ivan MIRANOVIC (BLR) Mohammad MORADI (IRN) Pedro MORÁN (PAR) Al Seyni N’DIAYE (SEN) NASSIM El Hadaoui (MOR) Boris NIKONOROV (RUS) Noel OTT (SUI) Osmar Moreira, OZU (JPN) Artur PAPOROTNYI (RUS) Exon PERDOMO (SLV) Nick PERERA (USA) Peyman HOSSEINI (IRN) REGIS Enidiel (MAD) RODRIGO Soares da Costa (BRA) Leslie ST. FLEUR (BAH) Dejan STANKOVIC (SUI) Heimanu TAIARUI (TAH) Chris TOTH (USA) WALID Mohammad Mohammadi (UAE) And these are the 12 candidates to be awarded as the Best Coach of the Year: Emiliano DEL DUCA (ITA) Mustapha EL HADAOUI GILBERTO COSTA (BRA) Gustavo Zloccowick, GUGA (PAR) JOAQUÍN Alonso (ESP) Mikhail LIKHACHEV (RUS) Mario NARCISO (POR) NICO Alvarado (BLR) RAMÓN RAYA Mejía (MEX) RUDIS GONZALEZ Gallo (SLV) RUI RAMOS (JPN) Angelo SCHIRINZI (SUI)


The hosts claimed title number seven in Nazaré




he Mundialito trophy remains in Portugal for another year, as the hosts saw off each of their opponents on the sand of Nazaré to repeat the great feat of 2009 and retain the Mundialito. Portugal were chasing their seventh title, still a long way off Brazil’s 14, but they had closed the gap last year, while Spain had won just once before in 2013. The 23rd edition of the oldest official beach soccer tournament took place between 13 and 15 August in Nazaré, Portugal and the three visitors to the Atlantic coast were the returning Spain and Japan, as well as first-timers Senegal. Japan’s best finish had come in 2014 when they came second to Portugal, but Senegal were looking to make an impact on their first appearance. However, the debutants were given a baptism of fire with an opening match against their Portuguese hosts, who came into the competition having already secured a place at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup as well as a gold medal in the European Games. Senegal had also earned a place at the global showpiece as well as a gold medal at the African Beach Games, but they suffered what turned out to be the biggest defeat of the tournament, as Belchior, Madjer, Jordan (2), Von, Coimbra and Torres, all got their names on the scoresheet in a 7-1 victory for the defending champions. Spain and Japan met in the second game where Joaquin Alonso’s men took a 4-2 victory to draw level with Portugal on points. La Roja had the chance to go top when they took on the Lions of Teranga on day two, but Senegal built up a three-goal advantage and two late strikes from Chiky and Javi Torres were not enough to turn the match around. The three points going to the African champions opened the group up, until Portugal won 4-2 against Japan to hit six points. On the final day, Ruy Ramos’ Japanese took Senegal to extra time after the three periods finished with the scores tied at 2-2, and a strike from Diagne snatched two points. The tournament’s final match was more than just a battle for the Mundialito title; it was a fixture that had been fought twice already this year when the steaks were highest, for a gold medal at the European Games, and secondly for the very last place at the 2019 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup… Spain had painfully lost both, but a normal time win on the final day in Nazaré would seal the trophy. The dream of repeating the triumph of 2013 was dented when Brilhante opened the scoring for the hosts. Javi Torres hit back but his Portuguese namesake, Bruno Torres, restored the lead. Jordan and Belchior pushed it to 4-1 and Chiky’s late strike wasn’t enough to get Alonso’s men back into it, as La Roja were forced to witness yet another Portuguese celebration. The locals also scooped all of the individual awards, as Jordan was awarded both the MVP and the top scorer trophy, while teammate Andrade won best goalkeeper. After initial disappointment for Mario Narciso’s squad when they failed to qualify for the World Beach Games in Qatar, Portugal have turned their form around in emphatic style…


The World Winners Cup kicks off 21 October in Alanya, Turkey



brand new and ground-breaking beach soccer club competition is about to touch down in the Turkish city of Alanya.

