Dubai: Top-ranked and three-time defending champions Brazil will open their campaign against Spain in the Huawei Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup Dubai that gets under way on Tuesday at its new location at Kite Beach along the Jumeirah coastline.
Five of the top-10 beach soccer nations are participating in this year’s eighth edition of the annual tournament that is organised by the Dubai Sports Council (DSC) and Beach Soccer Worldwide (BSWW).
Hailed as the biggest competition after the Fifa Beach Soccer World Cup, the Huawei Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup brings together eight nations representing the six continental football confederations along with the reigning world champions [Brazil] and hosts the UAE.
The first three days of the tournament will see each team involved in a round-robin contest with the top two from each group advancing to Friday’s semi-finals. The final and classification matches to determine rankings will be played on Saturday.
Once again, Brazil will be the team to watch after the Verde-Amarela registered a perfect run in the Liga Sudamericana and earn the title of October’s Movers of the Month on the Fifa Rankings.
Champions in Dubai in 2014, 2016 and last year, Brazil’s coach Gilberto Costa is wary of the Spanish threat. Spain is the only country — besides Russia and Portugal — to knock Brazil out of the Fifa Beach Soccer World Cup in the past.
“This is a brand-new tournament and it really doesn’t matter what we have accomplished as the best team in the world. We need to concentrate on each and every match and maintain our recent unbeaten record,” Costa said after a final training at the Kite Beach.
“My experience from the past shows that there are really no weak teams that come here. Everyone wants to win, and when it comes to Brazil all teams give more than 100 per cent,” he added.
The other two teams in Group A along with Brazil and Spain are Egypt and the UAE, who will take to the sand after the Brazil versus Spain opener on Tuesday. Group B comprises of former three-time champions Russia along with World No. 3 Iran, Tahiti and the United States.
Organisers have set up a state-of-the-art 3,500-seater temporary stadium at Kite Beach and Saeed Hareb, General Secretary, DSC is convinced about staging yet another successful edition. “We have great expectations with this new venue as Jumeirah is an iconic beachfront with some of the best amenities and facilities in Dubai. The fans will love it here and we are sure of yet another successful edition of beach soccer,” Hareb said.
Matches will be held daily at 4.15, 5.30, 6.45 and 8pm, with the knock-outs starting on Friday [November 9].
November 6 (Tuesday) Brazil v Spain, UAE v Egypt, Tahiti v Russia, USA v Iran
November 7 (Wednesday) Egypt v Brazil, Spain v UAE, Russia v USA, Tahiti v Iran
November 8 (Thursday) Tahiti v USA, Egypt v Spain, UAE v Brazil, Iran v Russia
November 9 (Friday) Semi-finals
November 10 (Saturday) Final and placings
Matches held daily at 4.15pm, 5.30pm, 6.45pm and 8pm