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32 - QUARTERLY REVIEW

UNSTOPPABLE BRAZ

SAMSUNG BEACH SOCCER INTERCONTINENTAL CUP DU

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razil deservedly reclaimed the Samsung Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup in Dubai with a dominant 6-2 win against a spirited Iran side, confirming what everybody suspected: this is the best Brazil we have seen in years. Gilberto Costa’s men - last champions in 2014 added to this year’s successes at the Mundialito and Supercopa da Nacoes with a degree of comfort as Bokinha and Catarino each registered braces. Mesigar had got Iran in front but Brazil responded with five goals in a row and never looked back, landing their second Dubai title following an impressive campaign. After Mesigar opened the scoring with a closerange finish, much to the excitement of the Iran fans in the stadium, Catarino angled a shot into the bottom corner as the game got off to a breathless start. Mao was called on to thwart Akbari before tournament MVP and Top Scorer Bruno Xavier rattled in a penalty to complete the turnaround. Brazil went on to boss proceedings either side of the first break and had their reward when Bokinha’s curled effort took a slight deflection to beat Hosseini in the Iran goal. Mao continued to impress for the Selecao while, at the other end, Bokinha found the bottom corner after a sumptuous backheel assist from Lucao. The goals continued to flow as Brazil hit their stride although Ahmadzadeh stopped the rot with a penalty for Iran. Akbari’s audacious overhead kick, which drifted just wide, was the opening chance of a hectic endto-end final frame, which saw Catarino register his second when he finished off a wonderful team move. Mesigar’s red card made life more difficult for Iran, who were unable to throw a spanner in the works,

with Brazil ultimately easing to their third title of a hugely successful season. Former champions Russia bounced back from their failed title defence by beating Tahiti 4-3 in the third-place play-off. The 2015 winners were blown away by the Verdeamarela on semi-finals but, despite falling behind to Bennett’s early strike, the world’s second best side hit back in style with four unanswered goals to put them in a strong position going into the final few minutes. Late goals from Jo and Tavanae made life awkward for the Russians but Mikhail Likhachev’s men stood firm for the win. Poland finished with a flourish by beating Egypt 2-0 on penalties after their fifth-place play-off ended 3-3 in normal time. The Poles - in the midst of preparing for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup next year - were pegged back from 3-1 up as Egypt scored late on through Hashim and Samir. However, Samir and Ahmed both missed from the spot as Gac and Ziober ensured fifth spot for Poland. Hosts UAE salvaged pride from their campaign by deservedly beating the USA 4-3. In the absence of influential skipper Perera, USA battled from a goal down to lead 2-1 going into the final period. However, a brace from captain Kamal and Waleed’s second effort gave the home fans something to cheer as their side settled in seventh place. There were thousands of supporters from a host of different countries in the stadium over the course of the five days, devoted and passionate, as the Samsung Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup scaled new heights in its quest to be the best.


BAREFOOT: The Beach Soccer Mag