After successfully hosing the 2018 Alanya Beach Soccer Cup, claimed by Russian giants Lokomotiv Moscow, the Turkish coastal town is set to take another, much larger stride into the world of beach soccer. Between 21 and 27 October, 20 men’s and five women’s clubs from across the globe will come together to compete for the inaugural World Winners Cup and, as well as lifting the first ever trophy of what is sure to be a long-standing event, there is an extra incentive of prize money for the top five ranked teams in both the men’s and women’s divisions. A draw will take place on Tuesday 8 October at 18:00h local Alanya time (GMT +3) to organise the men’s teams into five groups of four. Once the groups are chosen, the clubs will play three days of Round Robin matches from 21 to 23 October. Thursday 24 will see the knockout stages begin with the Round of 16, followed by quarter-finals the day after, then semi-finals and the finals of both the men’s and women’s competitions will be played on Sunday 27. Local side Alanya Belediyespor will be looking to claim an historic title win in the opening edition of the event on Turlish sand. However they will be up against some of the cworld’s best clubs, including Brazilians Flamengo and Angelo Schirinzi’s giants Kristall, who currently hold the Russian league. title. The list of men’s teams descending on Turkey are: Alanya Belediyespor (Turkey), Al-Arabi Sporting Club (Kuwait), Atletico Licata Beach Soccer (Italy), B.Q. All Star Club (Thailand), BSC Boca Gdansk (Poland), CR Flamengo (Brazil), BSC Kristall (Russia), BSC Vybor (Ukraine), Copenhagen BSC (Denmark), Goldwin Pluss (Hungary), Kebby BSC (Nigeria), Levante UD (Spain), Masafi AlWasat Football Club (Iraq), Meizhou Hakka Football Club (China), Moghavemat Golsapoosh Yazd (Iran), Napoli Patron (Greece), New Team BS Brussels (Belgium), Real Münster (Germany), Rostocker Robben (Germany), Shahin Khazar Roodsar (Iran). In the women’s group, the five competing teams are: Norcal BSC (USA), Pavia Lokrains (Italy), Lady Grembach Lodz (Poland), Asregina (Japan), WFC Zvezda (Russia). With such an enthusiastic response from the world’s beach soccer clubs, and with many of the biggest names in the sport in attendance, this event is set to be an immediate success and a regular feature in the sport’s calendar. Who do you think will claim the maiden edition?


16 men and 8 women’s teams will take part in the first ever edition



each Soccer will stand as one of the main attractions at the upcoming World Beach Games 2019, which will take place in Doha (Qatar) between 12 and 16 October. The Games Organizing Committee included beach soccer as one of the key sports for this maiden edition of this global Olympic showpiece, organized by ANOC (Association of National Olympic Committees), and beach soccer will not disappoint. After the draw held at the Qatar Olympic Committee in late August, the 16 men’s and eight women’s teams that will compete in Katara Beach were drawn into the different groups, that stand as follows: MEN: Group A: Brazil, Switzerland, UAE and Morocco Group B: Italy, Spain, Mexico and Solomon Islands Group C: Iran, Paraguay, Senegal and Ukraine Group D: Russia, Japan, Uruguay and El Salvador WOMEN: Group A: Spain, Brazil, Cape Verde and Mexico Group B: Great Britain, Russia, USA and Paraguay Gabino Renales, Deputy Vice-President of BSWW, highlighted the importance the event means for the growth of the sport. “Our role in the ANOC World Beach Games 2019 represents a new remarkable step forward for beach soccer”. “Over the last few years we have been gaining more and more international importance, and getting closer to the Olympic core with different events, such as the European Games and the Asian Beach Games, amongst others”. Overall, 15 sports (17 disciplines) will be showcased which, aside from beach soccer, include: beach volleyball, wrestling, handball, karate, surfing and standup paddling, waterskiing and wake-boarding, 3-on3 basketball, BMX cycling, kite surfing, aquatics (swimming), doubles tennis, park skateboard, sport climbing and bouldering, duathlon (running and swimming). More than 4,000 athletes and officials are expected in the first edition of the World Beach Games in Qatar, a place that is no stranger to beach soccer, after the successful events held in Doha in 2013 and 2015.


Both Mexico’s men and women qualified for the World Beach Games


he nations travelling to Doha, Qatar for the World Beach Games have all been decided, and it was at the Anfiteatro CIFCO in El Salvador that the Concacaf representation were chosen in style, with beach soccer of the highest level on display from both the men’s and women’s selections. The tournament took place 3 to 5 August and saw the eight men’s teams and four women’s teams (two of whom were making debut appearances) compete for a ticket to the Games, which will take place 11 to 16 October in the Qatari capital. The men’s tournament went straight into a knockout system, where victory on the opening day for Panama, USA, Mexico and El Salvador ended the journey for Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, Guatemala and US Virgin Islands almost as soon as it had begun. The women, however, played in a Round Robin group where Mexico narrowly beat USA and the hosts El Salvador lost to Bahamas on day one. In the men’s semi-finals, a replay of the final at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Qualifier in May, saw Mexico come out on top after an intense penalty shootout, dumping the USA out of the running for a ticket to Qatar. Meanwhile there was elation for the Salvadorian locals as they beat Panama by four goals to two to join Mexico as the Concacaf ambassadors at the World Beach Games, making up for their earlier disappointment in not reaching the World Cup. The Mexican women put seven past Bahamas to top the group, while USA beat El Salvador to draw level on point with Bahamas. Both the Azteca and El Salvador had done enough to make the Games in Doha, but they still had to decide who would go home with the trophy, and the hosts just missed out by a single goal as Mexico squeezed out a 5-4 victory. The Salvadorians saw Exon Bladmir awarded the competition MVP, while Alfonso Maquensi (Panama) won the Top Scorer trophy. The Best Goalkeeper went to Mexico’s Diego Villaseñor. In the final matchday in women’s group, perfect Mexico confirmed their place at the Games with a 6-2 win over their hosts. On top of that, their players Fatima Leyva and Daniela Paulin were named the tournament MVP and Best Goalkeeper. El Salvador finished the competition winless but Carolina shared the Top Scorer award with USA’s Witteman, as the Stars and Stripes took second with a 7-1 win over Bahamas, who finished third. It is worth giving a special mention to the women’s sides of El Salvador and USA, who truly impressed on their debut appearances on the beach soccer stage. Welcome to the beach soccer family!




