66 - QUARTERLY REVIEW
fter victories at the Supercopa das Nações in Santos and the Samsung Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup in Dubai, Gilberto’s new-look Brazil side appear in prime condition ahead of a crucial few months. Having claimed the BSWW Mundialito in August, the Brazilians tasted success on home sand in Santos last month before maintaining their rich vein of form in Dubai. Those triumphs have left many in the sport contemplating whether this multi-talented Brazil squad are ready to reclaim the world title in Nassau, should they qualify as expected. In Santos, Japan gave Brazil a tricky start as Marcelo Mendes’ men took the 13-time world champions to penalties before falling short. But after that hard-fought win, the Brazilians clicked into gear with two emphatic wins over Mexico and Italy to ensure Gilberto’s side smore ilverware ahead of their trip to Dubai. With confidence understandably high, the likes of MVP and top scorer Bruno Xavier, as well as beach soccer’s young prodigy Rodrigo, inevitably featuring prominently. Along with the likes of Datinha, Bokinha and goalkeeper Mao, Brazil comfortably finished top of Group A before seeing off Russia and Iran to complete another successful tournament campaign. Former Belarus coach Gilberto - never one to get carried away by his side’s imperious form - appears to have things well on track. The challenge for Brazil now, with the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2017 – CONMEBOL Qualifier on the horizon, is to maintain their current level or even improve it. Achieving either will surely see them feature, and indeed challenge strongly, in the Bahamas.
ARE THE TETRACAMPEÕES BACK TO THEIR BEST?