Brazil Reaffirm Their Dominance
The FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Rio de Janeiro 2007 (2-11 November) showcased the giant strides this sport has taken, with an impressive level of play from the competing teams in a thrilling atmosphere and a second successive victory for hosts Brazil.
Just as in classical plays, which were commonly presented in three acts, the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2007 was the culmination of a three-year success story for Rio de Janeiro and Brazil as hosts of the competition. After an impressive introductory tournament in 2005, in which Eric Cantona’s French side surprised the world by taking the title, and a strong consolidation of the event in 2006, when the Brazilian team managed by Alexandre Soares thrilled the home fans with their victory, the Auriverdes did not disappoint in the third act, once again staged on beautiful Copacabana beach, when they retained their crown and demonstrated that they are still the team to beat.
A capacity crowd of 10,000 Cariocas, who lined up hours before the final in Copacabana beach in order to see their idols, cheered their team to victory in the final over Mexico, the surprise package of the tournament. Led by defender Buru, who managed to score an astounding 10 goals in five matches to win the best goalscorer and best player awards, the Brazilians took their winning streak to 58 matches in a row.
However, it was not always an easy ride for the Canarinha. The team struggled in the group phase, in which the Mexicans led for two periods before falling 6-4 in the third, and in which the Russians only lost to their host in a penalty shoot-out, after leading against the hosts with less than two minutes to go. Soares’ side grew more confident and compact throughout the competition, and having disposed of archrivals Portugal (10-7) in an amazing quarter-final in which the Portuguese star Madjer scored five goals, they were unstoppable in the semi-final against France and in the final against Mexico.