he USA Women’s National Team played their first ever international competition in this last World Beach Games Qualifier El Salvador. The Stars and Stripes could not get the win they were longing for, but their presence in the competition, their international debut, was a huge triumph in itself, the victory of the determination of a group of players that have been training hard, dreaming for that day to come, and who will now have the chance to keep on proving themselves at the World Beach Games in Doha.

this first ever international experience for Eddie Soto’s girls, but that did not became an obstacle for Wharton and her teammates to make the most of this opportunity: “We felt a little bit of extra pressure for being wearing the US Soccer and representing the country, but we felt it in a positive way. We wanted to lay a good foundation for the years to come. This is the first ever US Soccer Women’s team and we wanted to start it off on a good note”.

Megan Wharton, the team’s captain, is one of the examples of how the passion for beach soccer and the determination to follow a dream. This Graphic designer from Columbus, Ohio, is a regular on the National Sand Soccer Championships in Virginia, where she played for Shoreline BSC this season. But behind that there is also a story of hard work, training in hard conditions and a sacrifice ethic. A hard world that was finally rewarded. Asked about the feelings of the team when representing the national team jersey for the first time, Wharton explains that it was a mixture of joy and responsibility. “We felt extremely excited, honoured, and ready for more. We are really hungry for more top-class beach soccer, and can’t wait for the next step. We are really determined to keep working together and grow the sport.”

So what’s next now for the US Women’s National Team? The answer is clear: “We have to continue training together, getting to know each other even better, understanding how we play and grow the team from there”.

The thing that surprised her the most when playing at international level for the first time was, a part from the level of the competitors, and their strength in the game, the amazing atmosphere, and how it helped the motivation when hitting the sand. “The high energy you could feel in the stadium is just awesome. You don’t get that kind of crowd when playing at a national level. It becomes a whole new game, it makes you step out of your comfort zone and become a better player”. There was much more that playing and trying to win involved in

Despite her deep background as a eleven-a-side football player, she focuses on keeping improving on beach soccer because of its specifics: “The most difficult thing about beach soccer I would say is the unexpectedness of where the ball can land, you have to be agile and ready to react, and, especially, that most of the time the game is aerial. Everything is up in the air, your touch has to be delicate”. When asked to choose a player she tries to mirror to grow her game, she chooses a teammate: Lauren Leslie. “Because of her passion, her skill, but most of all because of her hard-work ethics”. Precisely, hard-work is what the US Soccer Women’s team will not be short on in the coming years, to see the team grow stronger. They will not be in the World Beach Games Qatar, but they look forward to their next International experience. Without a doubt, and seeing the passion with which they play and train, they will be even stronger this next time.

“We wanted to lay a good foundation for the years to come”



cross Europe, numerous beach soccer clubs have been doing battle in their own countries over the summer, as old reigns are cut short and new ones begin. The unstoppable SC Braga may have claimed yet another Euro Winners Cup – their third on the bounce! – but Europe’s national leagues have been naming their representation for the coming year… Here is a brief round-up of the national championships, with many familiar faces and some new ones too. Russia The Brazilian-boosted BSC Kristall lifted a fourth trophy in five years in the Russian league, their second title on the bounce. Angelo Schirinzi’s men may have been disappointed in this year’s Euro Winners Cup, but a tight 6-5 victory over Spartak Moscow sees them confirm a place in the next edition.

Their Brazilian duo, Rodrigo and Mauricinho, took the individual awards for top scorer (Rodrigo with 22) and top assister (Mauricinho with 20), while their countryman Lucao (Krylia Sovetov) won the best player of the tournament. Pavel Bazhenov (Spartak Moscow) won Best Goalkeeper, and in the play-off for third place, Krylia Sovetov beat 2017 champions BSC Lokomotiv. In the women’s league, 2018’s European champions WFC Zvezda defeated Lex-Yablochnaya in the final by seven goals to one to claim title number four, equaling Kristall’s record of four leagues in five years. Italy After just a year’s absence from the top of the Italian league, Happy Car Sambenedettese returned as champions with a 5-6 victory over 2016 victors, Viareggio.

NAL CHAMPIONS It was a tough blow for the Tuscans, but their star striker Gabriele Gori won the top scorer award with 34 goals – one of them, the most ridiculous bicycle kick which, if you haven’t seen already, you need to look up. Jordan and Simone del Mestre, both of Happy Car Sambenedettese, won the MVP and Best Goalkeeper awards.

Sesimbra were relegated to the National Division. Replacing them in the top league for the coming season will be local Nazaré side ACD Sotao, as well as GD Chaves. It was the sixth time that the club had won the national championship in their history. Can anyone stop the storming Gverreiros?

In the women’s league, Sambenedettese also claimed the title in their first appearance in the Italian championship, downing Terracina by three goals to one.

Spain Levante UD fended off Alumnios Sotelo Cadiz FC on the final day of the Spanish league, which took place in La Nucía, Murcia, to finish the competition in first place.

Portugal After the unstoppable SC Braga claimed a third consecutive Euro Winners Cup and a first Mundialito de Clubes, they also retained the Portuguese Elite Division title. Braga comfortably saw off GR Amigos da Paz in the final match to lift the trophy on home sand in Nazaré, while CD Nacional and GD

Sunday 30 June saw La Granota lift the trophy, just a week after having won the Spanish Cup, and on top of that, the Valenciabased side finished the Euro Winners Cup in an impressive thirdplace, a club record! In the women’s league, AIS Playas de San Javier built on an unforgettable season which saw them defeat rivals Madrid CFF in

54 - QUARTERLY REVIEW both the Euro Winners Cup final and the Spanish league final to clinch both titles! Switzerland The beautiful Spiez hosted the finals of the Swiss Beach Soccer League and Cup on 18 August, with Grasshopper Club Zurich, Lions Riviera and Havana Shots becoming claiming the titles at an intense weekend of beach soccer. Grasshopper Club Zurich reclaimed the league title after dethroning the defending champions BSC Chargers Baselland in the final, while Havana Shots Aargau retained their crown in the women’s competition, thanks to a comfortable 6-1 win over Beach Kings Emmen. Tahitian superstar Heimanu Taiarui claimed not only the MVP award, but the trophy for Top Scorer as well, while Mauro Capozollo was named Best Goalkeeper. A single player claimed both MVP and Top Scorer in the women’s league too, as Pascale Küffer (Grasshopper Club Zürich) went home with three new trophies to her name, while Best Goalkeeper went to her teammate Susanne Stutz. Poland After making it all the way to the final of the Euro Winners Cup, KP Lodz returned to the top of beach soccer in Poland with a tight 3-2 win over Boca Gdansk in the final. It was the third time they had won the championship, previously in 2014 and 2017. The Polish national star Filip Gac claimed the MVP award, while fellow KP Lodz player, Eliott Mounoud, bagged the Best Goalkeeper trophy. The Top Scorer went to Silesia C10 Zgierz striker, Marian Maciuca. Lady Grembach Lodz seized the women’s National League trophy for the third time beating Sparta Daleszyce on penalties. In the individual awards, Kinga Kurek (Lady Grembach Lodz) was named the tournament’s MVP. Patrycja Zawlocka (Sparta Daleszyce) was chosen as the Best Goalkeeper, and Justyna Wojcik (ISD UJD Czestochowa) was the Top Scorer. Ukraine BSC Alternativa dethroned the reigning champions BSC Euroformat in the Ukrainian league final against BSC Kievmiskbud, who were injected with some Spanish firepower in the form of Edu Suarez. Alternativa claimed the title after the final finished 5-3, and VIT Voitok finished third. The award for the Best Goalkeeper went to Taras of KMB, Zborovskij (Alternativa) went home with the MVP award, while Edu Suarez (KMB) claimed to Top Scorer prize.

play-off. France Grande-Motte Pyramide BS claimed back to back French leagues, after beating Marseille Beach Team in the final (8-3). Boosted by international players from the French side, GrandeMotte took their third French crown (2016, 2018 and 2019) in four years. In the women’s competition Grand Calais (Ligue des Hauts-deFrance) claimed the title following an 8-2 win over d’ESOF Vendée La Roche (Ligue des Pays de la Loire). Azerbaijan Zira are the new champions of the Azerbaijan Beach Soccer Superleague, following their win over Marafon Sabirabad (3-0) in the final. Neftchi, seized third place in Baku, thanks to a 4-2 victory over Shusha Garabagh. Zira’s Elchin Gasimov was named the Best Goalkeeper of the competition, with teammate Sabir Allahguliyev claiming the Superleague Top Scorer prize. Orkhan Mammadov (Marafon Sabirabad) was named MVP. Czech Republic The Czech beach soccer throne was claimed by BS Slavia Praha in a 3-6 victory over last year’s winners, BS Bohemians 1905, in the final. Braces from Czech internationals, Vales (league’s Top Scorer with 17 goals) and Trampota (MVP) helped them dominate in Prague, while BS Bohemians’ Patrik Malina won the Best Goalkeeper trophy. BS Ladronka Praha beat BS Dukla Praha in the play-offs to clinch third. England Corinthians Casuals became the new English National Champions following their 6-2 win over Portsmouth BSC in the final. The champions boasted many England internationals in their ranks, including Aaron Clarke (MVP and Top scorer of the competition) Mitch Day, Scott Lawson, James Temple and Dan Hulme (Best Goalkeeper). Eastleigh Spitfires FC beat Isle of Wight on penalties for third place. Bulgaria Four years and four trophies for MFC Spartak, who disappointed CA Ministry of Interior in a tight 4-3 match to clinch the Bulgarian title.

Euroformat tasted victory in the women’s competition, as they beat Mriya -2006 on penalties to lift the trophy in Odessa.

The squad, made up largely of players from the Bulgarian national side, recorded a total of 10 wins in 10 games with a goal difference of 94-20!

Euroformat captain Anna Sydorenko was recognized as the MVP while teammate Kislova Victoria claimed Best Goalkeeper.

As a result of their campaign of domination, MFC Spartak will, once more, be representing the nation at the Euro Winners Cup 2020.

Germany Sunday 25 August saw Rostocker Robben retained their German national title from the penalty spot. They kept calm to beat Beach Royals Düsseldorf by two spotkicks to one.

Sweden Djurgardens IF FF claimed both the men’s and women’s leagues in Sweden, as the women’s side retained their crown, beating previous winners Vetlanda United 4-2 in the final.

Christian Biermann won both the awards for Top Scorer and MVP, while Jose Carlos Caballero of Real Münster took home the Best Goalkeeper prize, Hertha BSC Berlin beat Real Münster to third place in the final day

Meanwhile the men’s win was even narrower, squeezing past Bemannia FC by two goals to claim their first ever title.


Saudi Arabia played their first competitive matches since 2014



t was a day to remember for Oman, as they claimed the first edition of the ground-breaking NEOM Beach Soccer Cup, just a week after winning the Morocco Beach Soccer Cup. NEOM is a brand-new city that is under construction in the northwestern corner of Saudi Arabia, dubbed by many as the “City of the Future”, and it represented a very special opportunity for the sport of beach soccer to be one of the first ever introductions of this futuristic project to the world… The six teams in attendance were split into two groups of three: in Group A there was Saudi Arabia, China and Egypt and in Group B, England, Oman and UAE. Three group stage matchdays organised the finishing places, and the winner of each group would face each other in the final, while the second-place finishers would vie for third-place and, in a battle to avoid last place, the groups’ third-place finishers would face off. UAE kicked off the tournament with a comfortable 4-1 win over England, but the opening day’s talking point was the victory of Saudi Arabia over Ramiro Amarelle’s China. The Saudi’s, who had been absent from the beach soccer scene for the last five years or so, went into the match second favourites, but they managed to scramble a 6-5 win much to the elation of the fans and players alike. The hosts rested along with England on day two, while Oman and Egypt joined the fray. The Omanis, fresh from their exploits in the Morocco Beach Soccer Cup just days before, managed to overturned the Emirati in extra time, while Egypt opened their NEOM account with a seven-goal thumping of China. On day three, Saudi Arabia returned to the sand, fighting valiantly but losing to the superior Pharaohs, while England suffered a similar fate against Oman. The final matches were set, as England just managed to overcome China to end their campaign in Saudi Arabia with a win and take fifth. The hosts missed out painfully on third place after they were beaten on penalties by UAE and in the first ever NEOM Beach Soccer Cup final, Oman fought off the stubborn Egyptians in extra time to clinch a piece of historic silverware. On top of that, their striker Sami claimed the trophy for Top Scorer with eight goals, while the Best Goalkeeper went to the Saudi shotstopper Mohammed. The MVP was the Pharaohs’ number five, Moustafa Aly. Apart from being a dramatic and exciting success, the 2018 edition of the competition in NEOM is just the first step on a very exciting journey; watch this space!


Spain went unbeaten to lift a second title in as many years



he future of La Roja’s selection looks bright as July saw them claim a second consecutive Talent Cup in Hungary.

The Talent Beach Soccer Cup 2019 featured four Under-21 beach soccer sides from across Europe coming together on the sand from 12 to 14 July for a Round Robin competition. As well as going unbeaten to lift clinch silverware, Spain also scooped two of the individual awards as David Ardil and Pablo Perez picked up the prizes for Top Scorer and Best Goalkeeper, while the MVP trophy went home with the captain of the host nation, Rutai, Spain’s first step on the road to title-retention came against Poland, who they managed to down by seven goals to three to pick up their opening points. In the other game, the Hungarian hosts edged a low-scoring game against Czech Republic were the next victims of the rampant Spanish strikers, specifically Jonathan who bagged a hat-trick to help beat the Czechs 5-1 and ending their chances of lifting the trophy. In matchday two’s second game, Hungary fought hard to drag Poland into an added three minutes, but Bistula snatched two points from the persistent locals. Poland picked up a second win on the final day to take their total to five points against Czech Republic, who failed to win any of their matches and took up fourth place in the final standings. Hungary, however, were in a strong position going into their final game, as a win over Mendez’ men in normal time would see the hosts lift the trophy. With the stakes high, a predictably fierce match ensued. At the first break, La Roja enjoyed a one-goal lead as Jonathan found the net, and then Albert Csaba put the ball into both his own and his opponents’ net to make it 2-1. In the second period, two more goals at each end saw the difference maintained going into the final stage, where a brace by competition MVP Rutai was followed by a completed hat-trick for competition Top Scorer, David. The scores were tied at 5-5, and extra time saw no winning goal; but penalties did, as Spain scored two spotkicks and Hungary failed to convert any of theirs, as a result slipping into a final finishing position of third. Triumph for Spain and another brilliant event in Hungary saw young talent flourish in a competitive setting, as the next generation of beach soccer stars promises great things to come...


Morocc tourname

co’s Nassim won the ent’s Best Player award



he hosts were dethroned in 2019 edition of the Morocco Beach Soccer Cup, which returned to Agadir from 12 to 14 July, by their Omani challengers, who went one step further than last year’s finishing place to claim the title. A Round Robin group of four was played over three matchdays on the Moroccan coast, where neighbouring Algeria failed to pick up a point. Europe’s representation was the Netherlands, and their only victory over Algeria saw them finish in third, while hosts Morocco took second. The new champions of the Morocco Beach Soccer Cup, however, didn’t drop a point over the three days to top the group. One day one they beat Morocco narrowly by three goals to two, in what turned out to be a decisive game in the tournament. Next they netted an incredible 16 goals to see off Algeria, who only managed to find the net once, and they were just one win away from clinching the trophy. Oman final test was against the Netherlands and last year’s secondplace finishers wasted no time in asserting their dominance over their Dutch challengers, as Khalid bagged a brace in the opening four minutes, and Eid and Sami (the tournament’s top scorer) pushed the lead to four by the time the first whistle blew. Ali Eryuruk and Jenner Koek pulled goals back for Netherland to make it 2-4, but when Khalid completed his hat-trick, they had a three-goal deficit to cut in the final 12 minutes. Another goal at either end was enough to wrap the points up for Oman, who made it nine points out of nine in Morocco. The hosts also tasted victory on the final day, putting eight past neighbouring Algeria to take up second place, swapping places with last year’s runners-up, Oman. Hosts Morocco, who won the 2018 edition, managed to seal the runner-up spot with a final day win over North African rivals, Algeria. Morocco took a three-goal lead inside the opening period, and by the time Sefir got Algeria off the mark in the second, Morocco had netted five. The tournament’s MVP, Nassim Elhadaoui, secured two of the eight goals in total. The Top Scorer was Sami Al Bulushi (Oman) who scored eight goals overall, and the champions also claimed the Best Goalkeeper, which went to Amjad Al Hamadani.


Four teams travelled to Sao Sebastiao for the Clubs Challenger Cup



he Brazilian city of São Sebastião saw the conception of a brandnew club competition, held between 12 and 14 July.

The four-club tournament was played over three matchdays in a Round Robin system and the featured teams were beach soccer giants Flamengo (Brazil), Cerro Porteño (Paraguay), Rosario Central (Argentina) and Club Libertad (Paraguay). The action kicked off with Cerro Porteño moving ahead in the ranking thanks to a 10-6 win over the Argentineans of Rosario Central. Paraguayan national striker, Pablo Benítez Cáceres was the main protagonist of the game, with a hat-trick that put him at the top of the scorers list at the end of day one. In the second game of the day, Brazil’s Flamengo edged Paraguay’s Club Libertad de Asunción to bag the first points in their opening match to join Cerro Porteño at the top of the table. Although the Paraguayans took the first period by 2-1 Brazilian internationals Thanger, Thyago and Igor (who hit a hat-trick) sealed a 4-6 win for ‘Fla’. After the thrilling opening day, two more games on the second saw Rosario Central downed by Club Libertad de Asunción, who put seven past their Argentinian rivals to claim their first points. This fixture was followed by the match between the two victors from the previous day, Flamengo and Cerro Porteño. This tie turned out to be the closest of the whole weekend, as three periods and three minutes of extra time saw the teams all tied at 5-5. A nervy penalty shootout followed, where Cerro Porteño put away five spotkicks to their rivals’ four. On the final matchday, Cerro Porteño clinched first Clubs Challenger Cup in São Sebastião after beating each of their three opponents. The Ciclón downed Club Libertad with a third great performance, going unbeaten and sealing seven points overall to lift the trophy. A 4-0 run in the first period put the Azulgrana in control, and they fended off Libertad’s attempts at a comeback effectively. Cerro Porteño not only won the champions cup, but also collected the individual awards, with Carlos Carballo being named the Best Player and Top Scorer of the competition (along with Flamengo’s Thyago) and Yoao Rolón being awarded the Best Goalkeeper trophy. In the last game of the day, and despite having been knocked out of the running for the title after Cerro’s win, Flamengo went all out against CA Rosario Central. Thyago poked home (a goal saw him equal Carballo’s record at the top of the scorers list), helping Fla to cruise past the Argentineans 8-1. Fiorino pulled one back for the Gigante de Arroyito, but there was nothing the Rosarino side could do at that point, and they finished the competition in fourth place without a win. Club Libertad finished in third, while Flamengo took second, just a point behind their Paraguayan opposition who claim the first ever edition of an historic Clubs Challenger Cup 2019 in São Sebastião.


Hosts China finished the competition in third place



ruguay retained the 2019 edition of the Goalfun CFA ChinaLatin America Beach Soccer Championship in China, after a nearperfect run saw them top the group of six national beach soccer teams from across the globe. The event took place in Tangshan, China, between 7 and 11 September, and featured appearances from the selections of hosts China, Uruguay, El Salvador, Bahamas, Denmark and Trinidad and Tobago. Uruguay managed to see off each of their rivals, except the hosts of the 2017 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, Bahamas, to whom they lost by four goals to two on the final day, having already secured the title the day before. Their first test was against Denmark and this turned out to be their biggest win, downing the Danes by four goals to one. Next it was the hosts, but this time it was just the one goal that won the points, as the score ended 3-2 in favour of the South Americans. Another nervous single-goal victory over Trinidad and Tobago on the Monday, this time 6-7, saw Uruguay hit nine points. Thus far, El Salvador had been hot on their heels with a much more impressive goal difference. However, the Salvadorians were defeated in extra time on matchday three by Ramiro Amarelle’s China, opening the door to victory wide open for Uruguay to step through. All they needed was one more win, crucially against El Salvador, and the trophy would be theirs for a second year running… It was another tight margin but La Celeste overcame their opponents 3-2, and the title was wrapped up with the final gameday still to play. It may have been a bit of a shock for the Uruguayans to miss out to Bahamas on the last matchday, but it made no difference to their celebrations. A stroke of luck for El Salvador saw them come in second as hosts China missed out the honour after a final day loss to Denmark. The Danes managed to avoid sixth place with the 2-1 victory over their hosts, while Trinidad and Tobago suffered defeat to finish at the bottom of the table. China’s Bai Fan claimed the MVP award, while teammate Zhang Xunwei bagged the prize for Best Goalkeeper. Bahaman Lesly St. Fleur scored a total of eight goals across the five matches, enough to see him take home the Top Scorer award. Another successful competition in China completed and a strong performance from the hosts are yet more positive signs of the growth of beach soccer in the country. Let’s see what next season brings…


The Brazilian club clinched their third continental crown in four years



s the country prepared for the latest edition of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, Paraguay played host to a very different beach soccer competition a matter of months before the global showpiece - the CONMEBOL Libertadores de Fútbol Playa. More than 140 players descended on the city of Luque in Paraguay to participate in one of the most important beach soccer club tournaments in South America, between 14 and 21 September. The 12 teams in attendance were split into three groups. The title holders, Brazil’s EC Vitoria, were drawn alongside Venezuela’s champions Fundacion Monagas, Acassuso (ARG) and Guaviare (COL) in Group A. In Group B, the 2018 runners-up, Vasco da Gama (BRA), had local side Cerro Porteño (PAR), Aca. Tito Drago (PER), and Uruguayan champions Racing Club to compete against. San Bernardo (PAR) and Fluminese Blasa (ECU) made their debut appearances at the CONMEBOL Libertadores de Fútbol Playa 2019, being placed in Group C along with Bolivia’s Hamacas FC, who finished sixth the previous year, and Deportes Iquique (CHI) who made their first appearance in the previous edition. The Arena Beach Soccer stadium provided the stage for the battles on the sand, and the action kicked off when defending champions Vitoria came up against Acassuso of Argentina and lost narrowly. Elsewhere there were wins for Monagas (VEN), local sides Cerro Porteño and San Bernardo, as well as two-time champions and 2018 runners-up, Vasco da Gama (BRA). Matchday two saw Monagas snatch a point from the penalty spot to remain unbeaten, while a severely reduced Vitoria squad lost their second match in which Guaviare (COL) picked up their first points. Vasco da Gama won again, as did Deportes Iquique (CHI) to go top of Group C, while Fluminese Blasa (ECU) suffered a second defeat. On the final day of the group stages, Brazil’s Vasco da Gama, Venezuela’s Fundacion Monagas and Chile’s Deportes Iquique remained undefeated to top their groups and make the quarterfinals, as Guaviare (COL), Hamacas FC (BOL), Acassuso (ARG), San Bernardo (PAR) and Cerro Porteño (PAR) also made the knockout stages. Eight soon became four as Vasco da Gama, Monagas, Acassuso, and local side Cerro Porteño took victories to make the semis. The Paraguayans downed Monagas by three goals to one, and penalties were needed to send Vasco da Gama past Acassuso and into their fourth consecutive final. A 12-goal thriller saw the Brazilians reclaim their 2017 and 2016 throne, as they took a 7-5 victory over Cerro Porteño to disappoint the hosts at the final hurdle. Three titles in four years for Vasco da Gama and, for the rest of us, a little taste of the beach soccer that is still to come this year in Paraguay…


The Portuguese stars took time out to train some local fans during the Superfinal



ortuguese maestro Madjer lead an emotional Beach Soccer Foundation in Figueira da Foz ahead of the Euro Beach Soccer League Superfinal, involving as well other Portuguese National Beach Soccer Team stars. Eight people between the ages of 25 and 32 from the APPACDM (Portuguese Association of Parents and Friends of the Mentally Disabled Citizens) came down to the stadium at Buarcos beach before the continental league Finale took off. They were greeted by some special guests, Petrony, Brilhante and Ricardinho from the Portuguese selection as well as legendary captain Madjer and coach Mario Narciso. The players organised some drills and activities on the sand, showing off their skills and giving the visitors a chance to try them out for themselves. Rita Fernandes from APPACDM commented after, that “everyone was so excited to come today. They all love beach soccer and football. They’ve never actually played beach soccer before, but they’re huge fans.” “When they hear about beach soccer they all immediately think of Madjer and it is very special for them that he is here today.” Madjer was particularly attentive, learning the names of everyone in attendance and not letting anyone leave without a hug and a photo. “They’re all from Figueira da Foz and every day they come to the institute but it’s great for them to get out and do sport, as they enjoy it so much.” Ms Fernandes added. “The guys love taking part in this kind of events. We try to organise them often but they were especially enthusiastic about this one!” Amongst all the excitement there was time to celebrate the birthday of one of the group, 29-year-old Tiago, and a rendition of ‘Happy birthday’ was led by the booming voices of the Portugal players and coaches. Eight happy, but worn-out, people left the stadium with some gifts and an experience they’ll never forget.



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11th-16th October

21st-27th October





he first ever World Beach Games, multi-sports event organized lso the first time for this competition, involving 25 clubs from by ANOC, will feature beach soccer as one of its main attractions. all over the world, both men and women’s. Alanya, Turkey, will The well-known Katara Beach, in Doha (Qatar), is getting ready to be the stage for the maiden edition of this clubs showdown, which host 16 men’s and 8 women’s teams from all over the world in this is set to keep growing in the coming years. unique competition within the Olympic stage.

1st-3rd November

5th-9th November





t has been a long time coming, but the end of the 2019 season will o beach soccer season can be concluded without the curtain see the comeback of one of Africa’s top beach soccer competitions dropping in Dubai, even though this year the FIFA Beach Soccer - the Copa Lagos! The event will touch down in Nigeria for its World Cup comes right after the Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup. eighth edition in November, with some regulars in attendance and Defending champions Iran will fight against hosts UAE, Concacaf some old faces are making a return... kings Mexico, AFC champs Japan, as well as Italy, Russia, Argentina and Egypt.



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